Stay up to date with Donor Network West’s Research Department by learning about their endeavors and findings in the field of organ and tissue medical research.

(September 16, 2019) –

Peter Stock, M.D., Ph.D. a transplant surgeon at UCSF Medical Center who specializes in kidney, liver, and pancreas transplants and the co-director of the Pancreatic Islet Cell Transplantation Program visited Donor Network West at their headquarters in San Ramon, CA. The Donor Network West Research Department was proud to partner with Dr. Stock on his new clinical trial entitled “Pancreatic Islets and Parathyroid Gland Co-transplantation for Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes”. In May 2019, the Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awarded a multi-million dollar funding to Dr. Stock to conduct his new clinical trial on Type 1 Diabetes. During the last few months, the Donor Network West Research Department has allocated a large number of parathyroid and pancreatic samples for Stock’s pioneering research on transplantation of tissues for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes.

Dr. Stock’s visit was hosted by Janice F. Whaley, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Nikole Neidlinger, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Director of Research at Donor Network West.

Peter Stock Janice Whaley Nikole Neidlinger Ahmad Salehi
From left: Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Donor Network West Director of Research; Dr. Nikole Neidlinger, Donor Network West Chief Medical Officer; Peter Stock, M.D., UCSF Professor of Surgery; Janice F. Whaley, Donor Network West Chief Operating Officer
(August 30, 2019) –

Dr. Eugene Butcher, Klaus Bensch Professor of Pathology, Stanford Medical School and Director of Laboratory of Immunology and Vascular Biology, Palo Alto VA Medical Center visited Donor Network West’s Research Team at their headquarters in San Ramon, CA. Dr. Butcher was accompanied by a number of his laboratory members including Nicole Lazarus, Juliang Pan, Yuhan Bi, Romain Ballet, and Borja Ocón Moreno. The visit was designed to foster a new partnership between Butcher Laboratory and Donor Network West’s Research Department. The partnership will be crucial in better understanding the intestinal immune system and its role in inflammatory bowel disease. The visit was hosted by Donor Network West’s Research Team: Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Dr. Ravi Ponnusamy, Sherilyn Rubio, and Will Harper.

Butcher Laboratory members visit Donor Network West's Research Department Team.
Butcher Laboratory members visit Donor Network West's Research Department Team.
(June, 2019) –

In a study featured in the prestigious journal, Neuron, researchers from the Stanford School of Medicine published their results on an autism-associated gene known as Neuroligin-4 and its novel role in regulating human and rodent neuronal functions. This very impactful study was done in collaboration with Thomas C. Südhof, Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine and the 2013 Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine. The study was enabled by accessing a number of specific brain regions from the donated human brain at Donor Network West. This new discovery was possible because of the generosity and commitment of donors and donor families for future research.

The Donor Network West Research Department in collaboration with educators, donation family resources, and recovery coordinators recovered the brains for this study. As it is elegantly concluded in the study, the elucidation of molecular mediators of Neuroligin-4 regulation will be critical to identify candidate targets for future therapeutic interventions in autism. Donor Network West is delighted to be a small part of this endeavor.

Neuron Journal Neuroligin-4 Regulates Excitatory Synaptic Transmission in Human Neurons
Neuroligin-4 Regulates Excitatory Synaptic Transmission in Human Neurons
Thomas C Südhof, Avram Goldstein Professor in the School of Medicine
Thomas C. Südhof
(March, 2019) –
This month, the Donor Network West Research Team designed and 3D printed a Brain Cutting Box. The new box allows the Research Team to make both coronal and sagittal human brain sections with high accuracy, speed, and ease. The box can be easily cleaned, so it will not be a source of cross-contamination among brains sliced in this box.
human brain cutting box
3D Printed Brain Cutting Box.
(March 11, 2019) –

Yona Vaisbuch MD, a Clinical Instructor of Otolaryngology (HEAD AND NECK SURGERY) at Stanford Medical School presented a talk at Donor Network West entitled “Stanford Ear BioBank”. During the talk, he presented a Progress Report on his project to find a cure for debilitating conditions affecting the sense of hearing in millions of people around the world and Donor Network West’s role in this important project.

Yona Vaisbuch MD
Yona Vaisbuch MD
(January 25, 2019) –

A team of scientists from the Stanford Medical School involved in an exciting new research project visited Donor Network West and Donor Network West’s Discovery Lab in Norris Canyon.

During a meeting with Janice Whaley (CEO), Sean Van Slyck (COO), and Nikole Neidlinger (CMO), Mark Krasnow, a Professor of Biochemistry at Stanford’s Bio-X, provided a presentation on the importance of their new undertaking and its implications in human health.

stanford medical school discovery lab
Stanford University: Aaron Kershner, Antoine de Morree, Bob Jones, Kyle Travaglini, Mark Krasnow, Patrick Neohofer, Swati Shetty // Donor Network West: Dr. Ahmad Salehi and Ravi Ponnusamy
(November 3-7, 2018) –

For the first time, Donor Network West participated in the 2018 Society for Neuroscience meeting held in San Diego, exhibiting research services offered by our organization.

