Blood

12th Earl W. Davie Symposium: a focus on the next-generation of blood researchers


Thursday, December 13, 2018

This post was contributed by Stefanie Novakowski, a PhD candidate in the Kastrup laboratory (Michael Smith Laboratories and the Centre for Blood Research, University of British Columbia). Tseday Tegegn and Bronwyn Lyons, also trainees at the Centre for Blood Research, contributed.

In November, the University of British Columbia Centre for Blood Research (CBR) hosted its 12th annual Earl W. Davie Symposium in Vancouver, BC. During the event, researchers, students, clinicians and patients discussed successes and ongoing challenges in hematology, from understanding basic mechanisms of clotting to improving patient care. Details of the invited talks can be found on the CBR’s blog here; however, a major part of what makes the day special is the enthusiastic participation of the CBR trainees. Throughout the day, the audience heard talks from four trainees, while 26 students presented their work during the poster sessions.

“Three of the invited speakers today told me how special the trainees are here at CBR. I have this on multiple occasions before!  I think that CBR not only has an excellent recruitment process in place, but we also offer very good training programs.” - Dr. Ed Pryzdial, Canadian Blood Services scientist and associate director of the CBR

Trainee talks: from blood clotting to neuroinflammation

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12th Earl W. Davie Symposium - photo 1

Parker Jobin (Overall Laboratory, University of British Columbia) presents his research during one of the day’s four trainee talks (Photo courtesy of the Centre for Blood Research.)

While the key proteins involved in blood clotting were identified by Dr. Earl W. Davie and his colleagues over 40 years ago, many questions remain, including questions about the role of coagulation factor XII (FXII) in regulating clotting. In the first trainee talk of the day, Tammy Truong (Weitz Laboratory, McMaster University), described her work characterizing the interaction between FXII and histidine-rich glycoprotein, a protein found in plasma and platelets. This work could aid in developing new treatments for blood clotting disorders, reducing the risk of bleeding associated with current drugs. Tammy was a recipient of the CBR’s newly-established travel awards, made possible through the Sheldon Naiman and Linda Vickars Hematology Endowment Fund.

Most people attending a symposium on blood research would not expect to hear about the impact of dietary fibre on their health; however, this was not the case at this year’s Symposium. In an engaging talk, Hannah Robinson, (Osborne Laboratory, University of British Columbia), described how high dietary levels of guar gum, a soluble fiber, provides protection in animal models of multiple sclerosis, preventing entry of immune cells into the nervous system. While guar gum can be found in ice cream, Hannah was quick to point out that “ice cream is not the cure for multiple sclerosis.”

Occasionally, new roles can be found for well-characterized proteins. In his talk, Parker Jobin, a MD/PhD student in Overall Laboratory (University of British Columbia), described how tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase, a protein typically found within cells, can be released and alter cell growth in blood vessels, regulating inflammation. During the poster session, he shared how the Symposium has helped him in his professional development:

“At the Symposium, there’s a mix of both familiar and new faces. This provides an opportunity to hone your presentation skills in with colleagues you are comfortable with, while still meeting with many distinguished researchers and clinicians.” - Parker Jobin, Overall Laboratory

Poster presentations: the expanding realm of blood research

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12th Earl W. Davie Symposium - photo 2

Sreeparna Vappala (Kizhakkedathu Laboratory, University of British Columbia) shares her work with an engaged attendee. (Photo courtesy of the Centre for Blood Research.)

At the Symposium, each of the poster presenters have the opportunity to practice their elevator pitches with 30-second ‘shotgun’ talks. Maria-Elizabeth Beava (Jefferies Laboratory, University of British Columbia) gave a particularly enthusiastic talk that highlighted how the field of blood research has grown since the early focus on blood clotting proteins, as her work focuses on possible links between eye disease and Alzheimer’s Disease. The Symposium offers both trainees and researchers a chance to learn about research outside of their area of study, an opportunity many trainees value.

“At the Symposium, you can meet patients, scientists and doctors. I had the opportunity to talk to a trauma surgeon today, which gave me a new perspective on my research. This Symposium is a great event that provides wonderful opportunities for students!” -Wayne Zhao, Devine Laboratory

Wayne is studying how temperature affects the quality and function of platelets used for transfusion, which are currently stored at room temperature. There is growing interest in storing platelets in the cold, as this may help improve their activity in patients with trauma and it may allow an extension of the shelf-life of platelets, which is currently limited to 7 days. Wayne’s findings may help inform Canadian Blood Services and other blood operators as they explore new possibilities with platelet products.

