Stem Cells

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 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.

 

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.

 

Meet the Researcher: Dr. Jelena Holovati


Tuesday, September 04, 2018

This week, we connected with Dr. Jelena Holovati about her work as a Canadian Blood Services adjunct scientist and her role as laboratory director of the Edmonton Stem Cell Manufacturing Program.

Where do you work and what is your role?

I’m an associate professor in the department of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. I also hold Canadian Blood Services positions as a laboratory director for the Edmonton Stem Cell Manufacturing Program and as an adjunct scientist. By training, I'm a lab technologist – this background has served me really well in my current roles. 

How long have you been with Canadian Blood Services?

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Since my undergraduate years at the University of Alberta! I was first introduced to Canadian Blood Services  in 2002, as a lab technology student working on a validation project in component production. This experience led me to the graduate program, during which I was supervised by two Canadian Blood Services’ scientists, Drs. McGann and Acker. My PhD thesis focused on innovative ways to cryopreserve red blood cells and I am grateful to have been supported by a Canadian Blood Services graduate fellowship award.

After I completed my PhD, I accepted a faculty position at the University of Alberta and started focusing my academic and professional interests in the fields of transfusion and transplantation medicine. I was so happy to be invited to join Canadian Blood Services as an adjunct scientist. Now I supervise graduate students working on Canadian Blood Services’ funded projects — so in a way I feel I have come full circle!

“Seeing all the wonderful things undergraduate and graduate students end up doing after I’ve had the privilege of mentoring and supporting them, even for a short while, makes me feel like I’m contributing to the development of tomorrow’s laboratory medicine leaders and visionaries.”

Tell us about your areas of research…

My primary research focuses on investigating innovative approaches to improve the red blood cell membrane during blood bank storage. The ultimate goal is to further improve the safety and quality of red blood cells for transfusion. For example, we are currently studying how to use liposomes — small membrane-bound vesicles — to mitigate red blood cell membrane damage that occurs during storage, and investigating the effects of a rejuvenating solution on the quality of stored red blood cells.

As laboratory director of the Edmonton Stem Cell Manufacturing Program, I am involved in multiple development, validation, and quality improvement projects in the hematopoietic stem cell laboratory. For example, in March 2017, we were the first lab in Canada to implement an automated process for plasma reduction during processing of hematopoietic stem cells, a change which improved stem cell product quality and safety for the patient.

What are you working on now?

Apart from my research work, during the university semester, I’m quite busy with teaching, marking midterms and sitting on candidacy exams. As an educator in the division of the medical laboratory science at the University of Alberta, I am involved in education and training of medical laboratory science and medical undergraduate students, residents, as well as MSc and PhD students in the graduate laboratory medicine program.

Learn more about Dr. Holovati’s recent research to improve the usefulness of a laboratory assay that can help find suitable blood donors for hard-to-match patients here.

Why did you get into science?

I was always drawn to health sciences, and it was actually a course in clinical microbiology that led me to study medical laboratory technology, which was such a perfect fit for me! I love the technical and analytical aspects of the lab, but knowing that there is a direct contribution to patient care makes it even more rewarding. 

What inspires you?

My students inspire me. Continuously rediscovering medical laboratory science through their eyes is just delightful! Also, seeing all the wonderful things these undergraduate and graduate students end up doing after I’ve had the privilege of mentoring and supporting them for, even for a short while, makes me feel like I’m contributing to the development of tomorrow’s laboratory medicine leaders and visionaries.

When you’re not in the lab, where could we find you?

In a car, driving my two girls around to numerous after-school activities — it often feels like I have a part time job as their private Uber driver. Also, I recently discovered hot yoga and I’m really enjoying this practice. 

 

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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.

Unveiling the 2018 BloodTechNet awardees


Wednesday, August 08, 2018

BloodTechNet is a competitive funding program that supports projects aimed at delivering innovative educational resources for healthcare professionals in the transfusion, cellular therapy, and transplantation communities.  

Again this year, we were impressed by the quality of the applications received for the BloodTechNet competition and we look forward to seeing the educational resources that the four new projects will produce in about a year. To share our excitement, here’s a taste of what’s to come! 

