Dr. Celso Bianco of Bethesda, Maryland, died on August 16, 2018.
Celso Bianco was born on May 23, 1941 to Jose Antonio and Paulina Bianco in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where he received his Doctor of Medicine from Escola Paulista de Medicina (Medical School of Sao Paulo) in Brazil. In 1969, he moved to the United States, where he conducted research in immunology at the New York University School of Medicine in New York before joining the faculty at Rockefeller University in New York then the State University of New York in Brooklyn. In 1982, he was hired at the New York Blood Center in New York as the Director of Research and Development, before becoming the Director of Science and Technology and Investigator, where he was instrumental in determining the response to the threat of AIDS in relation to transfusion safety, an approach which elevated the standard of policy within the field. While still at the New York Blood Center, Dr. Bianco served as Vice President of Medical Affairs from 1992 to 2000 before becoming the Executive Vice President of America’s Blood Centers in Washington, DC from 2000 to 2012, when he retired.
Celso was married to Maria Rios, also a native Brazilian, in New York, where they resided until moving to Bethesda.
In 1994, Dr. Bianco began a long tenure which included several positions at the American Association of Blood Banks that lasted through the end of his life when he served as Consultant to the Transfusion Diseases Committee and Task Forces on Infectious Diseases. In 2013, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the International Council for Commonality in Blood Banking Automation. During his retirement years, he was extremely active and peripatetic; in 2012 he was elected as President Elect of the International Society of Blood Transfusion, where he served as President from 2014 to 2016 and Past President from 2016 to 2018. In addition, he maintained a deep love for his home country of Brazil, to which he often traveled and participated in medical and scientific debates with the objective of improving the standard of patient care.
Celso, who was known for his measured approach in seeking peaceful resolutions to controversial issues, was a mentor to numerous members of his professional community. He was chosen to receive many honors by his colleagues, including the America’s Blood Centers named lecture (the Celso Bianco lecture), the America’s Blood Centers Thomas F. Zuck Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award.
Dr. Bianco is survived by his beloved wife, Maria Rios of Bethesda; his son, Marco Bianco of Pasadena, CA; his two daughters, Christina Bianco Smith of Bainbridge Island, WA and Julia Bianco Schoeffling, of Los Angeles, CA; his two brothers, Eduardo Bianco of and Carlos Bianco of Sao Paulo; and five grandchildren.