Steven L. Spitalnik, MD

Pathology - Anatomic & Clinical
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Dr. Steven Spitalnik, MD is the Co-Director of the Laboratory of Transfusion Biology, which pursues NIH-funded research aimed at improving transfusion practice. Dr. Spitalnik is a Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology and the Vice-Chairman of Laboratory Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). As the Medical Director of the Clinical laboratories on the CUMC campus of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, he coordinates the clinical service, educational, and scholarly activities of the Division. He is a long-standing member of the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians & Scientists, serving as its President in 2002-03 and, in 2005, receiving its Gerald T. Evans Award for outstanding leadership and service to the Academy. In addition to being board certified in both Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, Dr. Spitalnik is a member of the Editorial Boards of Transfusion, Transfusion Medicine Reviews, and Current Opinion in Hematology, and is the lead author of Clinical Pathology Board Review.



It Happened Here: Dr. Charles Drew - NewYork Presbyterian Health Matters

TV Interview

Interview about hemolytic disease of the newborn on Italian TV (Rai2)

Areas of Expertise / Conditions Treated

  • Apheresis
  • Blood Bank
  • Sickle Cell Anemia
  • Transfusion Medicine

Academic Appointments

  • Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology

Administrative Titles

  • Executive Vice Chair for Laboratory Medicine

Hospital Affiliations

  • NewYork-Presbyterian / Columbia University Irving Medical Center


  • Male

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Credentials & Experience

Education & Training

  • University of Chicago Pitzker School of Medicine
  • Internship: University of Rochester
  • Residency: University of Rochester
  • Fellowship: University of Rochester
  • Fellowship: 1985 National Institutes of Health

Committees, Societies, Councils

1984-present  Society for Glycobiology

1984-present  American Federation for Clinical Research

1984-present  American Association of Blood Banks

1992-1993  Member, Academic Transfusion Medicine Committee

1993-1997  Member, Selection of Scientific Abstracts Committee

1995-1998  Member, Transfusion Practices Committee

1998-2000  Member, Transfusion Practices Program Committee

2007-2012  Member, Selection of Scientific Abstracts

2010-2012  Member, Nominating Committee

2013-present  Karl Landsteiner Award Selection Committee, Member (2013-present), Co-Chair (2015), Chair (2016)

1985-present  International Glycoconjugate Society

1985-present  International Society of Blood Transfusion

1986-present  American Society of Investigational Pathology (FASEB)

2009-2013  Member, Education Committee

1987-present  Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists

1987-1988  Member, Committee on Long Range Planning

1991-1994  Member, Nominating and Awards Committee

1997-2003  Member, Executive Council

1998-1999   Member, Program and Finance Committee

1998-2002  Executive Director, Young Investigator Award Program

1999-2003  President-Elect, President, Immediate Past President, and Past President

2001-2002  Chair, Nominating and Awards Committee

2002-2003  Chair, Publications Committee

2003-2013  Representative to the Council of Academic Societies

2013-2014  Representative to the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies

2010-2014  Member, Publications Committee

2015  Member, Grant Review Committee

1994-present  American Society for Clinical Investigation

1998-2002  Universities Associated for Research and Education in Pathology

1998-2002  Member, Executive Committee

2001-2002  Vice-President

2003-present  Society for Leukocyte Biology

2003-2013  Council of Academic Societies

2003-2013  Representative from the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists

2005, 2007, 2009  Member, Nominating Committee

2007, 2008  AAMC appointee to the Selection Committee for the Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Awards

2009-2010  Member, Program Committee

2013-2014  Council of Faculty and Academic Societies

2013-2014  Representative from the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists

2014  Member, Basic Science Task Force

2008-present  American Society of Hematology

2008, 2009, 2011, 2014  Selection of Scientific Abstracts Committee

2010-2013  Member, Scientific Committee on Transfusion Medicine

2012  Vice-Chair, Scientific Committee on Transfusion Medicine

2013  Chair, Scientific Committee on Transfusion Medicine

2014-present   International Society of Blood Transfusion

Board Certifications

  • Pathology-Anatomic/Pathology-Clinical

Honors & Awards

1974 Phi Beta Kappa

1974 Honors in Mathematics, Princeton University

1981, 1982, 1983 Young Investigator Award, Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists

1987-1990 Junior Faculty Research Award, American Cancer Society

1987-1992 FIRST Award, National Institutes of Health

1989-1992 Mallinckrodt Scholar

1989 Class of `92 Commendation for Outstanding Teaching, University of Pennsylvania

1990 Class of `93 Commendation for Outstanding Teaching, University of Pennsylvania

1991 Dean's Award for Excellence in Basic Science Teaching, University of Pennsylvania

1991 US-Poland Individual Health Scientist Exchange Program Fellowship, Fogarty International Center

1992 Class of `95 Commendation for Outstanding Teaching, University of Pennsylvania

1994 Elected to American Society for Clinical Investigation

1995 Peter C. Nowell Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

1995 FASEB Visiting Scientist; Barry University, Miami Shores, FL. The role of glycosylation of ß-amyloid precursor protein in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease.

