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Bruce R. Blazar, M.D., Director

Bruce Blazar, M.D.

Blazar Laboratory

Bruce R. Blazar, M.D., is a Regents Professor of Pediatrics, and Chief of the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program. He has directed preclinical basic and translational immunology and stem cell research and early phase clinical studies for more than 20 years, with particular emphasis in the blood and marrow transplantation immunobiology. Dr. Blazar is the Associate Vice President for Clinical and Translational Science and the Director of the University of Minnesota's Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Educational Background

  • B.S., Biology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY (1972 - 1978)
  • M.D., Medicine, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY (1974 - 1978)
  • Intern, Resident, Chief Resident, Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN (1978 - 1981)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, and Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Minnesota (1982 - 1984)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Pediatrics, University of Minnesota (1985)

Professional Background

  • Instructor, Pediatrics, University of Minnesota (1985 - 1986)
  • Assistant Professor, Pediatrics, University of Minnesota (1986 - 1989)
  • Associate Professor, Pediatrics, University of Minnesota (1989 - 1995)
  • Professor, Pediatrics, University of Minnesota, (1995 - present)
  • Associate Director, University of Minnesota, Pediatric Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation (1994 - 2005)
  • Chief, Pediatric Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant New Program, University of Minnesota (2005 - present)
  • Regents Professor (2009 - present)
  • Member, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology Program (1989 - present)
  • Member, University of Minnesota Center for Immunology (1993 - present)
  • Member, University of Minnesota Cancer Center (1994 - present)
  • Member, University of Minnesota Stem Cell Institute, (2005 - present)
  • Member, Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology and Genetics Program, (2007 - present)

Professional Honors

  • BS - cum laude
  • Albany Medical College Research Award (1975)
  • NIH National Research Service Award (1982 - 1984)
  • American Cancer Society Regular Clinical Fellowship Award (1981 - 1983)
  • Leukemia Society of America Fellowship Award (1985 & 1987)
  • NIH Clinical Investigator Award (1985 & 1990)
  • Society for Pediatric Research (elected 1988)
  • Joan Soskin Award (Diabetes Res.) American Diabetes Association - Minn. Affiliate (1991)
  • Edward Mallinckrodt, Jr. Foundation Scholar Award (1992 - 1995)
  • Member and Chair, NIH P01 and R01 Site Visit Teams (1986 - present)
  • NIH reviewer: Immunobiology; Medicine; Surgery and Bioengineering; Transplantation Biology; Experimental Therapeutics-1; Experimental Therapeutics-2 Study Sections
  • Member, Immunobiology Study Section (July 1990 - June 1994)
  • Member, Experimental Therapeutics-2 Study Section (ad hoc 10/96 - 6/98; full member 1998 - 2002)
  • Chair, NIH Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy Study Section, (2003 & 2006)
  • Member & co-chair, NCI Intramural Site Visit Teams (2008 - present)
  • Member, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Translational Grant study section (2001 - 2007; 2009)
  • Member, Food and Drug Administration Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee (2001 & 2005); active reserve, Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Committee (2005 - 2009)
  • American Society of Clinical Investigation (elected 1996)
  • Vice-Chair, New Agents; Vice Chair, Bone Marrow Transplantation: Children’s Cancer Group (1992 - 1997)
  • Chair, American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation annual scientific meeting (1996)
  • Member, American Society of Hematology Scientific Committee on Transplantation Biology (1997 & 2002; 2004 - 2009)
  • MERIT Award, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (1998 - 2008)
  • Andersen Chair in Transplantation Immunology (1999 - present)
  • Immune Tolerance Network, Member, Scientific Review and Network Steering Committee (2001 - present)
  • Association of American Physicians (elected 2002)
  • Member, American Transplant Society, Cellular Transplant Committee (ad hoc member 2002 - 2003)
  • Member, American Society of Gene Therapy, Immunology Committee (2003 - present)
  • Marquis Who’s Who in Science and Engineering (2003 - present)
  • Marquis Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare (2003 - present)
  • Recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Alumnus Award, Albany Medical College
  • NIH Symposium on Translational Immunology as related to Cancer, Co-Chair, Transplantation and Anti-Tumor Therapies (2005)
  • NIH Expert Panel Member, Transplantation Research (2005)
  • Co-Chair, NHLBI Panel Strategic Planning for Cellular Therapies (2005 - 2006)
  • Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society (Theta Chapter), Albany Medical College (elected 2006)
  • Board of Scientific Counselors, NCI for Clinical Sciences and Epidemiology, Center for Cancer Research (November 2007 - July 2012)
  • Member, Academic Health Center’s Academy for Excellence in Health Research (2007)
  • Consulting advisor, NHLBI Working Group, “Enhancing Translational Research and Clinical Trials for Cellular Therapies, including Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (2008)
  • Chair, American Society of Hematology Scientific Committee on Transplantation Biology (2009)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2008 elected)
  • Chair, NHLBI Working Group: Unanswered Questions in Acute GVHD and Future Directions to Advance the Field (2009)
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Stem Cell Therapies and the Immune Response Workshop Speaker/Panel Member (2009)
  • California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Grants Working Group Alternate Member (2009 - 2015)
  • NCI International Workshop on Relapse after Allogeneic Hematopoieic Stem Cell Transplantation, subcommittee member, graft-versus-tumor/leukemia reaction (2009-present)
  • University of Minnesota Regents Professor (UMN's highest faculty honor) (2009)
  • Co-Chair, American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting (2012)

