Countdown to CSTM 2024: A return to the “City of Bridges”

Thursday, May 16, 2024 Dr. Bill Sheffield

The Canadian Society for Transfusion Medicine (CSTM) annual conference, held in partnership with Canadian Blood Services and Héma-Québec, is taking place May 23-26 in Saskatoon. Each year, the CSTM conference provides opportunity for health-care professionals in transfusion medicine to share knowledge, learn about recent advancements in transfusion medicine, and connect with colleagues.

In this third post in a series of blogs counting down to CSTM 2024, Dr. William (Bill) Sheffield shares what he’s looking forward to about the conference. 

Dr Bill Sheffield in the overpass
Dr. Sheffield is a Canadian Blood Services senior scientist based in Hamilton, ON.

How will you be contributing to CSTM 2024?

I will be an attendee at CSTM 2024, and I have also been contributing to the overall Canadian Blood Services effort by participating as a member of the Research Day planning committee. Research Day, which overlaps with the first day of the CSTM conference, is an event specifically for members of Canadian Blood Services research and education network.

It has been a pleasure to see newer members of our department step up to contribute to these events this year, too. My graduate student, Sangavi Sivananthan (who is a recipient of Canadian Blood Services’ Graduate Fellowship Program) will be presenting some of her doctoral research through a poster at CSTM and a 3-minute oral presentation at Research Day. In particular, she’ll be presenting on her efforts to make a longer-lived version of C1 esterase inhibitor, a plasma protein product that Canadian Blood Services distributes to Canadian hospitals.

Spotlight on Canadian Blood Services trainee research with PhD candidate, Sangavi Sivananthan: 

Sangavi standing in front of a signage
Sangavi, pictured in 2023 attending a conference in Montreal.​​​​​

What will you be presenting on?  

I'm thrilled to share my work on extending the circulating lifespan— that is, the lifespan after injection—of C1-esterase inhibitor at CSTM. C1-esterase inhibitor is a protein that can be deficient in conditions like hereditary angioedema, which causes individuals to experience severe swelling. The protein itself has been widely studied, but increasing its lifespan is emerging research.  

Why is this research important?  

While medications are available to mimic the function of C1-esterase inhibitor, the problem is that they are expensive and/or have a short half-life. The goal of increasing the C1-esterase inhibitor lifespan is to create a therapeutic agent that will be helpful for prophylactic use and potentially less costly to manufacture. I'm excited that my research can contribute to advancements in medical science that could potentially improve the lives of patients and I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to engage with fellow researchers, gain insights, and foster connections that will further propel my journey as a trainee in the field! 

What are you most looking forward to about attending CSTM 2024? 

I look forward to interacting with other scientists and trainees at CSTM, which is always my favourite part of the conference. The other thing I would like to mention is that CSTM 1999 was held in Saskatoon – known as the “City of Bridges” – before Dr. Dana Devine, former Canadian Blood Services chief scientist and founding executive director of research and development, had been hired. That was really in the early days for research and education at Canadian Blood Services, and as a result CSTM 1999 was not as well attended as it should have been. We are all looking forward to ensuring better engagement at CSTM 2024! 

Why do you think it is important to share knowledge & research at CSTM 2024? 

CSTM 2024 is an important conference for Canadian Blood Services’ research and education network because of the Canadian context which provides an opportunity to meet players in the network who are much harder to find at AABB or ISBT, which are much larger, international meetings. This includes our colleagues at Héma-Québec. 

The theme for CSTM 2024 is “Bridging transfusion communities”. Visit the CSTM website for more information about the conference and follow along with #cstm_scmt as it gets underway in May!  

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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