Enhancing knowledge about blood groups and antibodies to prevent transfusion reactions 

The team will develop an internet-based platform to deliver curriculum about blood groups and antibodies for Canadian doctors and blood bank technologists. Dr. Matthew Yan, hematologist and transfusion medicine specialist affiliated with Canadian Blood Services, will lead this project with Drs Jacob Pendergrast and Gordon Tait (both of UHN in Toronto) as co-investigators. Read more about the project

Applying educational tools of knowledge translation to reduce the inappropriate use of plasma 

The team will follow a set of knowledge translation methodologies to bring existing guideline information to opinion leaders at large academic hospitals in Toronto, London, Hamilton and Ottawa and to co-develop solutions to change practice. Dr. Ziad Solh, transfusion medicine specialist affiliated with Western University, will lead this project and engage multiple collaborators from across the province of Ontario. Read more about the project

Transport and storage of blood products 

The team will create educational resources for clinical, laboratory and allied staff on the transport and storage of blood products. Clare O’Reilly, transfusion safety nurse at the BC Children's and Women's Health Centres will lead this project with multiple co-investigators from the province of British Columbia. Read more about the current project

We caught-up with Clare at the 2018 ISBT Congress in Toronto where she told us about the resources her team developed for nurses with her 2014 BloodTechNet award. 

 

Stem cell transplantation multimedia toolkit 

This team will expand the Stem Cell Club’s multimedia library by developing tools to support educating healthcare professional students about stem cell donation. The new online tools will include infographics, a whiteboard video and a repository of stories from patients, donors, recruiters, and transplant physicians and staff. Dr. Warren Fingrut, hematologist affiliated with the University of Toronto and founder of Stem Cell Club, will lead this project with collaborators from across Canada, including Canadian Blood Services. Read more about the project

It is inspiring to see the ideas generated by our healthcare and education partners and a privilege to help bringing them to life with the BloodTechNet funding. 

Not familiar yet with projects previously supported by BloodTechNet? 

Visit our Professional Education website to access educational resources developed for the community since 2011. 

Apply for BloodTechNet funding to bring your ideas to life. 

Through the BloodTechNet competition, Canadian Blood Services funds innovative projects aimed at delivering educational tools and resources that support the development of skills, knowledge, and expertise of health professionals in the transfusion, cellular therapy, and transplantation communities in Canada. 

Who can apply to BloodTechNet?  

Applicants must be health professionals (medical lab technologists, nurses and physicians) belonging to the transfusion, cellular therapy and/or transplantation communities in Canada. 

  • Projects must have educational goals that develop professional skills, knowledge and expertise. 

  • Projects must have a clear plan with defined goals and deliverables that will be completed within the one-year term of the award. 

  • Priority will be given to projects that are collaborative in nature and include team members from different health care professions, departments, organizations and/or jurisdictions. 

The application deadline for the 2019 competition is set for November 30, 2018. The 2019 competition guidelines and application form will be available shortly at blood.ca 

Related reading: 

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 Researcher: Dr. Jason Acker


Thursday, June 07, 2018

For this instalment of “Meet the researcher”, we met with Dr. Jason Acker, a senior research scientist at Canadian Blood Services who specializes in the manufacturing and storage of blood components.  

“What gets me up in the morning is the knowledge that through the work of my team and my collaborators, we are able to have a direct impact on the lives of patients. The technical and scientific support we provide helps the organization make critical decisions about the quality of the products that we are collecting, manufacturing and distributing.” 

~ Dr. Jason Acker, Research Scientist, Canadian Blood Services

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How long have you been with Canadian Blood Services?

As an employee, I’ve been with Canadian Blood Services for more than 15 years. I joined as an associate scientist in 2002. Before that, I worked in the Edmonton Blood Centre as an undergraduate and graduate student for almost 10 years, starting in 1992. This predates the creation of Canadian Blood Services, so I can say that I’ve been associated with the organization for more than 25 years!

What’s your role?

I am a senior research scientist with Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation and a professor in the department of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. My role is multifaceted in that I have research, development, teaching and administrative responsibilities both at Canadian Blood Services and at the University of Alberta. 

Note: Dr. Acker is the recipient of a 2018-19 Killam Professorship. We caught up with him at the International Society of Blood Transfusion congress held in Toronto in early June to ask him about this honour.

 

Where is your lab?

My research laboratory is located on the third floor of Canadian Blood Services’ Edmonton Centre.

Tell us about your area(s) of research.