Editorial Boards:

  • Journal of Immunology
  • Blood
  • Transplantation
  • Journal of Clinical Immunology
  • Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation
  • Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology
  • Faculty of 1000 (Immunomodulation section)
  • J. Clin and Translational Science


Visiting Professorships and Lectureships:

  • Visiting Professor, MD Anderson Cancer Center (2003)
  • Visiting Professor, Johns Hopkins University Medical School (2003)
  • James Kuebel Lecture, Washington University, St. Louis, MO (2004)
  • Immunology and Cancer Distinguished Lecture, Ohio State University (2004)
  • Gilbert B. Forbes Visiting Scholar, University of Rochester (2004)
  • Keynote Speaker, Merck, Sharp and Dohme Hematology Master Class, London, England (2004)
  • E. Donnell Thomas Lecture, American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (2005)
  • Albany Medical College, Distinguished Alumnus Lecture (2005)
  • 2nd Annual Robertson Parkman Honorary Lectureship (2007)
  • Anne T. Bass Endowed Lecture in Hematology, Oncology and Stem Cell; and Visiting Professorship, Stanford University (2008)
  • Visiting Professor & Sam Beres Endowed Lectureship, Milwaukee, WI (2009)
  • AFLAC Visiting Professor, Emory University (2010)
  • Distinguished lecture series, Ohio State Cancer Center (2010)

Professional Memberships

  • Society for Pediatric Research (elected 1988)
  • American Society of Clinical Investigation (elected 1996)
  • Association of American Physicians (elected 2002)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (elected 2008)
  • American Association of Immunologists
  • Transplantation Society
  • International Society of Experimental Hematology
  • American Society of Hematology
  • American Association of Cancer Research
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Children's Cancer Study Group
  • American Society of Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • American Society of Gene Therapy
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • Member, Zinc Finger Consortium (appointed)

