The research award that I received from the National Blood Foundation (NBF) was very important to me early in my career for several reasons. The funding itself was important for performing the experiments proposed, and the data obtained have played a role in much of the research that has been performed in my laboratory since that time. Also, receiving the award was a very important vote of confidence by the grant review committee at an early time in my career as an independent research scientist. Finally, because it is essential that a junior faculty member secure independent research funding, receiving this award from the NBF also represented a critical step in my career. The work that was funded by the NBF has led my laboratory down many new avenues of research, all of which have been exciting and rewarding.