1996 Penn Pearls Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

1996 Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

1996 Class of `99 Commendation for Outstanding Teaching, University of Pennsylvania

1997 Class of `00 Commendation for Outstanding Teaching, University of Pennsylvania

1997 Annual Meeting of the American Association of Blood Banks, Denver, CO. Workshop organizer and speaker: A Transfusion Medicine Primer

1998 Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Teaching Award, University of Pennsylvania

1999 Sherwood Smith Memorial Lectureship, New York Association of Blood Banks Annual Meeting, Rochester, NY. The impact of molecular biology on the practice of transfusion medicine.

2002 Faculty Mentor Award, 4th Annual Marvin J. Hoffman Day, University of Rochester

2002 Short course on the biochemistry of the red blood cell membrane, Annual Meeting of the American Association of Blood Banks, Orlando, FL. Glycobiology of the red blood cell membrane

2002 Short course on human carbohydrate blood group antigens, Annual Meeting of the American Association of Blood Banks, Orlando, FL. The Lewis blood group system

2003 Eric A. Schenk Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Rochester

2005 Gerald T. Evans Award for outstanding leadership and service to the academy, Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians & Scientists

2013 Graham A. Jamieson Memorial Lectureship, American Red Cross

2013 Emily Cooley Award and Lectureship, American Association of Blood Banks

2016 Elected to Hall of Fame, National Blood Foundation

2016 Inaugural Class, Academy of Clinical Mentoring and Excellence, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons


My research program in the Laboratory of Transfusion Biology uses in vitro systems, mouse models, and human studies to investigate important problems related to red blood cell biology. We are particularly interested in improving the quality of red blood cell transfusions, and preventing or ameliorating the adverse effects resulting from this therapeutic intervention. As a result, we study the consequences of refrigerated storage, alloimmunization, and hemolytic transfusion reactions. We have a particular interest in the role of oxidative stress during refrigerated storage of red blood cells and its effects on red blood cell storage quality. In addition, we study the role of iron deficiency, iron supplementation, and iron metabolism in the biology of malaria, bacterial infections, and co-infections of malaria with bacterial pathogens. Results from these studies provided the impetus for the “iron hypothesis” to explain some of the adverse effects of red blood cell transfusion, particularly with regard to infectious disease.

Research Interests

  • The biology of red blood cells

Selected Publications

Zimring JC, Smith N, Stowell SR, Johnsen JM, Bell LN, Francis RO, Hod EA, Hendrickson JE, Roback JD, Spitalnik SL. Strain-specific red blood cell storage, metabolism, and eicosanoid generation in a mouse model. Transfusion 54:137-148, 2014.

LaRocca TJ, Stivison EA, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, Cowan PJ, Randis TM, Ratner AJ. Human-specific bacterial pore-forming toxins induce programmed necrosis in erythrocytes. mBio 5(5):e01251-14, 2014.

Prestia K, Bandyopadhyay S, Slate A, Francis RO, Francis KP, Spitalnik SL, Fidock DA, Brittenham GM, Hod EA. Transfusion of stored blood impairs host defenses against Gram-negative pathogens in mice. Transfusion 54:2842-2851, 2014.

Wojczyk BS, Kim N, Bandyopadhyay S, Francis RO, Zimring JC, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL. Macrophages clear refrigerator storage-damaged RBCs and subsequently secrete cytokines in vivo, but not in vitro, in a murine model. Transfusion 54:3186-3197, 2014.

LaRocca T, Stivison E, Mal-Sarkar T, Hooven T, Hod E, Spitalnik SL, Ratner A. CD59 signaling and membrane pores drive Syk-dependent erythrocyte necroptosis. Cell Death and Disease 6:e1773; doi:10.1038/cddis.2015.135, 2015

Xu JZ, Francis RO, Lerebours Nadal LE, Shirazi M, Jobanputra V, Hod EA, Jhang JS, Stotler BA, Spitalnik SL, Nicholas SW. G6PD Deficiency in an HIV Clinic Setting in the Dominican Republic. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 93:722-729, 2015.

