World-renowned research institute


Clinical Trials

In recent decades, our Center has been the forefront of major discoveries of research in SCD. We continue our commitment to research in five key areas: clincal trials, gene therapy, implementation, international, and laboratory. Learn more about clinical trials.

Gene Therapy

Research focuses on transplant and gene therapy for sickle cell disease and thalassemia – which are both red blood cell disorders that involve abnormalities of hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen). Learn more about Gene Therapy.


Implementation science applies systematic research and evaluation approaches to identifying and addressing barriers to acceptability, treatments, disease modifying therapies and effective scale-up of evidence-based interventions across settings. There are unique barriers to translating research into practice in low-to-middle income countries (LMIC). Implementation science has the potential to reduce the gaps between discovery and practice, and to reduce SCD research and healthcare disparities. Learn more about Implementation.

In the Lab

The Rivers Lab is based in the Department of Pediatrics-Hematology, at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland (UCSF BCH Oakland). Angela Rivers MD-PhD is the principal investigator. The Rivers lab is currently exploring the role of erythrocyte mitochondrial retention in Sickle Cell Disease.
Learn more about In the Lab.


The international team has worked on a variety of projects and roles, including: the creation and co-direction of Genetic Education and Counselling for Sickle Cell Conditions (GENECIS) Ghana, a counselor training program accredited by the Ghana Psychology Council.

Sickle Cell Center of Excellence team members serve in the following capacities:

  • as faculty for the first MSc in Genetic Counseling program in West Africa;
  • as course lead for Psychology of Predictive Testing at the West African Genetics Medicine Center at the University of Ghana in Accra;
  • as faculty for the African Research and Innovative Initiative for Sickle Cell Education (ARISE) initiative that has created an interagency and multidisciplinary staff exchange program;
  • as advisors for the Sickle In Africa Consortium, including the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications working group;
  • and as faculty for Indo-US bilateral workshop on thalassemia and sickle cell disease, Chandigarh, India.