Norman Bethune Symposium

Dr. (Henry) Norman Bethune (1890-­1939) was a Canadian physician who in the 1930s spearheaded the implementation of the first practical mobile blood collection and distribution system and promoted universal access to health care. This symposium, held in his honour, is an informative and entertaining event with participation of a full range of scientists and clinicians at all levels of training.

Read more about Norman Bethune in our original post.




REGISTER NOW: The 11th Annual Norman Bethune Symposium will take place on Wednesday April 6th, 2022.

Register for the Symposium.

We anticipate that the symposium will be held in a hybrid format, with opportunities to join virtually or in-person.



Looking to share your research and hone your presentation skills? Submit an abstract (250 words maximum) to be considered for an ORAL TALK or POSTER PRESENTATION at the symposium!

  • Open to undergraduate students, graduate trainees, postdoctoral fellows, clinical fellows, and research associates
  • Both in-person and virtual presentation opportunities for oral talk; in-person opportunity for poster presentation
  • Abstract submission deadline: Friday Mar. 4, 2022, at 5 PM PT


The 10th Annual Norman Bethune Symposium took place on Tuesday May 18, 2021, from 8:00AM – 3:45PM PT via Zoom.


The CBR would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of 2021 Norman Bethune Symposium.


Past Symposia:

2021 Program -

  • A recording of the symposium is available here.


Plenary Speakers:

  • Dr. Daniele Prati, Milan, “ABO blood type and susceptibility to SARS-CoV -2 infection”
  • Dr. Rebecca Cardigan, UK, “The quest for ABO Universal Plasma”
  • Andy An, UBC, “Effects of S100A9 on macrophage cellular reprogramming in the context of sepsis”
  • Emel Islamzada, UBC, “Deformability Signatures and Aging Curves of Donor RBCs in Standard Blood Bags and Their Segments”
  • Massimo Cau, UBC, “Minimally Invasive Delivery of CounterFlow Hemostatic Powder can Manage Non-Compressible Truncal Hemorrhage in Swine”
  • Dr. Jeannie Callum, Queen’s University, “Use of 4-Factor PCC in Cardiac Surgery the FARES Study”
  • Dr. Richard Francis, Columbia University, “The effects of donor glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency on the red blood cell storage lesion”
  • Dr. Basit Yousuf, Canadian Blood Services, “Transcriptomic analyses reveal strain-dependent enhanced capsule and biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus grown in platelet concentrates”
  • Nancy Yang, UBC, “The impact of chronic and latent viral infections on aging in people living with HIV”
  • Liliana Jimenez, UBC, “Platelet Factor 4 (PF4); potential biomarker for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)”
  • Dr. Andre Cap, US Army, San Antonio, “Transfusion and beyond: transformational change in the care of massive hemorrhage”
  • Dr. Marianne Nellis , Weill Cornell Medical College, “Platelet Storage Age and Clinical Outcomes in Critically Ill Children”
  • Sharon Bulger (Vancouver) “Cameron’s Story”
  • Dr. Meghan Delaney, National Children's Hospital, Washington DC, “Access to Safe Blood Transfusion in Low and Middle Income Nations”
  • Wenjing Xia, UBC, “The role of type 2 Innate lymphoid cells in tumour immunity”
  • Dr. Alex Leatherdale, UBC, “Persistently elevated complement alternative pathway biomarkers in COVID-19 correlated with hypoxemia and predict in-hospital mortality”
  • Nabil Ali-Mohamad, UBC, “Extra-terrestrial soils activate coagulation factor XII and manage bleeding in a porcine model of liver laceration: Implications for hemorrhage control during space exploration”
  • Dr. Mypinder Sekhon and Dr. Ryan Hoiland, VGH ICU & Neurointensivist, “Impact of blood transfusion on cerebral blood flow regulation in experimental and pathological brain hypoxia in humans”


Virtual Poster Presenters 2021:

Symposium presenters shared a poster during the live virtual poster session at the event, and most also prepared video poster pitches that shared their research topics in 1.5 minutes or less. View the virtual posters and video poster pitches.