Platelets are also capable of mediating inflammation, and are known to bind to and internalize pathogens, including viruses. Tseday Tegegn (Pryzdial Laboratory) is following protein synthesis in platelets, with the goal of understanding how platelet interactions with the Dengue virus alter proteins in the cell. She is investigating whether this contributes to low platelet levels (thrombocytopenia) during infection. Moving from platelets to the immune system, Linda Yang (Scott Laboratory) is focused on adoptive cell immunotherapy, a promising potential treatment for cancer. She is studying what the cells used in this therapy release and deliver to cancer cells, to identify which specific components reduce cancer cell growth.

Throughout the day, posters were judged by the CBR’s post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, and investigators. This year’s winners were Emel Islamzada (3rd place), Tammy Truong (2nd place) and Stefanie Novakowski (1st place).

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12th Earl W. Davie Symposium

It’s all about the trainees: Dr. Stefanie Mak, Education Program Manager at the CBR, presents the 1st place poster award to Stefanie Novakowski (Photo courtesy of the Centre for Blood Research.)

Both Stefanie and Emel’s research demonstrate the roles of new technologies in blood research. Stefanie (Kastrup Laboratory, University of British Columbia) developed a method for delivering genetic material to platelets using nano-sized delivery systems, with the goal of creating modified platelets with improved activity during trauma or with extended shelf-life. Emel (Ma Laboratory, University of British Columbia) studies how red blood cells decrease in flexibility during storage using microfluidic devices, which allow single cells to be isolated and characterized. Her findings could potentially be used to identify ‘superdonors’, donors whose blood cells do not deteriorate during storage, leading to improved activity after transfusion.

From developing new drugs to learning how dietary fibre might impact our health, the 2018 EWD Symposium was a diverse and enlightening experience, and this based solely on the student presentations! The CBR symposia are always an invaluable learning experience for attendees, from trainees to patients to established researchers, and this year was no different.

The Centre for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia hosts three Canadian Blood Services scientists and affiliated staff, postdoctoral fellows and students. Canadian Blood Services and the Centre for Innovation are proud to partner with the Centre for Blood Research to deliver training and education events including the annual Earl W. Davie Symposium.


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

Funded research providing evidence needed to evolve eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men


Monday, December 03, 2018

Today, Canadian men are eligible to give blood if it has been more than one year since their last sexual contact with another man, which is known as the MSM eligibility criteria.

Canadian Blood Services has recently made progress on several fronts that may further evolve the eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men. This includes supporting more research projects as part of the MSM Research Grant Program and working to reduce the waiting period from one year to three months based on the latest evidence.

Supporting research

In October, four additional projects were funded as part of a second round of support available through the MSM Research Grant Program. This unique program, initiated in 2017, now combines research from a total of 15 research teams engaging researchers from across Canada with key partners and stakeholder organizations. Informed by national and international research experts, and actively managed by Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, the program will generate evidence to inform alternative screening approaches for blood and plasma donors.

The newly funded projects investigate the feasibility of implementing source plasma donation with alternative screening approaches; the impact and opportunities for changes to blood donation screening; and mathematical modelling of the risk of transmission of viruses for various different strategies.

Summaries for all funded research projects are available on blood.ca 

The objective of the MSM Research Grant Program is to ensure the generation of adequate evidence-based research for alternative screening approaches for blood or plasma donors, which could evolve the current eligibility criteria for MSM while maintaining the safety of the blood supply. The program is administered by Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec with funding support from Health Canada.

Estimating risk 

Dr. Sheila O’Brien, associate director of epidemiology and surveillance with Canadian Blood Services, is the lead investigator of a couple of complementary projects that use mathematical modelling to better understand the risk of transfusion-transmitted infections. The projects, titled ‘Mathematical modelling – Comparing HIV risk between MSM donation strategies’, began in 2017 with support from the MSM Research Grant Program.

Dr. O’Brien is working to create and refine mathematical models that will more accurately estimate the risk of an HIV infectious unit of blood being released for transfusion if any changes are made to the eligibility criteria for donors. By comparing the risk associated with various possible changes to the eligibility criteria, informed decisions can be made as to which option may permit men who have sex with men to donate blood without compromising recipient safety and the sufficiency of the supply of blood products.

