The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) is a not-for-profit organisation responsible for the collection and distribution of blood and related products in South Africa, with the exclusion of the Western Cape. SANBS is further regarded as a major role player in the provision of support to countries in the SADC region. For more information please visit their website.

Country: South Africa

Population Served: 60,000,000

Donors: 1,000,000

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Ute Jentsch
Principal Investigator

Ute is a Medical Microbiologist and has a position at the South African National Blood Service (SANBS), supporting the Blood Service with reference laboratory testing facilities. She is co-lead for Work Package 10 of the Blood transfusion Genomics Consortium, which deals with International Standards.

Most of her experience gained in the clinical and laboratory environment comes from her role in supporting the challenge of dealing with the HIV epidemic in South Africa. These efforts included transfusion and transplant diagnostics using molecular platforms including next generation sequencing. She also has oversight of blood product quality control for SANBS.

In an earlier stint in her career Ute was the in-country principal investigator of the NIH funded “Recipient Epidemiology & Donor Evaluation Study” (REDS-III), a partnership with the University of California San Francisco to perform clinical and epidemiologic research in transfusion medicine with a focus on HIV.

Before joining SANBS, Ute was an investigator on early ARV trials, collaborating with international networks such as the NIH, IAVI, ACTG, GSK Malaria Vaccine Initiative and TB networks at the Clinical Laboratory Services, Wits Health Consortium (WHC). At the time her interest in Biobanking lead to a becoming a successful recipient of the NIH / Wellcome Trust funded H3 Africa Biorepository Grant. Ute’s vision is characterised by clarity: “In the near future, genetic platforms will replace traditional serological testing methods for routine investigations of donors and patients in blood transfusion medicine, transplantation and other disciplines”.

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Tanya Glatt
Alternate to PI

Tanya Glatt is a haematopathologist at the South African National Blood Service providing oversight for the immunohaematology reference laboratories. She collaborates closely with Sickle Cell clinics in South Africa and has been instrumental in promoting pheno/ genotyping testing for patients with Sickle Cell Disease across the country. In addition, she oversees the Specialised Therapeutics Services which performs clinical apheresis procedures and is the JACIE processing facility director of the Cellular Therapy Laboratory.

Tanya is an honorary lecturer in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Haematology at the University of Witwatersrand and research associate in the Department of Human Anatomy & Physiology at the University of Johannesburg. Her interests include stem cell transplant, transfusion medicine research and immunohaematology and is passionate about training and teaching of registrars and medical personnel in these fields.

Tanya strongly believes that accessibility to genomic technologies is an essential part of transfusion care for patients with haemoglobinopathies.