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Paul M Ness, M.D.

Photo of Dr. Paul M Ness, M.D.

Director, Division of Transfusion Medicine

Professor of Pathology


Expertise: Pathology

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


The Johns Hopkins Hospital (Main Entrance)

1800 Orleans St.
Sheikh Zayed Tower
Baltimore, MD 21287 map
Phone: 410-955-9790

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center

4940 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224 map
Phone: 410-955-9790


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. more


  • Director, Division of Transfusion Medicine
  • Training Program Director, Blood Banking/Transfusion Medicine
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Joint Appointment in Oncology
  • Professor of Medicine



  • MD, SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine (1971)


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


  • University of California San Francisco - REGISTRAR / Oncology (1977)

Board Certifications

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

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.


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.

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.

Steiner ME, Ness PM, Assman SF, Triulzi DJ, Sloan DR, Delaney M, Granger S, Bennett-Guerrero E, Blachman MA, Scavo V, Carson JL, Levy JH, Whitman G, D'Andra P, Pulkrabek S, Ortel TL, Bornikova L, Raife T, Puca KE, Kaufman RM, Nuttall GA, Young PP, Youssef S, Engelman R, Greilich PE, Miles R, Josephson CD, Bracey A, Cooke R, McCullough, J, Hunsaker R, Uhl L, McFarland JG, Park Y, Cushing MM, Klodell CT, Karanam R, Roberts PR, Dyke C, Hod EA, Stowell CP. Effects of red-cell storage duration on patients undergoing cardiac surgery. N Engl J Med 372:1419-29, 2015.

Frank, S. M., Rothschild, J. A., Masear, C. G., Rivers, R. J., Merritt, W. T., Savage, W. J., & Ness, P. M. Optimizing preoperative blood ordering with data acquired from an anesthesia information management system. , Anesthesiology 118(6), 1286-1297, 2013

Savage WJ, Tobian AAR, Savage JH, Hamilton RG, Ness PM. Atopic predisposition of recipients in allergic transfusion reactions to apheresis platelets. Transfusion 51; 2337-2342, 2011.

Anderson KC, Ness PM. Scientific basis of transfusion medicine: Implications for clinical practice. Second Edition, WB Saunders, Philadelphia PA 1999.

Activities & Honors

Professional Activities

  • Editor, Transfusion, 2004
  • President, American Association of Blood Banks (AABB), 1999

Patient Ratings & Comments

The Patient Rating score is an average of all responses to physician related questions on the national CG-CAHPS Medical Practice patient experience survey through Press Ganey. Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best score. Comments are also gathered from our CG-CAHPS Medical Practice Survey through Press Ganey and displayed in their entirety. Patients are de-identified for confidentiality and patient privacy.

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