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Paul M Ness, MD

Director, Division of Transfusion Medicine
Professor of Pathology
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The Johns Hopkins Hospital

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  • Director, Division of Transfusion Medicine
  • Training Program Director, Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor of Medicine

Centers & Institutes

  • Global Health, Center for
  • Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center



Research Interests

Transfusion medicine; Immune hemolysis; Transfusion alternatives; Clinical trials in transfusion recipients; Blood donor epidemiology studies


Dr. Paul Ness is a professor of pathology, medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His area of clinical expertise includes transfusion support of hematology and oncology patients and autoimmune hematologic disorders. Dr. Ness serves as the director of the Division of Transfusion Medicine and program director of the Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine Fellowship Program in the Department of Pathology.

Dr. Ness has an extensive background in clinical transfusion medicine and research activities related to blood safety. He was a co-investigator with Dr. Kenrad Nelson on the FACTS study, which followed cardiac surgery patients to determine their risk of seroconversion to viral agents such as HIV and hepatitis. He is a consultant on the REDS II program for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Along with Dr. Hua Shan, he is PI of the China project for the international REDS II program. He has also conducted a major study documenting the risk of bacterial contamination of platelets, and was the PI for the Johns Hopkins site of the RADAR repository portion of the REDS study.

He has extensive experience in blood safety education programs internationally. He has worked with Drs. Shan and Nelson to teach blood safety in China, India and Laos/Thailand through the Hopkins Fogarty program. Additionally, he has had extensive teaching roles in Vietnam, India, Egypt and Africa.

Dr. Ness received his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned his M.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and performed a fellowship in oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.

His research interests include transfusion medicine, immune hemolysis and transfusion alternatives.

He is editor of Transfusion and a past president of the American Association of Blood Banks.


  • English
Additional Resources +
  • Education +


    • SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine (Buffalo NY ) (1971)


    • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Medicine (Baltimore MD ) (1975)


    • University of California San Francisco / Oncology (San Francisco CA ) (1977)


    • Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine, American Board of Pathology (1980)
    • Medical Oncology, American Board of Internal Medicine (1977)
    • Hematology, American Board of Internal Medicine (1976)
    • Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine (1975)
  • Research & Publications +

    Research Summary

    Dr. Ness has an extensive background in research activities related to blood safety. In recent years, his laboratory has emphasized the development of assays for detecting red cell antibodies and small populations of heterogeneous red cells using a quantitative enzyme-linked antiglobulin test. This assay has proved useful in the study of fetal-maternal hemorrhage, red cells survival studies and autoimmune hemolytic anemia. The division has also studied the pathophysiology of delayed hemolytic transfusion reactions using a rabbit model and is undertaking studies of red cell alloimmunization in mice and rabbits.

    Ongoing clinical studies in transfusion medicine include the use of hemodilution in elective surgery; assessment of the risk of viral and bacterial infections in blood recipients; research on the recurrence of cancer as related to the immunosuppressive effects of blood transfusions; and the development and use of hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers as blood substitutes.

    Selected Publications

    1. She L, Wang JX, Stevels L, Ness P, Shan H. “Blood safety and availability: continuing challenges in China’s blood banking system.” Transfusion. 2014 Feb;54(2):471-82.
    2. Savage W, Tobian AAR, Ness PM, Kaufman RM. “Desensitization in allergic transfusion reactions: Evidence from the trial to reduce alloimmunization to platelets.” Transfusion. 2014;54(2):496-498.
    3. Stonemetz JL, Allen PX, Wasey J, Rivers RJ, Ness PM, Frank SM. “Development of a risk-adjusted blood utilization metric.” Transfusion. 2014.
    4. Kakcer S, Ness PM, Savage WJ, Frick KD, Shirey S, King KE, Tobian AAR. “Economic evaluation of a hypothetical screening assay for alloimmunization risk among transfused patients with sickle cell disease.” Transfusion. 2014.
    5. Hervig T, Doughty H, Ness PM, Badloe JF, Berseus O, Glassberg E, Heier HE. “Prehospital use of plasma: The blood bankers’ perspective.” Shock. 2014; 41 (SUPP. 1):70-75.


    The Transfusion Medicine Laboratory provides blood components and immunohematologic diagnostics for all of the patients at Johns Hopkins. The research goals of the laboratory derive from that large clinical experience, where the many complications of transfusion, including infectious complications and alloimmunization, are studied. The laboratory also aims to maximize transfusion benefits by studies of blood component manipulation and platelet crossmatching. Its studies on infectious complications have also focused on national and international collaborations in Thailand and China. The laboratory has been funded to be a core clinical center in the NHLBI Transfusion Medicine/Hemostasis Clinical Trial Network.

    The division also has studied the immune response to transfusion extensively. In recent years, the studies have shifted to animal models of alloimmunization to red cells in rabbits and mice. These studies will be potentially important to limit the complications of hemolytic transfusion reactions to blood components or in stem cell graft recipients with chimeric red cell populations.

  • Academic Affiliations & Courses +
  • Activities & Honors +

    Professional Activities

    Editor, Transfusion, 2004 - present

    President, American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), 1999 - 2000

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    Appointment Phone: 410-955-6583
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