Waterman HR, Kapp LM, Howie HL, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, Zimring JC. Analysis of 24-h recovery of transfused stored RBCs in recipient mice of distinct genetic backgrounds. Vox Sanguinis 109:148-154, 2015.

L'Acqua C, Bandyopadhyay S, Francis RO, McMahon DJ, Nellis M, Sheth S, Kernie SG, Brittenham GM, Spitalnik SL, Hod EA. Red blood cell transfusion is associated with increased hemolysis and an acute phase response in a subset of critically ill children. American Journal of Hematology 90:915-920, 2015.

Zimring JC, Spitalnik SL. Pathobiology of haemolytic transfusion reactions. Annual Review of Pathology 10:83-110, 2015.

Spitalnik SL, Triulzi D, Devine DV, Dzik WH, Eder AF, Gernsheimer T, Josephson CD, Kor DJ, Luban NLC, Roubinian NH, Mondoro T, Welniak LA, Zou S, Glynn S for the State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine Working Groups. 2015 Proceedings of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's State of the Science in Transfusion Medicine Symposium. Transfusion55:2282-2290, 2015.

Calabro S, Gallman A, Gowthaman U, Liu D, Chen P, Liu J, Krishnaswamy JK, Nascimento MSL, Xu L, Patel SR, Williams A, Tormey CA, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, Zimring JC, Hendrickson JE, Stowell SR, Eisenbarth SC. Bridging channel dendritic cells induce immunity to transfused red blood cells.Journal of Experimental Medicine 213:887-896, 2016.

Youssef LA, Spitalnik SL. Transfusion-related immunomodulation: a reappraisal. Curr Opin Hematol. 2017 Nov;24(6):551-557. doi: 10.1097/MOH.0000000000000376.PMID: 28806274

Youssef LA, Rebbaa A, Pampou S, Weisberg SP, Stockwell BR, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL. Increased Erythrophagocytosis Induces Ferroptosis in Red Pulp Macrophages in a Mouse Model of Transfusion. Blood. 2018 Jun 7;131(23):2581-2593. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-12-822619. Epub 2018 Apr 17.PMID: 29666112

Thomas T, Spitalnik SL. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Red Blood Cell Storage Lesion. Blood Transfus. 2019 Jan;17(1):1-3. doi: 10.2450/2019.0257-18.PMID: 30653457

Francis RO, D'Alessandro A, Eisenberger A, Soffing M, Yeh R, Coronel E, Sheikh A, Rapido F, La Carpia F, Reisz JA, Gehrke S, Nemkov T, Thomas T, Schwartz J, Divgi C, Kessler D, Shaz BH, Ginzburg Y, Zimring JC, Spitalnik SL, Hod EA. Donor glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency decreases blood quality for transfusion. J Clin Invest. 2020 May 1;130(5):2270-2285. doi: 10.1172/JCI133530. PubMed PMID: 31961822.

Bloch EM, Shoham S, Casadevall A, Sachais BS, Shaz B, Winters JL, van Buskirk C, Grossman BJ, Joyner M, Henderson JP, Pekosz A, Lau B, Wesolowski A, Katz L, Shan H, Auwaerter PG, Thomas D, Sullivan DJ, Paneth N, Gehrie E, Spitalnik SL, Hod EA, Pollack L, Nicholson WT, Pirofski LA, Bailey JA, Tobian AA. Deployment of convalescent plasma for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. J Clin Invest. 2020 Jun 1;130(6):2757-2765. doi: 10.1172/JCI138745.

Eckhardt CM, Cummings MJ, Rajagopalan KN, Borden S, Bitan ZC, Wolf A, Kantor A, Briese T, Meyer BJ, Jacobson SD, Scotto D, Mishra N, Philip NM, Stotler BA, Schwartz J, Shaz B, Spitalnik SL, Eisenberger A, Hod EA, Justman J, Cheung K, Lipkin WI, O'Donnell MR. Evaluating the efficacy and safety of human anti-SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma in severely ill adults with COVID-19: A structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Version 2. Trials. 2020 Jun 8;21(1):499. doi: 10.1186/s13063-020-04422-y. PMID: 32513308

Thomas T, Stefanoni D, Reisz JA, Nemkov T, Bertolone L, Francis RO, Hudson KE, Zimring JC, Hansen KC, Hod EA, Spitalnik SL, D'Alessandro A. COVID-19 infection results in alterations of the kynurenine pathway and fatty acid metabolism that correlate with IL-6 levels and renal status. medRxiv. 2020 May 16:2020.05.14.20102491. doi: 10.1101/2020.05.14.20102491. Preprint. PMID: 32511571