November 14, 2013 marked the 7th Annual Earl W. Davie Symposium, hosted by the CBR and sponsored by Novo Nordisk. It was a memorable event, hosted in the historic old Bank of Montreal building in downtown Vancouver, with over 180 attendees, a range of entertaining and stimulating speakers, excellent posters, delicious food and fine wine.
Arguably, one of the major discoveries in medicine in the latter half of the 20th century was made by Dr. Earl Davie who, in 1964, proposed the waterfall sequence for blood clotting. Although our understanding of the biochemical events surrounding coagulation has evolved since then, the major concepts have been and continue to be the basis for currently used diagnostic tests and therapies, in coagulation and in other diseases. The impact of Dr. Davie’s work is indeed, immeasurable, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to honour him each year with this annual symposium that carries his name.
We were honoured this year to have the first presentation of the symposium given by Dr. Edmond Fischer, from the University of Washington and a longtime friend and colleague of Dr. Davie. Dr. Fischer, with Dr. Ed Krebs, received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1992 for their discovery of reversible protein phosphorylation. He provided a wonderful, entertaining, informative and insightful walk through history for us.
The symposium this year featured two keynote speakers, Dr. Barry Coller from Rockefeller University in New York, and Dr. Shaun Coughlin from the University of California in San Francisco. Both provided remarkable insights into signaling pathways relevant to the hemostatic system, but from entirely unique perspectives. The research team Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle joined us once again, and we were happy to have Dr. David Motto, a recent recruit to Puget Sound, to share some novel observations, particularly on the role of red blood cells in coagulation, and how this is being investigated using mouse models. Dr. Margaret Rand from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and a longtime friend of the CBR, described the mechanisms by which platelet membranes and phospholipids regulate coagulant responses, while Dr. Sara Israels from the University of Manitoba, provided new knowledge about platelets and their function in development and in the neonate. As always, the day was marked by contributions from our own membership. Dr. Christian Kastrup from the Michael Smith Labs,gave an update on several of his creative and intriguing approaches to modulate the coagulation system. And Dana Kyluik-Price, Jonathan Foley and Eric Ouellett rounded out the day with talks on immunocamouflaging red cell antigens, how polyphosphates regulate complement, and new approaches to regulate proteases usings aptamers.
A CBR symposium wouldn’t be complete without the ever-popular shot-gun poster talks by our many students and staff. These were, as always, a big hit and set the stage for stimulating discussions at the poster sessions.
We are all highly appreciative of the many people at the CBR who helped to make this event a great success. Their efforts go well beyond their official responsibilities and we thank them!
Dr. Davie and his wife Anita, are already planning their next trip to Vancouver for November 2014! And that means we have to start getting ready!!