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Dr. Sheila O'Brien

Mathematical models allow us to estimate the chance of an infectious unit of blood being released to hospitals for transfusion. By changing the data we include in the model, we can compare various donor eligibility criteria and estimate the risk to the safety of the blood supply.” – Dr. Sheila O’Brien

Possible changes to the donor eligibility criteria that are being assessed include individualized risk assessment (in which the MSM question would not be asked) as well as shorter waiting periods.  The mathematical models are informed by data generated by research projects funded by the MSM Research Grant Program.

These interdisciplinary projects bring Canada’s blood operators, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, together with multiple national and international collaborators including experts from the Australian Red Cross, the American Red Cross, Public Health England, Santé Publique France, and the San Francisco-based Vitalant Research Institute.

Thanks in large part to the mathematical models already developed by this research, Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec can more accurately estimate the risks associated with reducing the waiting period for men who have sex with men. This refined risk assessment has been instrumental in setting the stage for a submission to our regulator, Health Canada, to reduce the waiting period for men who have sex with men from one year to three months.

Incremental change: submission to Health Canada 

While research efforts are underway, Canadian Blood Services continues to gather data on each blood unit collected, including pathogens tests results, and performs data analysis on a large scale. This surveillance approach has been instrumental in providing up-to-date information on the impact of reducing the waiting period for men who have sex with men to one year on the safety of the blood supply. We have discussed the results of the analysis with stakeholders (such as patient groups and LGBTQ+ groups) and with Héma-Québec, and are submitting a request to our regulator Health Canada to further reduce the waiting period for men who have sex with men to three months. 

This submission will be the latest incremental step by Canadian Blood Services to evolve the eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men. While the process is still in the early stages, we look forward to keeping the public updated on our progress.

As a blood operator, Canadian Blood Services has a responsibility to collect blood from donors who are at low-risk for any infection that could be transmitted through transfusion and who are unlikely to jeopardize their own health by blood donation. Difficult decisions need to be made about who can and cannot give blood. These decisions are not taken lightly and are not intended as value judgments of individuals. Any change to the eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men must be based on scientific evidence, acceptable to patient groups, and approved by our regulator, Health Canada.

More information about the eligibility criteria for men who have sex with men is available on blood.ca

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

Centre for Blood Research summer students visit Canadian Blood Services


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

By Sarah Bowers, Undergraduate Student, Brown Lab, Centre for Blood Research

This post was originally published on the Centre for Blood Research blog. It has been republished here with permission with minor edits.

 

What is involved in getting blood that has been donated at a mobile clinic in Campbell River to a patient on the operating table at Vancouver General Hospital?

On Tuesday, July 24th, the Centre for Blood Research (CBR) Summer Students headed to Canadian Blood Services’ Vancouver location to find out. The donor centre and production labs are located at Oak Street and 32nd Avenue, right next to BC Children’s Hospital. Our tour was led by Dr. Tanya Petraszko, a hematologist and medical director at Canadian Blood Services.

Created in 1998, Canadian Blood Services is a not-for-profit charitable organization that manages the Canadian blood supply. With 36 fixed donor centres and more than 14,000 donor centre events every year, they are responsible for recruiting and collecting blood, plasma, and platelets all the way from Halifax to BC. The only exception is in Québec, where Héma-Québec operates. Dr. Petraszko pointed out that this national scope is one of the things that makes Canadian Blood Services so special.

First, we headed to the donor centre where people were in the process of giving blood. As the CBR summer students had recently been on a tour of the Blood for Research facility (a special donor centre and lab — a part of the Canadian Blood Services Centre for Innovation), we were interested to learn how this centre compared.

The main difference here is that because the donated blood components are intended for use by hospitals for medical care, patient safety must be considered in addition to donor safety. 

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Canadian Blood Services - Vancouver

Canadian Blood Services in Vancouver. Photo credit: Canadian Blood Services.

The Vancouver location that we toured also houses the production laboratory where blood from all over BC comes for processing. The protocols for transport change based on a number of factors, including the weather. Red blood cells aren’t fans of the July heat! When we arrived in the lab it was fairly quiet. Dr. Petraszko explained that often the busiest time is at night as units that have been donated throughout the day arrive. Samples of these units will have been sent for testing for things like infectious diseases and blood groups. Once the units arrive, blood components such as red blood cells, plasma, and platelets, are separated and stored in appropriate conditions, just like at the blood for research facility. We watched as labels were placed on products to reconcile them with their test results. Once testing and production are complete, the products are released to inventory and are ready to be distributed as needed to hospitals.

