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Noted Blood Safety Researcher Dies at 60

William N. Drohan, PhD, blood safety researcher and educator, died March 25, 2007, at his home in Germantown, MD, after a four-year battle with lung cancer. Drohan was 60 years old.

Drohan is remembered for many scientific contributions over the years, including his dedication to improving blood safety for people with bleeding disorders. “He did as much as any single person could do to investigate vCJD (variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease) in the blood supply and the risk of transmission while at the American Red Cross, among many other accomplishments on behalf of the hemophilia community,” said Glenn Pierce, PhD, MD, former NHF president, and current vice president of hematology research at Bayer HealthCare. "“He didn’t look for public acknowledgment. Rather he quietly set about answering tough scientific problems that needed to be addressed to make the blood supply safer.”

During his career, Drohan held positions at the National Cancer Institute and several private companies that treated blood-borne diseases, including Clearant, Inc., and Inspiration Biopharmaceuticals, Inc. He was senior director of plasma development at the American Red Cross Jerome H. Holland Laboratory for the Biomedical Sciences in Rockville, MD.

Drohan received a bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from UCLA and a PhD in medical microbiology and immunology from the UCLA School of Medicine. He was a professor in the Department of Genetics at George Washington University and adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Maryland.

Drohan published more than 145 papers in his lifetime and held 30 US patents. He is survived by his wife, Marian, and their five children.

The Coalition for Hemophilia B has established the Dr. William N. Drohan Scholarship Fund in his memory. For more information, contact the coalition: 212.554.6898 or


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