Determinants of donation-related biomarkers

This theme of research aims to identify and characterise genetic, biochemical, lifestyle and other determinants of relevant blood cell traits and measures of iron homeostasis, including determinants of the trajectories of these factors over time among donors. This will further understanding of molecular and health consequences of repeated blood donation. Through analysis of the INTERVAL study data, COMPARE study data, serial follow-up of donors and mechanistic studies, Theme 1 will help identify people who can give blood more and less frequently than is typical. The research will also identify genomic and other factors associated with capacity to give blood which will inform evidence-based strategies to prevent deferral. Thus, results from Theme 1 will help identify genomic and other factors associated with capacity to give blood (Theme 2) and help inform evidence-based strategies to prevent deferral (Theme 3).

Work currently being undertaken by colleagues at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford:

  • Large-scale analyses of clinical blood report phenotypes
  • Genetics of internal cellular traits
  • Fine-mapping and integrative analyses
  • Blood group phenotyping
  • Experimental mechanistic studies
  • Protein quantitative trait loci

Theme 1 is led by Professor Nicole Soranzo, Wellcome Sanger Institute.


Nicole Soranzo
Qi Guo
Lisa Schmunk
Parsa Akbari






Research staff:

  • Dr Will Astle
  • Dr Qi Guo


  • Lisa Schmunk
  • Parsa Akbari



Donating blood comes at a cost to the donor and NHSBT has the dual responsibility of safeguarding donor health while maintaining blood stocks for the Health Service. Theme 1 will identify and characterise relevant blood cell traits among donors and, by matching these traits to donor health information, the theme intends to determine how often a donor should give blood (more or less frequently that the standard interval). These results will help inform NHSBT policy and procedures.