Community and University Service

  • American Cancer Society Institutional Grant Review Committee (1986 - 1999; Chair, 1989-1998)
  • Member, Pediatrics Tenure Track Committee (Member, 1995 - present; Chair, 1998 -2007)
  • Pediatric Research Committee (1995 - 1996; 2000-2003; 2005)
  • PRE Foundation Board (1996 - 1998)
  • Pediatric Academic Planning Committee (2005)
  • Medical Staff and Affiliations Committee, Childrens' Hospital Merger (2006)
  • University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center: Program Co-Leader, Transplantation Biology Program (2004 & 2007); Executive Committee (2004 - 2008); Search Committee, Cancer Center Director (2004 & 2006); Emerging Core Co-Leader (2007 - 2008); Chair, Internal Advisory Board (2009)
  • Medical Staff and Affiliations Committee, Children's Hospital Merger (2006 - present)
  • Academic Health Center Ambassador (2007 - present)
  • Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics applications, Grant applications review (2007 - present)
  • Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, Scientific Advisory Board (2008 - present)
  • Research and Scholarly Advisory Panel for the Office of the Vice President for Research (2008 & 2011)
  • AHC Task force for Infectious Disease Research Corridor development (2008 - present)
  • AHC Task force for Diabetes Research Corridor Development (2008)
  • Search Committee for Chair, Department of Internal Medicine (2008)
  • Principal Investigator, NIH Clinical and Translational Sciences Award Grant Submission (2008 - present)
  • Member, UMN Oversight Committee of the Schulze Diabetes Institute (2009 - present)
  • Chief Scientific Advisor, Schulze Diabetes Institute (2009 - present)
  • AHC Council of Research Deans (2009 - present)
  • Pharmaceutical Commercialization Steering Committee (2009 - present)
  • Minnesota Medical Foundation, Cancer Experimental Therapeutics Initiative (CETI) Steering Committee (2009 - present)
  • UMN Masonic Cancer Center Internal Advisory Board, Chair (2009 - present)
  • AHC Leadership Transition Advisory Group to President Bruininks (2010 - present)

Issued Patents

  • Radiolabeled fusion toxins for cancer therapy. 6,001,329 (December 14, 1999)
  • Multimeric immunotoxins. 6,492,498 (December 10, 2002)
  • Cell-mediated targeting of toxins to pathogenic cells; 7,101,542 (September 5, 2006)
  • Use of a promoter of T cell activation and an inducer of CD40 stimulation in the treatment or prevention of a pathogenic state, 7,175,838 (February 13, 2007)
Publications (selected peer-reviewed papers, 2010 - present, from a total of >480 publications)

Kelly RM, Goren EM, Taylor PA, Mueller SN, Stefanski HE, Osborn MJ, Scott HS, Gudkov AV, Hollander GA,Blazar BR. Short-term inhibition of p53 combined with keratinocyte growth factor improves thymic epithelial cell recovery and enhances T-cell reconstitution after murine bone marrow transplantation. Blood 2010;115:1088-97.

Radojcic V, Pletneva M, Yen H-R, Panokaltsis-Mortari A, Giliam A, Drake CG, Blazar BR, Luznik L. STAT3 signaling in CD4+ T-cells controls the effector/regulatory T-cell balance and modulates murine chronic graft-versus-host disease. J Immunol. 2010;184:764-774.

Ding ZC, Blazar BR, Mellow AL, Munn DH, Zhou G. Chemotherapy rescues tumor-driven aberrant CD4+ T cell differentiation and restores an activated polyfunctional helper phenotype. Blood 2011;115:2397-2406.

Coghill JM, Carlson MJ, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, West MJ, Burgents JE, Blazar BR, Serody JS. Separation of graft-versus-host disease from graft-versus-leukemia responses by targeting CC-chemokine receptor 7 on donor T cells. Blood 2010;115:4914-4922; [editorial. Beilhack A: Leading T cells astray. Blood 2010;115:4628-4630.

Zanin-Zhorov A, Ding Y, Kumari S, Attur M, Hippen KL, Brown M, Blazar BR, Abramson SB, Lafaillie JJ, Dustin ML. Protein kinase C-theta mediates negative feedback on regulatory T cell function. Science 2010;328:372-376.

Vogtenhuber C, Bucher C, Highfill S, Jasperson LK, Goren E, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Taylor PA, Farrar MA, Blazar BR. Constitutively active Stat5 in CD4+ T cells inhibits graft-versus-host disease lethality associated with increased regulatory T-cell potency and decreased T effector cell responses. Blood 2010;116:466-474.

Zhou Q, Munger ME, Highfill SL, Tolar J, Weigel BJ, Riddle M, Sharpe AH, Vallera DA, Azuma M, Levine BL, June CH, Murphy WJ, Munn DH, Blazar BR. Program death-1 signaling and regulatory T cells collaborate to resist the function of adoptive transfer of cytotoxic T lymphocytes in advanced acute myeloid leukemia. Blood 2010;116:2484-2493.

