David McKenna, Jr, MD

Professor and American Red Cross Chair in Transfusion Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

David McKenna, Jr

Contact Info


Office Phone 612-624-5736

Fax 612-624-1777

Mailing Address:
MMC 609 Mayo Building
420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor and American Red Cross Chair in Transfusion Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

Scientific and Medical Director, Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics


St. Louis University School of Medicine, 1997

University of Minnesota (Anatomic and Clinical Pathology), 1997-2001

University of Minnesota (Transfusion Medicine), 2001-2003

University of Notre Dame (Biological Sciences and Philosophy), 1991


Dr. McKenna holds the American Red Cross Chair in Transfusion Medicine and is Director of the Division of Transfusion Medicine. He also serves as the Scientific and Medical Director of Molecular and Cellular Therapeutics (MCT), the University’s cGMP facility, as well as Laboratory and Medical Director of the University of Minnesota Medical Center Clinical Cell Therapy Laboratory and the director of the fellowship program in Transfusion Medicine/Blood Banking. McKenna is an active AABB member, serving on the board of directors for four years and leading the AABB Cellular Therapy Section Coordinating Committee for several years. He was a key investigator in the NIH-sponsored Production Assistance for Cellular Therapies contract from 2003-2015.

Professional Associations

  • National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute (NHLBI)-sponsored PACT (Production Assistance for Cellular Therapy) group; the University of Minnesota has been designated a national somatic cell processing site
  • AABB member, serving as the Chair of their Cellular Therapies Committee
  • International Society for Cellular Therapy
  • International Society for Stem Cell Research
  • American Society of Hematology
  • Cell Processing Chair for the NHLBI-sponsored Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network
  • Scientific Member, Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) Cellular Therapy Team


Research Summary/Interests

Interests include umbilical cord blood research, quality assurance/quality control in cellular therapy, and translational research/clinical scale-up of biotherapeutics.


  • Walton K, Fernandez MR, Sagatys EM, Reff J, Kim J, Lee MC, Kiluk J, Hui JYC, McKenna D, Hupp M, Forster C, Linden MA, Lawrence NJ, Lawrence HR, Pidala J, Pavletic SZ, Blazar BR, Sebti SM, Cleveland JL, Anasetti C, Betts BC. Metabolic reprogramming augments potency of human pSTAT3-inhibited iTregs to suppress alloreactivity. JCI Insight. 2020 Apr 7. pii: 136437. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.136437.
  • Hussein E, DeFor T, Wagner JE, Sumstad D, Brunstein CG, McKenna DH. Evaluation of post-thaw CFU-GM: clinical utility and role in quality assessment of umbilical cord blood in patients receiving single unit transplant. Transfusion. 2019 Nov 22. doi: 10.1111/trf.15592. 
  • McKenna D. Challenges in the cGMP manufacturing of MSCs for multicenter academia trials. Transfusion (2016);56(4):18S-9S. doi: 10.1111/trf.13565.
  • Courville EL*, Singh C*, Yohe S, Linden MA, Naemi K, Berger M, Ustun C, McKenna R, Dolan M. Patients with a history of prior chemotherapy and isolated del(20q) with minimal myelodysplasia have an indolent course. *co-first authors. Am J Clinical Pathol.2016 Apr; 145(4):459-66.
  • Hubel A, Spindler R, Curtsinger JM, Lindgren B, Wiederoder S, McKenna, DH. Postthaw characterization of umbilical cord blood: markers of storage lesion. Transfusion. 2015 May;55(5):1033-9. doi: 10.1111/trf.12971. Epub 2014 Dec 19. PMID:25522958.
  • Sharma, R. R., Pollock, K., Hubel, A. and McKenna, D. (2013), Mesenchymal stem or stromal cells: a review of clinical applications and manufacturing practices. Transfusion. 2014 May;54(5):1418-37. doi: 10.1111/trf.12421. Epub 2013 Oct 16.
  • Koepsell SA, Kadidlo DM, Fautsch S, McCullough J, Klingemann H, Wagner JE, Miller JS, McKenna Jr DH. Successful "in-flight" activation of natural killer cells during long-distance shipping. Transfusion. 2012 May 11. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2012.03695.x.
  • Rabe F, Kadidlo D, Van Orsow L, McKenna D. Establishment of an unrelated umbilical cord blood bank qualification program: ensuring quality while meeting Food and Drug Administration vendor qualification requirements. Transfusion. 2013 Jan 24. doi: 10.1111/trf.12085. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 23347170.


Board Certifications

Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Pathology, Transfusion Medicine / Blood Banking