Since its inauguration in 2007, I have had the pleasure of attending almost all Earl W. Davie Symposia. Both this event and the annual Norman Bethune Symposium are cornerstones of the academic calendar at the , a multidisciplinary biomedical research institute in Vancouver, BC, which conducts innovative research in blood and blood-related processes.
Dr. Davie, in whose honour this symposium is held, is truly a giant in the world of biochemistry and blood coagulation. His research to understand the proteins involved in blood coagulation led him to be one of the first scientists to . This work was published in a seminal paper in the journal Science in 1964. Dr. Davie’s work in the field continued and his contributions to advancing understanding of blood clotting, disorders related to clotting (e.g. hemophilia) and to developing therapies are immense.
Despite a career spanning seven decades it seems Dr. Davie’s interest in the field of protein biochemistry and blood coagulation has not waned. He is a member of the US National Academy of Science and a at the University of Washington. The now 92-year-old has attended almost all the symposia held in his honour, making the journey from Seattle to Vancouver. He missed the 2018 symposium due to ill health, so it was especially wonderful to see him in Vancouver this year.
The lineup of presenters for the 2019 symposium was impressive. To read a more detailed account of the presentations, please visit the Centre for Blood Research's blog.
My highlights of the 2019 symposium included the talk by Naiman-Vickars Professorship. Dr. Lillicrap began with some historical perspectives on hemophilia therapy. Advances over the past decades mean therapies for hemophilia are safe and generally effective, but there are drawbacks – current treatments are inconvenient, can cause immune reactions, and are expensive and not accessible to everyone. Dr. Lillicrap described ongoing innovations in this field, including gene therapy, cellular therapy and engineering approaches, which are heralding several promising new and improved therapies - the future of hemophilia care. (Queen’s University), recipient of the first-ever
(Harvard) presentation on the production of platelets was fascinating. Platelets are small cellular fragments that are central to blood clotting. Dr. Italiano’s work to understand how platelets are produced in the body is informing efforts (with the company ) to produce functional bio-engineered human platelets outside the body.
My final highlight was (UNC Chapel Hill) presentation about coagulation defects associated with cancer. Dr. Mackman explained that cancer patients are at a 4- to 7-fold increased risk of thrombosis – inappropriate clotting in the blood vessels that can lead to pulmonary embolism, heart attacks, or stroke. Dr. Mackman is working to understand why this is the case and look for markers that could be used to determine which patients are most at risk.
What is always evident at this symposium is the continued impact of Dr. Davie’s work on the field. Every year, we hear how Dr. Davie’s research and discoveries remain relevant and continue to inform the work of other experts as they try to answer critical questions in coagulation and improve therapies for patients. This, to me, is the ultimate testament to the remarkable body of work generated by Dr. Davie over the course of his career.
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.
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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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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.
Drs. Earl W. Davie, Ross T. MacGillivray and Edmond H. Fischer at the 2017 Earl W. Davie Symposium Vancouver. Read all about this years event and find out more about the inspiration behind it.
On April 10th, 2018, the Centre for Blood Research presented its 8th Annual Norman Bethune Symposium. This event honours Canadian physician, Dr. Norman Bethune, who in the 1930s spearheaded the implementation of the earliest practical mobile blood collection and distribution systems. During his...