My research focuses on three distinct areas:

  1. Studying how cells and tissues respond when they are stored outside the body. Our general approach involves examining the natural world to learn how plants and animals survive extreme environmental stress and then assessing the application of these adaptations for clinical medicine. This has enabled us to improve methods for storing cells and tissues for transfusion and transplantation.
  2. Understanding the many factors that influence the safety and quality of blood products in Canada. Donated blood is processed into blood components (red blood cells, platelets, plasma and plasma products) that are tested and stored before being transfused. Safety and quality may be influenced by donor factors (e.g. sex or age of the donor), how the blood is processed into components, storage times before transfusion, and ultimately how the blood products are used in the hospital. We are working to evaluate and understand these influences.
  3. Developing new diagnostic technologies. For the first 10 years of my research career at Canadian Blood Services, we were involved in developing new ways to identify blood groups and test for infectious diseases. We used the same process that is used to manufacture computer chips (microfabrication), to build “lab on a chip” microfluidics devices with miniaturized channels, pumps, valves, and detectors, which can be used to manipulate samples for testing. We initially used this technology for malaria testing of blood donors and for testing maternal blood for fetal DNA to aid in diagnosing hemolytic disease of the newborn. More recently, our “lab on a chip” technology has been expanded to additional applications including environmental monitoring, human and veterinary medicine, and food safety.

 

What are you working on now?

We are currently working with collaborators to understand how donor factors (age, sex, ethnicity, frequency of donation) and changes to donor screening affect the quality of red blood cell products. Our focus has been on understanding the biological effects that donor-associated changes have on blood components to determine if changes to donor screening, blood component manufacturing or storage can be used to enhance the safety and quality of our blood products. We are contributing to national studies linking data about donors, products and recipient outcomes. This information can inform clinical studies to better understand transfusion and blood product utilization. In addition, we are working with international partners to develop innovative tools to examine the effects of donor factors on the quality of blood cells. 

Read more about the effects of donor factors on transfusion outcome:

A major project within our group has been the development and evaluation of new synthetic compounds that can be used to control how and where ice formation occurs in cell and tissue systems that are frozen. We are using these nature-inspired compounds to help improve the processing efficiency, stability and post-thaw quality of red blood cells, platelets, stem cells and other cell and tissue therapies. We plan to expand this work to look at using these compounds to extend the storage time of complex tissues and organs.

In addition to our discovery research activities, we support the medical officers and our supply chain colleagues on various internal development projects. Currently, we are evaluating a new genotyping test that would allow us to determine a baby’s blood group from DNA present in a mother’s blood sample. This may change how prenatal testing is performed.

We are also working to optimize our practices to reduce transfusion-associated graft-versus-host disease (TA-GVHD), a rare but dangerous transfusion complication in which white blood cells from the transfused blood product begin to attack the recipient’s tissues. White blood cells are removed from blood components during manufacturing, but a small number may remain in the transfused blood product. These are normally destroyed by the recipient’s immune system, but patients who are immune-compromised are at risk of developing TA-GVHD. Currently, these patients are transfused with red blood cells that have been irradiated to inactivate white blood cells. We are examining whether irradiation is still needed after implementing red blood cell processing methods that greatly reduce the number of white blood cells in the transfused unit.

Why did you get into science?                          

Right from my early years, I have always been fascinated with puzzles. Whether they are mechanical puzzles, logical puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, or scientific/technical puzzles, I am drawn to try and understand how to solve them. This sparked my desire not only to solve tough technical problems, but also to understand the scientific basis for the solution so that I could make solving the next puzzle easier. I was naturally attracted to science as it provided the tools (the scientific method) and the knowledge that is often necessary to be able to answer the hard questions and solve the tough problems!

What inspires you?

What gets me up in the morning is the knowledge that through the work of my team and my collaborators, we are able to have a direct impact on the lives of patients. The technical and scientific support we provide helps the organization make critical decisions about the quality of the products that we are collecting, manufacturing and distributing. Our basic discovery work can translate into new processes, technologies or commercial products. Unlike an artist whose impact may not be realized until late in life or even well after death, as a research scientist with Canadian Blood Services we can look back at our accomplishments every year and see how we have had the opportunity to have an impact on the lives of Canadians.