Many of us were not aware of the other services that Canadian Blood Services provides to Canadians. Dr. Petraszko explained that Canadian Blood Services purchases plasma protein products on behalf of Canadians, and also operates a Cord Blood Bank, and the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network. Dr. Petraszko highlighted that Canadian Blood Services now manages programs and services related to organ and tissue donation and transplantation. We were interested to learn about the Kidney Paired Donation program that allows people who aren’t a match for a loved one to still help through the swapping of compatible kidneys through multiple donor-recipient pairs to start ‘domino’ chains of transplants. Canadian Blood Services recently facilitated the 1000th kidney transplant through its programs!

The CBR Summer Students would like to extend a big thank-you to Dr. Petraszko, others at the Canadian Blood Services' Vancouver location, and Julie Kora for the opportunity to tour the facility. We now have a much better understanding of the work being done by Canadian Blood Services, and a new appreciation for its breadth.

Visit UBC's Centre for Blood Research to learn more


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

Unleash your inner writer – Enter our first-ever lay science writing competition


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Use plain language to tell the story of your research in blood, plasma, stem cells or organs & tissues.

Call for submissions – Deadline: January 18, 2019

Theme: Research that matters!

We’re excited to announce the launch of Canadian Blood Services’ first-ever Lay Science Writing Competition. We’ve connected with key partners in the science writing and research communities (Science Borealis and the Centre for Blood Research) to host a competition that will put your plain language writing skills to the test. 

Submissions are open to members of the Canadian Blood Services extended research trainee network including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and research associates directly or indirectly supported by Canadian Blood Services.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase to the public your research in the domain of blood, plasma, stem cells, or organs and tissues and take an exciting new step in the development of your vital communication skills…. Not to mention the opportunity to win a prize and get published. 

This year’s Competition theme is “Research that matters!”. Your entry must describe the impact of your (your lab’s) research on the transfusion and transplantation system and/or on our society. The work must be original, in English, and not previously published. Length of submission must not exceed 800 words. 

Canadian Blood Services will convene a jury to review and rank the submissions. Submissions will be judged on their writing and storytelling merits.

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lay science writing competition poster 2018

The winning writer will receive a $300 prize and the two runners-up will each receive a $100 prize. Selected entries will be disseminated through the Canadian Blood Services, Science Borealis and the Centre for Blood Research online platforms and social media channels.

Good luck!!

Find out more about the competition and download the competition guidelines

If you have questions, contact the Centre for Innovation by email at centreforinnovation@blood.ca 

Presented in partnership with the Centre for Blood Research and Science Borealis. 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Funding research to improve utilization: Blood Efficiency Accelerator Award Program


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

In 2017, the Centre for Innovation established a new research funding program – the Blood Efficiency Accelerator Award Program or “BEAP”. The BEAP funds research to improve the efficient and appropriate use of blood and blood products.

Quick Facts:

  • BEAP was established in 2017 to support research projects that can improve the efficient and appropriate utilization of blood products, while maintaining the safety of the blood system
  • Applicants to BEAP must be affiliated with Canadian Blood Services or a Canadian academic program as a faculty member
  • All BEAP project teams must include one Canadian Blood Services employee
  • BEAP projects may be supported up to a maximum of $30,000 for one year

 

Why is improving the efficient and appropriate use of blood and blood products important?

The use of blood and blood products is a very common and often life-saving medical intervention. However, blood and blood products are a limited resource and can sometimes be scarce. As with any medical intervention, choosing to administer blood or blood products also involves weighing benefit to the patient against any potential risks. To maximize the benefit of blood and blood products, while ensuring patient safety, it is important to ensure blood and blood products are used correctly and appropriately.

Appropriate and efficient use of blood and blood products doesn’t just happen at the hospital bedside. The collaborative research projects supported by the BEAP may result in changes at Canadian Blood Services or Canadian hospitals at any point in the “life-to-life” continuum. That is, at any point from blood collection, to manufacturing of blood products, distribution of blood products, blood banking, and use at the hospital.

