Investing in Hope
Versiti Blood Research Institute Expansion Project
"This expansion project is a catalytic moment for Versiti Blood Research Institute. We have world-class research and deep expertise in bleeding and clotting disorders and now we are expanding that expertise into research about blood cancers and diseases of the immune system. With this expansion, we can improve the health and lives of patients and families right here in Milwaukee and around the world."
Chris Miskel, President, and CEO, Versiti
"The beauty and uniqueness of our research at VBRI is that it bridges the scientific understanding of disease with the clinical world. We've been a leader in blood research for over 75 years, and our future is no different. The expanded facility will attract and house new world-class scientists spanning a multide of different focus areas, elevating our impact on medicine to improve and save lives.
Our finest hours are when we collaborate across our campus and across the world to translate scientific data into more effective and better tolerated care for real patients suffering from real diseases. Accomplishing our mission to enhance discovery, diagnosis, and treatment depends on your support."
Michael W. Deininger, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Mike and Cathy White Endowed Chair
- Our $80 million Invest in Hope Initiative, with up to $15 million from the community, will expand our facilities to combine state-of-the-art laboratories, collaborative spaces for students and scientists, and advanced technology. The new VBRI facility will allow us to further collaborate across disciplines, continue to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge, and forge practice-changing discoveries for the benefit of our patients. Together, we can elevate the VBRI and save lives around the world.
- State-of-the-art research facility that will attract the best and brightest scientists to Wisconsin
- 2026 estimated completion date
- Blood conditions, such as leukemia, thrombosis, sickle cell disease, and hemophilia have no geographic boundary. They impact every community across the nation.
- The expansion of BRI’s research capacity through the new addition will promote discovery of novel, more effective and less toxic therapies for a broad range of conditions that affect millions, positively impacting the health of residents across the state, nation, and the international community.
- Versiti’s blood research is translational and clinical, meaning that it will ultimately impact patients through cutting edge discoveries that lead to new treatments and cures.
- The expansion will also enhance Versiti’s ability to collaborate with other research institutes both locally and nationally.
VBRI’s life-saving discoveries have improved medical practice in immeasurable ways. Versiti's researchers invented the technology that enabled organ transplantation between unrelated individuals, which made organ transplant available to a much broader population, saving the lives of tens of thousands of patients without any other treatment options.
VBRI has also contributed to our nation’s health and security as a top advisor to the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health. Recent examples include discovering therapies and other solutions to combat COVID-19, as well as conducting research on treating soldiers who suffer hemorrhages in battle.
- Ranked #1 nationally in terms of grant funding for a blood research institute
- Ranked # 1 in Wisconsin in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant dollars per principal investigator and in the top 4 in Wisconsin in terms of overall NIH funding
- Key collaboration partner for the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, and Childrens’ Hospital
- Versiti has the leadership and resources to recruit and hire additional laboratory-based investigators and clinical investigators, but the BRI has run out of space.
- Wisconsin has a unique opportunity to be a national leader in advancing treatments and cures for blood diseases and cancers that disproportionately affect the Underserved.
- By expanding Versiti’s research work, appropriate resources can also be devoted to diseases, such as sickle cell disease, thrombosis, and hemophilia, which disproportionately affect the Underserved, to improve health outcomes and reduce health care spending.
- Current underrepresentation of the Underserved in research places these populations at a significant disadvantage for each of several reasons:
- Access to experimental, yet potentially lifesaving, treatments is delayed;
- Data generated are not representative of the Underserved, potentially leading to incorrect assessment of risk and benefit, with the real risk that the Underserved will be left behind in receiving effective treatment; and
- Progress in diseases that are mostly limited to the Underserved (such as sickle cell disease to African Americans) is hampered by slow trial accrual.
- The VBRI expansion will draw on Versiti's existing strong relationships with the Wisconsin sickle cell disease and hemophilia communities to provide research-based solutions and therapies.
- Expanding Versiti research in immunology and cellular therapy will contribute to developing novel less toxic and more effective immunotherapies to treat cancers.
- This research will not only improve patient outcomes for Underserved Wisconsinites, but also for Underserved populations throughout the nation.
The expansion will also improve the health of our local and state economy by:
- Creating Jobs: more than 100 new high paying jobs
- Attracting Top Talent: Draw brilliant minds from across the nation and the world. Nearly all these principal investigator positions are likely to be filled by persons who currently reside outside of the State of Wisconsin.
- Increasing Research Grant Funding: an estimated additional $14M annually in grant funding is expected to be generated through the expanded research capabilities.
- Benefiting Wisconsin’s Economy: over 30 years, the expansion will generate a total economic impact of nearly $580M to the State of Wisconsin by driving additional state tax revenue over that same period of approximately $19M. (This estimate also accounts for investments in construction jobs and the impact of new families moving to Wisconsin due to the BRI job creation.)
- Strengthening and Growing the BioTech Sector: Discoveries made in the expanded BRI will lead to start-up biotech companies with the potential to bring high-paying jobs to Wisconsin, increasing its economic activity and tax base.
Versiti Blood Research Institute investigators and scientists are at the forefront of groundbreaking research that benefits patients with a variety of diseases. From better understanding how blood clots form and break down, to broadening knowledge in the under-studied field of glycobiology, we are making an impact locally and around the world. We are committed to promoting Milwaukee as a hub of scientific innovation and growth.
Driving quality of care for patients with blood clots
When Versiti Blood Research Institute Investigator and Senior Medical Director Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, realized that there wasn’t a group of clinical researchers dedicated to studying blood clots in veins, she established VENUS, the Venous thromboEmbolism Network U.S. Together, more than 30 research centers across the country are working to improve care for patients with blood clots.
Exploring the role of sugars in human health
Karin Hoffmeister, MD, senior investigator and deputy director at Versiti Blood Research Institute, studies glycans, the sugars that coat blood cells, and how they impact human health. She established the Translational Glycomics Center to learn more about glycans and how they can be used to individualize medicine tailored to each patient.
Training and supporting the next generation of scientists
Versiti Blood Research Institute Senior Investigators Alan Mast, MD, PhD, and Karin Hoffmeister, MD, are passionate about training, mentoring and supporting the next generation of researchers and scientists. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s T32 training grant provides funds for training pre- and postdoctoral candidates to help launch their careers and expand their scientific research.
Expanding research of bleeding and clotting disorders
Over the last 40 years, Versiti Blood Research Institute Senior Investigator Robert Montgomery, MD, has made significant progress in the development of testing for bleeding disorders, like von Willebrand disease. He’s passionate about propelling research and improving the lives of the patients Versiti serves.
Ensuring a safe, healthy blood supply
The Recipient Epidemiology and Donor Evaluation Study (REDS) is the premier transfusion medicine program in the United States. Through the REDS program, Senior Investigator Alan Mast, MD, PhD, and Investigator Lisa Baumann Kreuziger, MD, MS, work to ensure a safe, healthy blood supply for patients who rely on transfusions.