I also gain great inspiration from working with really smart, engaged and motivated students and colleagues.  There is nothing more infectious than the energy that comes from interacting with a diverse team of people with broad experiences and knowledge that are collectively working together to solve hard problems.

What do you find most exciting about your work?

The unknown. As the old saying goes, “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” To use the puzzle analogy, often we find ourselves with a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle and have no idea what the final picture should look like. This can be both exciting, as you put together the pieces and slowly develop a better idea of what the truth looks like, and terrifying, because there is no guarantee that you will be able to put all the pieces together. Sometimes we have to abandon the puzzle and come back to it after we learn more about how some of the pieces might fit together. Often we are surprised by what we learn in the process. But the feeling you get from putting two pieces of the puzzle together… that is really exciting. 

What work are you most proud of?

Through our research we have been able to develop better methods to evaluate the impact that donor factors, manufacturing and storage have on the quality of blood products and patient outcomes. This has informed policies and practices around the appropriate use of blood products for specific patient groups in Canada and around the world, and has led to the development of specialized products for use in transfusion and transplantation medicine. I am very proud to have the opportunity to work with an outstanding team of trainees, scientific and medical colleagues, industry partners and Canadian Blood Services staff (supply chain, IT and quality control) on projects to support innovative changes in transfusion medicine.

Read more about manufacturing methods that affect quality:

ResearchUnit: Data mining: Digging for deeper understanding of blood components and transfusion outcomes

RED blog post: How it’s made matters: Manufacturing method linked to cellular damage in red blood cells

When you’re not in the lab where could we find you?

Just look up…as a pilot and chief flying instructor at my local soaring club, I spend my weekends either teaching people how to fly gliders or heading out on my own across the Alberta prairies for a “dance amongst the clouds”. There is no greater joy than silently soaring under a puffy cumulus cloud with a hawk off your wing tip! I’ve been flying airplanes and teaching people to fly for 30 years and this year I had the privilege of seeing my 16-year-old daughter fly solo for the first time.

 

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

Visit our Funded Research Projects page to view projects funded by Canadian Blood Services.

 

Nominations now open for the 2018 Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award


Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Updated April 18, 2018: This competition is now closed. Check back next year to find out when the next nomination opens. 

Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the blood system in Canada?  

Who can be nominated? 

Recipients of the Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award are individuals whose landmark contributions are recognized as both extraordinary and world class in the field of transfusion or transplantation medicine, stem cell or cord blood research in Canada and/or abroad.

To be nominated for the Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award, an individual must have contributed significantly to improving the safety and/or quality of blood, blood products, stem cells and/or cord blood or has made noteworthy improvements or advances in transfusion or transplantation medicine practice. Their record of publication should be of significance and their professional reputation should be aligned with the goals and reputation of Canadian Blood Services, reflecting a quality culture driven by excellence.

The award will be presented in September in Ottawa at the 19th annual national Honouring Our Lifeblood event where we honour our donors, volunteers, peer recruiters and partners from across the country and across our products for their outstanding dedication and achievements.

 

What's the nomination process?

Nomination requirements

  • Provide a short introduction and summary in 150 words or less of the nominee’s contribution to improving the safety and/or quality of blood, blood products or stem cells, or contribution to advances in transfusion medicine practice.
  • Present a brief biography including academic, research, clinical and administrative positions, awards or recognitions.
  • Outline how the work of the nominee is set apart from the work of others in the field.
  • Provide a nominee’s full current curriculum vitae, and contact information for the nominee including full name, mailing address, telephone number(s) and email address.
  • Provide name and contact information for the nominator(s).

Note: Candidates should be unaware that they have been nominated for this award.

Submit nominations in writing to the address below: 

By mail:
Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award Nominating Committee
c/o Dr. Dana Devine, Chief Scientist
Canadian Blood Services
1800 Alta Vista Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 4J5

By email: 
centreforinnovation@blood.ca   

 

Submission deadline: March 30, 2018

The nominee selected to attend the event will be notified by the office of the Chief Scientist by June 25, 2018.