Highfill SL, Rodriguez PC, Zhou Q, Goetz CA, Koehn BH, Veenstra R, Taylor PA, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Serody JS, Munn DH, Tolar J, Ochoa A, Blazar BR. Bone marrow myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) inhibit graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) via an arginase-I-dependent mechanism that is up-regulated by interleukin-13. Blood 2010;116: 5738-5747.

Sakuishi K, Apetoh L, Sullivan JM, Blazar BR, Kuchroo VK, Anderson AC. Targeting Tim-3 and PD-1 pathways to restore anti-tumor immunity. J Exp Med. 2010;207:2187-2194.

Carlson MJ, Fulton LM, Coghill JM, West ML, Burgents JE, Wan Y, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Tedder TF, Blazar BR, Serody JS. L-selectin is dispensible for T regulatory function post allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Am J Transplant 2010;10:2596-2603.

Sharma M, Hou DY, Baban B, Koni P, He Y, Chandler PR, Blazar BR, Mellor AL, Munn DH. Reprogrammed Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells provide essential help to support cross-presentation and CD8(+) T cell priming in naive mice. Immunity 2010;33:942-954. [commentary: Piccirillo CA: Treg's alter ego: An accessory in tumor killing. Immunity 2010;33:838-840].

Brunstein C, Miller JS, Cao Q, McKenna D, Hippen KL, Curtsinger J, DeFor T, Levine BL, June CH, McGlave PB, Blazar BR, Wagner JE. Infusion of ex vivo expanded T regulatory cells in adults transplanted with umbilical cord blood: Safety profile and detection kinetics. Blood 2011;117:1061-1070. [commentary: Komanduri KV, Champlin RE: Can Treg therapy prevent GVHD? Blood 117:752-2, 2011]

Koestner W, Hapke M, Herbst J, Klein C, Welte K, Frueauf J, Flatley A, Vignali DA, Hardtke-Wolenski, Jaeckel E, Blazar BR, Sauer MG. PD-L1 blockade effectively restores strong graft-versus-leukemia effects without graft-versus-host disease after delayed adoptive transfer of T-cell receptor gene-engineered allogeneic CD8+ T cells. Blood 2010;117:1030-1041.

Tolar J, Park IH, Xia L, Lees C, Peacock B, Webber B, McElmurry R, Eide C, Kyba M, Osborn MJ, Lund TC, Wagner JE, Daley GQ, Blazar BR. Hematopoietic differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type I (Hurler Syndrome). Blood 2011;117:839-847.

Levin SD, Taft DW, Brandt CS, Bucher C, Houward ED, Chadwick EM, Johnston J, Hammond A, Bontadelli K, Arourel D, Hebb L, Wolf A, Bukowski TR, Rixon MW, Kuijper JL, Ostrander CD, West JW, Bilsborough J, Fox B, Gao Z, Xu W, Ramsdell F, Blazar BR, Lewis KE. Vstm3 is a member of the CD28 family and an important modulator of T cell function. Eur J Immunol. 2011;41:902-915.

Golovina T, Mikheeva T, Brusko TM, Blazar BR, Bluestone JA, Riley JL. Retinoic acid and rapamycin differentially affect and synergistically promote the ex vivo expansion of natural human T regulatorycells. PLoS One 2011;6:e15868.

Zhou Q, Munger ME, Veenestra RG, Weigel BJ, Hirashima M, Munn DH, Murphy WJ, Azuma M, Anderson AC, Kuchroo VK, Blazar BR. Co-expression of T-cell immunoglobulin and mucin 3 protein (Tim-3) and program death-1 (PD-1) identifies an exhaustion phenotype of T cells in mice with dissemminated acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). Blood 2011;117:4501-2410.

Hippen KL, Merkel SM, Schirm DK, Nelson C, Riley JL, June CH, Miller JS, Wagner JE, Blazar BR. Generation and large-scale expansion of human inducible regulatory T cells (iTregs) that suppress graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). Am J Transplant. 2011; 11:1148-1157.