“I am proud that we are able to support the health system by facilitating research on utilization through the Blood Efficiency Accelerator Award Program. This program underscores Canadian Blood Services’ commitment to a sustainable and progressive system that ensures a safe and effective blood supply for all Canadians”, says Dr. Chantale Pambrun, director of the Centre for Innovation at Canadian Blood Services.  

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blood and blood products end to end continuum

Since the BEAP was launched, four projects have been funded. These projects address issues ranging from product quality to clinical utilization.

A team led by Dr. William Sheffield, associate director, research, at the Centre for Innovation is examining the possibility that two technologies – pathogen inactivation and red cell rejuvenation – can be combined to improve red blood cell product safety and efficacy. Dr. Maria Fernandes, associate professor at Université Laval, is leading a project team that includes investigators from Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec. Their project will assess the quality of granulocyte concentrates, a blood product collected and manufactured by Héma-Québec, to optimize their use in transfusion therapy.

Dr. Jason Acker, senior scientist at the Centre for Innovation, and project team members are investigating a non-invasive prenatal genetic test to determine the compatibility of maternal blood with the fetus’s blood. Dr. Guillaume Martel, assistant professor at University of Ottawa, is leading a project team that is examining current transfusion practices in liver surgery patients at The Ottawa Hospital. Their aim is to develop educational initiatives to reduce inappropriate transfusions.

Interested in applying for funding?

If you have a project idea and are affiliated with a Canadian academic institution as a faculty member or with Canadian Blood Services, you are eligible to apply for funding through the BEAP. Project teams can be any size; however, at least one team member must be a Canadian Blood Services employee.

Our 2019 competition opens today and applications must be submitted by January 15, 2019. If you are interested in applying, click here for more information. If you have any questions or need help identifying a team member from Canadian Blood Services, contact the Centre for Innovation by email at centreforinnovation@blood.ca.

Subscribe to the Research & Education Round Up to stay up to date on research publications and funding opportunities. 

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

Funding opportunities currently open


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Canadian Blood Services' Centre for Innovation currently has four competitive funding competitions open for applications. All close on November 30, 2018. Read on to see if you or any of your colleagues or students are eligible for these exciting opportunities!

Canadian Blood Services' Graduate Fellowship Program

The Graduate Fellowship Program provides stipend support for young investigators who want to initiate or continue training in the field of blood transfusion and transplantation science. The maximum value of each fellowship is $25,000 per annum, with an additional travel allowance of $1,000 per year. Students may be supported for up to four years. Graduate students undertaking full-time research training in a Canadian institution are eligible to apply.

Learn more about the Canadian Blood Services Graduate Fellowship Program:
Graduate Fellowship Program: Fostering the future of transfusion science research

BloodTechNet Award Program

BloodTechNet seeks to support your bright idea! Funding is available for projects that deliver innovative educational tools and resources to support the development of skills, knowledge and expertise of health professionals in the transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation communities in Canada. Applicants must be a health professional belonging to the transfusion, cellular therapy and/or transplantation communities in Canada.

Learn more about current and previously funded projects through this Program:

James Kreppner Award

This award supports research into the legal and regulatory aspects of donation, collection, storage, and use of blood, blood products, and hematopoietic stem cells; and organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The award honours James Kreppner, a lawyer and patients’ rights advocate, who was committed to blood safety and contributed greatly to Canada’s blood system. Applicants must be a Canadian legal researcher affiliated with a Canadian academic program as a faculty member.

Learn more about previous recipients:

Kenneth J. Fyke Award

This award supports health services and policy research to promote the development of evidence-based Canadian practices and policies in blood transfusion, blood stem cell transplantation, and organ and tissue transplantation for the benefit of Canadian patients. This award honours Kenneth J Fyke, one of Canada’s healthcare leaders and a world authority on healthcare management. Applicants must be Canadian researchers affiliated with a Canadian academic program related to health services or health policy or transfusion medicine, stem cell transplantation, or organ and tissue donation and transplantation medicine.

Learn more about previous recipients: A Q & A with Dr. David Allan


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Meet the Director: Dr. Chantale Pambrun


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Get to know Dr. Chantale Pambrun, Director, Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation

Previously led by Judie Leach Bennett, who  joined the executive management team as Vice-President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Dr. Chantale Pambrun took over as Director of the Centre for Innovation in December 2017. She was formerly associate director, donor and clinical services and, prior to joining us at Canadian Blood Services, she was the Medical Director of Hematopathology at a tertiary health care centre for women and children in Halifax, NS.

