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NDRI Presents Empowering Research and Discovery Award to Washington Regional Transplant Community, Recognizing Outstanding Commitment to Advancing Research

·5-min read

PHILADELPHIA, June 29, 2022--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI), a world leader in the procurement and distribution of biospecimens to advance research, recognized Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), the local nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) that serves 5.8 million people in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and three counties in suburban Maryland and works in partnership with 45 hospitals and six transplant centers, as the recipient of the fourth annual NDRI/AOPO Empowering Research and Discovery Award for outstanding commitment to the advancement of research. The award was presented on June 14 during the Association of Organ Procurement Organization’s (AOPO) 2022 Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Saboor Shad, Director of Tissue Source Site Management at NDRI with Immanuel Rasool, Manager of Research and Living Donation at Washington Regional Transplant Community and Matthew Niles, Director of Clinical Services, Washington Regional Transplant Community (Photo: Business Wire)

"WRTC is a long standing partner of NDRI that continually pursue opportunities to work with us through a variety of research projects to expand the impact of gifts from donors and donor families that they serve," said Bill Leinweber, president and CEO of NDRI. "We are thrilled to partner with AOPO to recognize WRTC with this prestigious honor, and look forward to our continued partnership."

"At WRTC, we have created a culture of research as we believe that research also saves lives. Our clinical team and support staff believe in the importance of recovering non-transplantable organs and tissues for far-reaching and innovative medical research," said Lori E. Brigham, WRTC President and Chief Executive Officer. "WRTC is appreciative of NDRI and AOPO for their recognition of our efforts and are deeply grateful to our donors and their families for authorizing gifts for these purposes. They are the heroes that make research happen."

"AOPO is proud to recognize WRTC for their continued and ongoing efforts to advance research," says AOPO Chief Executive Office Steve Miller. "They are a role model for other members of the donation and transplantation community, dedicating significant time and resources to ensure innovation and research remains a top priority as our community works to achieve 50,000 annual organ transplants in 2026."

WRTC has been a research partner of NDRI since the early 1990s. Specifically in 2021, the organization facilitated the placement of 121 organs for research and education from 120 research authorized donors. These gifts supported several innovative research projects advancing discovery in areas such as transplantation, improved therapies for diseases including heart failure, overactive bladder, muscular dystrophy and pain management.

With the placement of more than 900 organs for research since 2011 resulting in several publications and presentations to the OPO community – WRTC has proven their dedication to research and the priority they place on providing donor families additional opportunities to amplify the impact of their loved one’s gifts.

About NDRI:

The National Disease Research Interchange (NDRI) is the nation’s leading source of human tissues, cells, and organs for scientific research. A not-for-profit 501 (c) (3) organization founded in 1980, NDRI is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, public and private foundations and organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations. NDRI is a 24/7 operation that partners with a nationwide network of over 130 tissue source sites (TSS), including organ procurement organizations (OPOs), tissue banks, eye banks, and hospitals. The TSS are distributed throughout the U.S., in 45 states, with concentrations in major metropolitan areas on both the east and west coasts. Their wide geographic distribution allows NDRI to provide biospecimens from donor populations with diverse demographics and also facilitates the timely and efficient provision of fresh tissues directly to researchers across the U.S. and around the world. By serving as the liaison between procurement sources and the research community, NDRI is uniquely positioned to support breakthrough advances and discoveries that can affect advances in the treatment and cure of human diseases. For more information visit and follow us on social media: @ndri_resource

About WRTC:

Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC) is a nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) that serves 5.8 million people in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C. and three counties in suburban Maryland. WRTC works in partnership with six transplant centers and 45 hospitals to decrease the number of patients waiting for a lifesaving organ. It also educates the public about organ, eye and tissue donation to increase the number of registered donors, and ultimately save more lives.

About AOPO:

The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) is the not-for-profit trade association leading the nation’s professional organ donation community to save and improve lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation. Founded in 1984, AOPO advances organ donation and transplantation by driving continual improvement of the donation process, collaborating with stakeholders, and sharing successful practices with their OPO members. The vision of AOPO is to pursue the day when every donation opportunity results in lives saved. As part of its 50,000 Annual Organ Transplants in 2026 campaign, AOPO is committed to driving innovation and research. For more information, please visit

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Eileen P. Falchetta
Director, Marketing & Communications
215-557-7361, ext. 239

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