Hippen KL, Merkel SC, Schirm DK, Sieben CM, Sumstad D, Kadidlo DM, McKenna DH, Bromberg JS, Levine BL, Riley JL, June CH, Scheinberg P, Douek DC, Miller JS, Wagner JE, Blazar BR. Massive ex vivo expansion of human natural regulatory T cells (Tregs) with minimal loss of in vivo functional activity. Sci Transl Med 2011;3: 83ra41; [perspective: Wang X, Lu L, Jiang S regulatory T cells Customizing for the Clinic. Sci Transl Med. 2011;3 83ps19; News and Analysis, Immunology. Leslie M. Regulatory T cells get their chance to shine. Science 2011;332:1020-1021 .

Osborn MJ, DeFeo A, Blazar BR*, Tolar J* (* equal contributors). Synthetic zinc finger nuclease design and assembly: Targeting of the human a-L-iduronidase gene. Hum Gene Ther. 2011 [Epub ahead of print].

Glass TJ, Lund TC, Patrinostro X, Tolar J, Bowman T, Zon LI, Blazar BR. Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) and hematopoietic cell homing in an adult zebrafish model of hematopoietic cell transplant. Blood 2011 [Epub ahead of print].

Barao I, Alvarez M, Orr M, Stefanski H, Blazar BR, Lanier L, Anderson S, Redelman D, Murphy W. Ly49+ NK cells dominate early responses during both immune reconstitution and activation independent of the MHC. Blood (epub April 16), 2011.

Zanin-Zhorov A, Dustin ML, Blazar BR. PKC theta and the immunological synapse: mechanisms and implications. Trends in Immunol. (in press), 2011

Penaloza-MacMaster P, Rasheed AU, Iyer SS, Yagita H, Blazar BR, Ahmed R. Opposing effects of CD70 costimulation during acute and chronice viral infection in mice. J. Virol (epub April 20), 2011.

Paterson AM, Brown KE, Keir ME, Vanguri VK, Riella LV, Chandraker A, Sayegh MH, Blazar BR, Freeman GJ, Sharpe AH. The PD-L1:B7-1 pathway restrains diabetogenic effector T cells in vivo. J. Immunol. (epub June 22), 2011.

Osborn MJ, DeFeo A, Blazar BR*, Tolar J* (* equal contributors). Synthetic zinc finger nuclease design and assembly: Targeting of the human a-L-iduronidase gene. Human Gene Therapy (epub June 13), 2011

Baban B, Chandler PR, Johnson BA, Huang L, Li M, Sharpe ML, Francisco LM, Sharpe AH, Blazar BR, Munn DH, Mellor AL:Physiological control of IDO-competence in splenic dendritic cells. J. Immunol. (in press), 2011

Greising SM, Call JA, Lund TC, Blazar BR, Tolar J, Lowe D: Skeletal muscle contractile function and neuromuscular performance in zmpste24-/- mice, a murine model of human progeria. AGE (Journal of the American Aging Association) (in press), 2011

Yang J, Riella LV, Chocks S, Liu T, Robles S, Zhao X, Yuan X, Paterson AT, Vanguri V, Yagita H, Azuma M, Blazar BR, Freeman GJ, Rodig SJ, Sharpe AH, Chandraker A, Sayegh MH. The novel costimulatory pathway PDL1:B7.1 is functional in inhibiting alloimmune responses in vivo. J. Immunol. (epub June 22), 2011

Beyer M, Thabet Y, Muller R, Sadlon T, Classen S, Lahl K, Basu S, Zhou X, Bailey-Bucktrout SL, Krebs W, Schonfeld E, Bottcher J, Golovina T, Mayer C, Hoffman A, Sommer D, Debey-Pascher S, Endl E, Limmer A, Hippen K, Blazar BR, Balderas R, Quast T, Waha A, Mayer G, Famulok M, Knoelle PA, Wickenhauser C, Kolanus W, Schermer B, Barry S, Bluestone JA, Sparwasser T, Riley JL, Schultze JL. Repression of SATB1 in regulatory T cells is required for suppressive function and inhibition of effector differentiation. Nat Immunol. (in press), 2011.

Rizwan R, Levine JE, DeFor T, Ferrara JLM, Weisdorf DJ, Blazar BR, Verneris ML. Peri-transplant palifermin use and lymphocyte recovery after T-cell replete matched related allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. American Journal of Hematology (in press), 2011


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