Every two seconds someone in the United States needs blood, according to America’s Blood Centers, generating a fundamental need to keep the blood supply healthy. A significant part of that process is to remove the white cells (leukocytes) from donated blood.
UH biomedical engineering doctoral student Nathaniel Piety, who studies under Associate Professor Sergey Shevkoplyas, has been awarded for his work by the AABB (formerly known as the American Association of Blood Banks) at the AABB Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida in October.
As a Tier One research university, the University of Houston places a strong emphasis on research in and out of the classroom. But for undergraduate students, hands-on laboratory opportunities can be scarce, as researcher spots are usually filled with graduate students and post-doctoral associates.
It’s no secret that blood transfusions save millions of lives every year. According to the American Red Cross, just one pint of donated blood can save up to three lives. And yet, the blood transfusion process is still not without flaws – in addition to healthy blood cells, transfused blood can also contain harmful materials such as the anticoagulant-preservative solution used to keep the cells alive during storage.
Sergey Shevkoplyas wants to make one thing perfectly clear: Blood transfusions save millions of lives every year. Without them, routine surgeries would become life threatening. They’re one of modern medicine’s absolute necessities.
Building an entirely new academic program has its benefits. Sure, some parts of the job can be difficult – handling everything from faculty searches to office supply orders is enough to make anyone’s head spin. But there’s a reason a clean slate is so valuable: you can write anything you want on it.
Continuing its commitment to education at the University of Houston, ConocoPhillips is donating $1 million to UH’s growing Energy Research Park (ERP) and $125,000 to various engineering, science and business programs.