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Dr. Chantale Pambrun

To get to know Dr. Pambrun better, we asked her a few questions…

Tell us a little about yourself… Who are you? Where are you from?

Canada has always been my home. My husband, two children and I have lived in many cities from coast to coast. Our nomad-like existence has made us adaptable and open to new experiences. Much of what drives me in my life and in my career is related to being a positive role model to my children. Each and every day, I strive to contribute to the best of my ability, so that I may inspire them to do the same.

How long have you been with Canadian Blood Services?

I first started with Canadian Blood Services in 2016 as a medical consultant working with Dr. Mindy Goldman in Donor and Clinical Services, which later expanded into an associate medical director role with responsibilities in donor eligibility and the national immunohematology reference laboratory. Donor health is an issue I consider very important in our work and I continue to support work in this area.

Read more: Dr. Pambrun on donor health

 

Tell us about your role with the Centre for Innovation…

In my role as Director of the Centre for Innovation, I work with a team of approximately 80 individuals who each hold a unique set of skills. Collectively the group helps Canadian Blood Services prepare for the future of transfusion and transplantation medicine, all for the benefit of donors and patients. Broadly the group works on discovery research related, applied development, knowledge mobilization and education, as well as health policy and leading practice.

As director, I’m responsible for making sure the team has what they need to succeed. I am very keen on fostering collaboration within our group, across the organization and beyond to the broader science and healthcare community.

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discovery research on display during ISBT 2018

 

Before working at Canadian Blood Services, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had? 

Once upon a time, I worked at the Chrysler minivan plant in Windsor, Ontario. I spent all day installing van doors – the same tedious task, day after day. That experience taught me that I was not built for an assembly line job. I prefer the challenge of a day that has at least a few surprises and puzzles to solve.

What drew you to Canadian Blood Services originally? 

I was drawn to the organization because it provided an opportunity to do meaningful work in a field with many diverse stakeholders. I knew early on that I wouldn’t run out of things to do and that no day would ever be dull…

What do you like most about your job?

The people, the passion, and the cause. I love the diversity of what the Centre for Innovation does and what the group is able to achieve when we work together.

What do you find most exciting about your work?

I enjoy uncovering the untapped opportunities; seeing the team flourish in their day-to-day work; and challenging the status quo.

Read more: Searching for safer red blood cell bags for pediatric patients

What/who inspires you?

I am inspired by people who do what’s right, who are authentic, who are passionate and who engage those around them. 

When you’re not at work, where could we find you?

I most enjoy relaxing with my family, doing the simple things and enjoying life.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us... 

I’m a cowgirl at heart. I’ve always loved the great outdoors and love riding horses. After medical school I went on a cattle drive with my father in Montana… it was a long-time dream of ours. The simplicity of this life and the big open spaces is something I long for.

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Dr. Chantale Pambrun - leisure

Three words that best describe you:

Enthusiastic, pragmatic, and optimistic. I always try to come to any table with an open mind and try to put a positive spin on whatever the challenge…

You’re happiest when? 

When I am true to myself.

Learn more about Canadian Blood Services' Centre for Innovation and ongoing research and education initiatives


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

Research Unit: Exploring alternatives to fresh blood


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our latest Centre for Innovation ResearchUnit is a collaborative effort between Centre for Innovation adjunct scientist, Dr. Jelena Holovati, and Canadian Blood Services scientists, Dr. Donald Branch and Dr. Jason Acker.  

For patients with rare blood types, we perform cross-matching tests to match patients with donors and avoid potentially serious transfusion reactions. One such test – the monocyte monolayer assay –  has been limited in its usefulness by practical restrictions, for example, the need to obtain a fresh blood sample.

Exploring alternatives to fresh blood, the researchers developed a freezing technique to store cells isolated from blood components leftover from Canadian Blood Services' manufacturing processes.

In the assay, these cells performed as well as cells isolated from fresh blood. Using cells sourced from a product usually discarded during blood component manufacturing increases the usefulness of this assay, making it easier to get the right blood product to the right patient.

To learn more, read our ResearchUnit about this important work here.

ResearchUnits provide clear summaries of the results and impacts of research conducted at Canadian Blood Services. Written by Canadian Blood Services researchers in collaboration with the knowledge mobilization team, these summaries help disseminate research findings to facilitate informed decision-making.

