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Neil Blumberg, M.D.


Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 275-3189

Fax: (585) 273-3002

URMFGA member of the University of Rochester Medical Faculty Group

groupAn Accountable Health Partner

assignmentAccepting New Patients

Faculty Appointments


Director of the URMC Clinical Laboratories since 2004. Director of the Transfusion Medicine Unit, Blood Bank, and Stem Cell Storage Facility since 1980. An expert in the field of blood transfusion immunology, Dr. Blumberg has worked to enhance the quality, safety, and efficiency of transfusion services at Strong Memorial Hospital and across the broader medical community. His long-standing clinical and research foci are immune cytopenias, supportive care for patients with hematologic malignancies, and the immunologic sequela of transfusion therapy.


Blood transfusions are known to be broadly immunomodulatory and are associated with substantially poorer clinical outcomes in surgical and cancer patients, and better outcomes in solid organ allograft recipients. Our laboratory and clinical group has been interested for the last twenty years in the disparate effects of autologous and allogeneic transfusions on immune function, as well as the potential benefits of removing allogeneic white cells and stored supernatant plasma from blood components before transfusions.

Our studies demonstrated that patients receiving leukocyte-reduced allogeneic blood transfusions for leukemia, and those receiving leukocyte-reduced allogeneic or autologous transfusions during surgical procedures, experienced reduced morbidity and mortality compared with patients receiving unmodified allogeneic transfusions. We were the first to document that one likely mechanism for these benefits is that allogeneic transfusions promote type 2 (Th2) cellular immunity and down regulate type 1 (Th1) immunity. Leukoreduction or use of autologous transfusions reduces these immunologic effects. We also have pioneered clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness analyses in the study of transfusion immunomodulation.

Transfusions, however, can also promote inflammatory processes. Platelet transfusions are associated with a dose dependent increase in multi-organ failure syndrome in surgical patients. Work done in collaboration with Dr. Rick Phipps's laboratory has shown that stored platelet transfusion supernatant promotes cellular secretion of PGE2 , IL6 and IL8 in vitro through a soluble CD40L dependent mechanism. Current investigations include clinical and laboratory studies of the effects of stored platelet supernatant CD40L on clinical outcomes and in vitro immunologic function. We are also exploring the possible use of autologous stored platelet supernatant for immunotherapeutic use.



  • Clinical Pathology/Laboratory Medicine - American Board of Pathology


BS | Yale University
Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

MD | Yale University Sch Medicine

Post-doctoral Training & Residency

07/01/1976 - 06/30/1978
Residency in Laboratory Medicine at Yale University -New Haven Hospital

09/01/1975 - 06/30/1976
Internship in Laboratory Medicine at Yale University -New Haven Hospital


2008 - 2012
Editorial Board Member
Sponsor: BLOOD
Location: Washington, DC

2005 - 2018
Co-Chair REDS III and Chair REDS II Data Monitoring Committee
Sponsor: NIH-National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Location: Bethesda, MD

1990 - Present
Editorial Board Member
Location: Washington, DC

1971 - 1974
NIH Medical Scientist Training Grant Fellowship

BS, Yale, Magna cum laude

Phi Beta Kappa

1966 - 1970
National Merit Scholarship Program
Sponsor: National Merit Scholarship Program

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Journal Articles

Blumberg N, Heal JM, Masel D, Refaai MA. "The precautionary principle and use of Group A plasma in recipients of unknown ABO blood group." Transfusion.. 2018 Mar 0; 58(3):829-831.

Blumberg N, Cholette JM, Pietropaoli AP, Phipps R, Spinelli SL, Eaton MP, Noronha SA, Seghatchian J, Heal JM, Refaai MA. "0.9% NaCl (Normal Saline) - Perhaps not so normal after all?" Transfusion and apheresis science : official journal of the World Apheresis Association : official journal of the European Society for Haemapheresis.. 2018 Feb 21; Epub 2018 Feb 21.

Schmidt AE, Gore E, Henrichs KF, Conley G, Dorsey C, Bjugstad KB, Refaai MA, Blumberg N, Cholette JM. "Oxidation Reduction Potential (ORP) is Predictive of Complications Following Pediatric Cardiac Surgery." Pediatric cardiology.. 2018 Feb 0; 39(2):299-306. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Books & Chapters

Chapter Title: Clinical Use of Plasma and Plasma Fractions
Book Title: Best Practice and Research in Clinical Haematology
Author List: Blumberg, N.; Francis CW.; Heal JM.;
Edited By: Blumberg, N.; Francis CW.; Heal JM.;
Published By: Elesevier2006 in UK

Chapter Title: Transfusion immunomodulation
Book Title: Blood Banking and Transfusion Medicine: Basic Principles and Practice
Author List: Blumberg N.; Heal JM.
Published By: Churchill-Livingstone2006

Chapter Title: Immunomodulation by Transfusion
Book Title: Perioperative Transfusion Medicine
Author List: Blumberg, N.; Heal JM.
Edited By: Spiess, B.
Published By: Lippincott2005