Past honourees

The Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award came into existence in 2002. Seventeen outstanding individuals have been since received the award including the following: 

Nancy Heddle, 2017

Dr. David Lillicrap, 2016

Dr. Bruce McManus, 2015

Dr. Gershon Growe, 2014

Dr. John Dossetor, 2013

The Canadian Hemophilia Society, 2013

Dr. Celso Bianco, 2012

Dr. Allen Eaves and Dr. Connie Eaves, 2011

Dr. Victor Blanchette, 2010

Dr. Gail Rock, 2009

Mr. Justice Horace Krever, 2008

Dr. Hans Messner, 2007

Dr. John Freedman, 2006

Dr. Peter Pinkerton, 2004

Dr. Morris A. Blajchman, 2003

Ms. Marie Cutbush Crookston, 2002

Dr. John Bowman, 2002

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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.

Looking back on 2017: Research highlights


Monday, January 01, 2018

In 2017, we published numerous research stories, here are a few of our favourites. 

Natural killers: when cells go wrong — New research reveals insights into causes of FNAIT

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A new study by Centre for Innovation scientist Dr. Heyu Ni and his research team at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto reveals insights into causes of miscarriage for some women... Read more

 

Calculating impacts of change

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Our in-house engineer, John Blake, did some nifty number crunching and estimated that an eligibility change would mean about 35,000 fewer donations collected in a year — hence a push for new donors to step forward to help fill the gap...Read more 

 

Developing safer drugs for heart attack and stroke patients

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Researchers at Canadian Blood Services are working on developing new drugs that don’t have these side effects but still provide effective treatment.  Two of our research projects are highlighted... Read more

 

International researchers collaborate to understand trends in blood product use

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Researchers at our Centre for Innovation are working with international colleagues to better understand the patterns of red blood cell distribution and use. Studies like these can help inform health-care providers worldwide about the optimal donor collection strategy and the distribution and use of O-negative blood products, reducing the risk of shortages in the future... Read more

 

Unique fellowship brings academic expertise to an organizational challenge

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Dr. Jennie Haw, a sociologist whose dissertation was on private cord blood banking in Canada, has just begun a two-year CIHR Health System Impact Fellowship (HSIF) at Canadian Blood Services... Read more

 

Thanks for reading! Please join us in 2018 for even more research, education and discovery stories. Let us know what you'd like to read about in the comments below. 


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.

The opinions reflected in this post are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Canadian Blood Services.

Looking back on 2017: Our top-five most-read stories


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

It's hard to believe that 2017 is almost over. As we prepare for 2018, we take a look back on our most-read research, education and discovery stories from the past year. 

#5 Encouraging meaningful careers in STEM – Part 1

 

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To encourage more young people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and in honour of Ada Lovelace Day 2017, we were pleased to share profiles of women in these essential fields... Read more

 

#4 Kidney Paired Donation – powerful program reaches significant milestone

 

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More than 500 kidney transplants have occurred across Canada through the Kidney Paired Donation program. These are transplants that may otherwise have not occurred. The Kidney Paired Donation program — launched in 2009 — is a perfect example of how interprovincial health systems work together to forge success beyond provincial borders and improve access to transplants for patients... Read more

 

#3 Dr. Chantale Pambrun explains the importance of iron wellness

 

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Iron is an essential element for producing hemoglobin (the molecule that helps transport oxygen around your body). To promote donor health, we recently made changes to donor eligibility based on new information our researchers have learned about mitigating iron deficiency in blood donors...Read more

 

#2 International meeting sets research agenda for changing eligibility for MSM blood donors

 

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A two-day meeting held January 2017 brought together national and international stakeholders to identify research priorities for closing knowledge gaps that impact donor eligibility for men who have sex with men...Read more

[Note: Stay tuned to this space for a program update coming early 2018.]

#1 Paying it forward: Why we need YOU to give blood

 

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This year we were delighted to host a series of posts by Dr. Jeannie Callum. Together these posts were by far the most read and arguably most engaging posts published on RED in 2017. The top two most-read of Dr. Callum’s six entries are captioned below... Read more

In health care, we take blood donation and transfusion for granted. We don’t do it on purpose, but it’s such a common intervention that we don’t think much about it. Actually, a remarkable 10 per cent of patients who get hospitalized receive a blood transfusion...

Science is just starting to grasp the fact that certain individuals make safer blood donors... 

 

Our goal each year is to share our research, education and discovery stories and introduce readers to the fascinating people behind our work in transfusion and transplantation science and medicine. 

We look forward to a 2018 filled with even more exciting research, education and discovery. Let us know what you want to read about in the comments below.

Happy New Year!

 


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.

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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