The meeting was attended by more than 30,000 brain scientists from 80 countries and ~700 organizations and companies presented their services/products at the meeting. The gathering is considered the world’s largest marketplace of ideas and tools for neuroscience and we were proud to be a part of this.

2018 Society of Neuroscience
Donor Network West's Dr. A. Salehi, Director of Research and Dr. Ravikumar Ponnusamy, Senior Scientist, Research Department
(October 18, 2018) –

Mr. Philippe Perez, the Attache of Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in the US, and Nadia Skandrani (Ph.D), the CEO of TissueAegis, visited Donor Network West for a discussion and a presentation about TissueAegis and its product. Nano C Kit is an innovative method for extending the life of procured corneas for transplantation. The use of this technology could significantly improve the number of corneas procured for transplantation.

(from left) Philippe Perez, Attache of Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in the US | Dr. Nodia Skandrani, CEO of TissueAegis | Dr. A. Salehi, Director of Research | Cathy Koubek, Director of Marketing and Communications | Angela Rosati, VP of Operations | Dr. Ravikumar Ponnusamy, Senior Scientist, Research Department
(from left) Philippe Perez, Attache of Science and Technology at the Embassy of France in the US | Dr. Nodia Skandrani, CEO of TissueAegis | Dr. A. Salehi, Director of Research | Cathy Koubek, Director of Marketing and Communications | Angela Rosati, VP of Operations | Dr. Ravikumar Ponnusamy, Senior Scientist, Research Department
(September 10, 2018) –

Kurt Reis (BA, CTP), the Network for Pancreatic Organ Donors with Diabetes (nPOD), Donor Development and OPO Liaison Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory at the University of Florida, paid a visit to Donor Network West for a talk entitled “the nPOD Project”.

Following a visit to Donor Network West’s new Discovery Laboratory and an introduction by Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Director of Research, Kurt elaborated on the organization of nPOD and the important role that organ procurement organizations play in the progress of current knowledge and finding new therapies for type 1 diabetes.

kurt reis npod
Kurt Reis (BA, CTP)

For the first time at Donor Network West, the Research Team procured and fully dissected a whole human brain. Samples were shipped to numerous research centers in California who are working on a number of critical projects including stem cells. Donor Network West may be the only OPO in the US that provides micro-dissected human brain samples to researchers in the field of neurosciences. The tissue samples dissected for research include all cortical regions, hippocampus, brainstem, medulla, thalamus, hypothalamus, pineal gland, and the dentate gyrus.

human brain mri
(July 20, 2018) –

The Donor Network West Research Program presented a poster at the Bay Area Molecular Neuroscience Meeting at the University of California, Berkeley.

Researchers from various disciplines and departments working on molecular neuroscience attended this meeting held at Stanley Hall, Berkeley campus. The researchers were primarily affiliated with UC Berkeley, UCSF, and Stanford and provided the latest results of their research using tissue samples from rodents and humans.

A number of attendees visited the Donor Network West poster and inquired about more information on human tissue procurement at Donor Network West.

Facilitating Drug Discovery and Pathophysiological Studies Using Human Tissues and Metadata

Authors: Ravi Ponnusamy PhD, Phil Brown BS, Nikole Neidlinger MD, FACS, and Ahmad Salehi MD, PhD.
donor network west bamnm uc berkeley
(July 19, 2018) –

“Advancing Translational Science Through High Quality Human Tissue and Metadata”

Allen Ward and Dr. Salehi were invited by Dr. Sudhof (2013 Nobel laureate) to give a presentation on the availability of tissue and metadata for research at the opening of the Center for Molecular Neuroscience in Health and Disease at Stanford University.

center for molecular neuroscience in health and disease
donor network west and chan zuckerberg foundation
(From left) Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Anne Claiborne, Tania Simoncelli, Jonah Cool, Dr. Nikole Neidlinger MD, Ravi Ponnusamy

Officials from the Chan Zuckerberg Foundation visited Donor Network West. Jonah Cool, Program Manager, Tania Simoncelli, Director of Policy for Science, and Anne Claiborne, Health Policy Lead, were given a tour by Donor Network West’s Dr. Ahmad Salehi, Research Director, of the wet lab facility at Norris Canyon as well as the offices at Bishop Ranch. A presentation was given by Dr. Nikole Neidlinger MD, FACS Chief Medical Officer, on the status of the donation system and policy at Donor Network West which was followed by a discussion on possible ways for a partnership between the two organizations.

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative held a two day workshop that Dr. Nikole Neidlinger and Dr. Ahmad Salehi, along with 38 other industry leaders, attended to discuss ethical and practical challenges of Biobanking.