Dr. Miriam Shelef: Banking on patient samples to advance COVID-19 research
Last spring, when researchers began pivoting their studies to COVID-19 research, Miriam Shelef, MD, PhD, associate professor, Rheumatology, saw the need for a biological repository of blood samples from individuals who have recovered from the virus.
Dr. Shelef started sending emails to see if anyone at UW–Madison was banking plasma or other blood products from patients recovering from the virus. After learning that no one was, she applied for and received a research grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program’s COVID-19 Response Grant Program, designed to help the university and community organizations across Wisconsin address the immediate health challenges of COVID-19.
She established the COVID-19 Convalescent Biobank, a biorepository for blood samples from individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Thanks to partnerships with leaders and faculty at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, samples from this biobank are now contributing to COVID-19 research at UW-Madison, and even the National Institutes of Health’s Vaccine Research Center.
Above, Dr. Miriam Shelef works in her lab. Photo: Clint Thayer/Department of Medicine.