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Published on July 17, 2009

Avera McKennan stem cell technologist wins national scholarship award

SIOUX FALLS (July 17, 2009) - Leslie Cooper, MT (ASCP), lead stem cell technologist with the Avera McKennan Laboratory, was awarded the 2009 AABB-Fenwal Scholarship, Specialty in Blood Banking Scholarship Award, sponsored by Fenwal, Inc.

This award is given to a student or recent graduate from an AABB-accredited program for the education of specialists in blood banking. Cooper is a recent graduate from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Blood Bank Specialist Program. She has been with the Avera McKennan laboratory since 2006, and previously worked as a clinical laboratory scientist in the stem cell lab at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She is one of two awardees named by Fenwal nationwide.

In applying for the award, Cooper submitted her paper,  "Cryopreservation of Peripheral Blood Progenitor Cells by Uncontrolled Rate Freezing at 95 degrees Centigrade Using Cryoprotectant Containing a Final Concentration of 5% Dimethyl Sulfoxide," a technical paper describing a new way of freezing blood stem cells. 
 
AABB is an international association representing individuals and institutions involved in activities related to transfusion and cellular therapies, including transplantation medicine. AABB member facilities are responsible for collecting virtually all of the nation's blood supply and transfusing more than 80 percent of all blood and blood components used in the United States.

Avera McKennan's laboratory is nationally-recognized for excellence, and is the first hospital laboratory in the nation and world to achieve ISO 15189SM accreditation from the College of American Pathologists. The ISO 15189 standard is the worldwide, international standard for the highest quality laboratory testing and management. The lab processes an average of 125,000 tests per month, with an average turn-around time of 35 minutes and accuracy rate of greater than 99.9999%.