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 


 

Do you suffer from FOMO?


Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Do you suffer from FOMO? Fear of missing out! Fear no more, the event page on Canadian Blood Services' professional education website has you covered!

This is your one-stop shop to learn more about local, national and international education events covering blood, plasma and transfusion, organ and tissue donation and transplantation, as well as hematopoietic stem cells. Here you’ll find a searchable and easy-to-view calendar of conferences, lectures, courses and more.

Check it out! Be THAT person – the one who never misses an abstract deadline or early bird registration rate!

And - to event planners and those in the know - please let us know if we are the ones missing out! If you would like YOUR event displayed on our calendar, please contact us

 

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Left to right: Drs. William Sheffield, Jeff Keirnan, and Mia Golder. Photo credit: CSTM 2017 photo gallery.
CSTM annual meeting

 

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poster session ISBT
ISBT 2018 poster session

 

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CBR event
Centre for Blood Research event (photo courtesy of CBR)

Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

 

A mission to Mars caps off summer at the Centre for Blood Research


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Research day celebrates the end of the Centre for Blood Research Summer Studentship Program, which is partially supported by Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation. A perennial highlight of the Centre for Blood Research academic calendar, this year’s event was inspiring and fun.

Summer students spend the sunniest months of the year working in laboratories affiliated with the Centre for Blood Research (CBR). For many of the students, this is their first opportunity to get hands-on experience in a laboratory. But doing laboratory research is only part – albeit a critical part – of the role of a scientist. Research results need to be compiled and communicated to complete any scientific endeavor.

At the CBR research day, every summer student presents an oral and a poster presentation describing their work. This opportunity is not always available to students at this level, and nicely rounds out their academic experience for the summer. Congratulations to all the CBR summer students on their enthusiastic participation in the program and their excellent presentations and posters.

 

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Poster time at the 2018 Research Day at UBC's Centre for Blood Research.

Kudos to all the CBR research day winners! And, we’re proud to note that two of whom are from labs (Devine and Pryzdial) that are affiliated with Canadian Blood Services.

Kaelin Fleming (Devine laboratory) winner of the best oral presentation for her talk “Protein biomarkers for identification of poor storing red cell concentrates”

Nima Derakhshan (Rossi laboratory) winner of the best undergraduate poster: “VEGFA in skeletal muscle regeneration: something more than an angiogenic signaling”

Bryan Lin (Pryzdial laboratory) winner of the best graduate poster: “Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Acquires and Mimics the Host Coagulation Protein Tissue Factor”

 

An out-of-this-world keynote, indeed

This year’s keynote presenter was out of this world! Originally from Montreal, Dr. Farah Alibay is an aerospace engineer with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Los Angeles. She is working on the Mars InSight mission, which launched in May this year, and will land on Mars in November. The lander carries instruments designed to study the interior of Mars.

Dr. Alibay described her role as an engineer on this project, the excitement of launch day, and her nerves as the mission hits its halfway point and landing day comes closer and closer. Most of all, in describing her journey to become an NASA engineer, she inspired the audience to pursue their dreams no matter the perceived obstacles.

 

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Dr. Farah Alibay (front row in green) with the Centre for Blood Research summer students. Photo courtesy of the Centre for Blood Research. 

As the new academic year kicks off and the summer students return to their courses, we wish them the best of luck, and hope their summer experience at the CBR will serve them well as they continue to chase their dreams, scientific or otherwise!

Thinking of becoming a summer student yourself?

The CBR Summer Studentship Program provides undergraduate students with an opportunity to get hands-on lab experience. The student’s research work is guided by a principle investigator or postdoctoral fellow, and their experience is enhanced through research skills workshops, tours of campus facilities, and complementary social events.

Visit the Centre for Blood Research website for information and application details.

 


Canadian Blood Services – Driving world-class innovation

Through discovery, development and applied research, Canadian Blood Services drives world-class innovation in blood transfusion, cellular therapy and transplantation—bringing clarity and insight to an increasingly complex healthcare future. Our dedicated research team and extended network of partners engage in exploratory and applied research to create new knowledge, inform and enhance best practices, contribute to the development of new services and technologies, and build capacity through training and collaboration. Find out more about our research impact

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services nor do they reflect the views of Health Canada or any other funding agency.

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