  • Amy Wong Strilchuk, UBC, "Transient gene therapy to decrease the stability of thrombi for coagulopathy and thrombosis"
  • Annisa Siu, McMaster University, "Survey of Canadian Transplant Surgeons Concerning Antemortem Heparin in Deceased Liver and Kidney Donation"
  • Calem Kenward, UBC, "Characterizing the Structure and Dynamics of the Receptor Binding Domain of Spike Protein from SARS-CoV-2 Variants"
  • Erik Lamoureux, UBC, "Predicting Red Blood Cell Deformability from Microscopy Images Using Deep Learning"
  • Haisle Moon, UBC, "Towards Universal Blood – Enzymatic Conversion of Blood Group A Antigens"
  • Jerry Leung, UBC, "Enhancing Transfusable Platelets Using mRNA Therapy to Produce Exogenous Proteins"
  • Lih Jiin Juang, UBC, "Coagulation factor XII contributes to hemostasis when activated by soil in wounds"
  • Loïc Caloren, UBC, "Low frequency mitochondrial DNA mutation hotspots in blood and placenta
  • Marie-Soleil Smith, UBC, "High Concordance Between Smoking Self-Report and Plasma Cotinine in Two Canadian Cohorts"
  • Mostafa Hamada, McMaster University, "Identification of a Novel Anti-Antithrombin RNA Aptamer"
  • Samuel Fleury, Montreal Heart Institute, Evidence of the p75 pan-neurotrophic receptor in platelets and comparison to the isoform found in brain"
  • Wayne Zhao, UBC, An in vitro Transfusion Model to Assess Cold-stored Platelets in Trauma"
  • William Gibson, UBC, ACE2 Coding Variants May Function As An X-linked Risk Factor For Covid-19 Severity
  • William Yip, UBC, "Depletion of SCFA-fermenting Gut Bacteria Alters the Epigenome of Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells"


The CBR would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of 2021 Norman Bethune Symposium.

2020 Program -

  • You can view the recording of the symposium here.

Plenary Speakers:

  • Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services “Disruptions and opportunity: blood systems in a post-COVID era"
  • Dr. Karen Nelson, Bloodworks Northwest, Seattle, “Transfusion related immunomodulation: effects of blood product irradiation and leukoreduction”
  • Dr. Nareg Roubinian, Kaiser Permanente Division of Research, "Blood donorcomponent-recipient linkages and RBC transfusion efficacy outcomes“
  • Erik Lamoureux, UBC, "Red blood cell deformability classification using deep learning"
  • Niloy Chatterjee, University of Calcutta, "COVID-19: Why blood matters in this current pandemic"
  • Amy Wong Strilchuk, UBC, "Transient gene therapies to decrease the stability of thrombi for coagulopathy and thrombosis"
  • Dr. Karina Yazdanbakhsh, NY Blood Center, NY, “Transfusion immunology and sickle cell disease”
  • Dr. Mel Krajden, Pathology, UBC, “Something COVID-19”
  • Maria-Elizabeth Baeva, UBC, "Are eyes more than just windows to the soul? Exploring the link between ocular pathology and Alzheimer's disease"
  • Olga Mykhailova, Canadian Blood Services, "Donor's sex affects the hypothermic storage lesion in subpopulation of young and old RBCs"
  • Wenhui Li, University of Alberta, "The role of donor sex on the percentage of CD71 erythroid cells in the whole blood"
  • Dr. Michelle Zeller, McMaster University, Hamilton, “Sex & Age: Donor characteristic impact on recipient outcomes"
  • Dr. Jerry Teitel, St Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, "Acquired hemophilia: newer insights into a rare and threatening disease“
  • Marine Theret, UBC, "The role of TGF-β-activated kinase 1 in MSCs, a key modulator of the inflammatory environment"
  • Keiko Patterson, UBC, "Status Report: Nepal Sickle Cell Project 2015 - 2020"
  • Dr. Martin Schreiber, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, “Adjunctive therapies to transfusion for trauma-induced bleeding"
  • Dr. Hongshen Ma, CBR, UBC, “Cell deformability as a potential biomarker for the quality of donated red blood cells”

Twitter Research Showcase Presenters 2020

See the presenters' Tweet threads and learn more about the Twitter Research Showcase here.

Presenter (Twitter handle) Research Showcase Title
Maria-Elizabeth Baeva (@Maria_the_Bae) Are eyes more than just windows to the soul? Exploring the link between ocular pathology and Alzheimer's disease.
Rachel Dunn (@RachelD66632018) DNA sequencing with molecular barcoding to uncover low frequency mitochondrial DNA mutations
Mona Khorshidfar (@Mona95480574) Quality measurements of apheresis platelet concentrates from donors whose platelets repeatedly show low pH over storage
Jerry Leung (@JerryL_NP) Using Lipid Nanoparticles to Create Designer Platelets
Wenhui Li (@LiWenhui_) The role of donor sex on the presence of CD71 erythroid cells in the whole blood
Bronwyn Lyons (@blyons619) The type 3 secretion system: a pathogenic bacterial nanomachine
Marie-Soleil Smith (@MarieSunSmith) Concordance between plasma cotinine concentration and smoking self-reporting in two CARMA cohort studies
Amy Wong Strilchuk (@itsAmylase) Transient gene therapy to prevent thrombosis

The CBR would like to thank the following sponsors for their generous support of 2020 Norman Bethune Symposium.

2019 Program -

  • Below you can view the videos from the presentations:
Norman Bethune Symposium - Morning - Part 1
Norman Bethune Symposium - Morning - Part 2
Norman Bethune Symposium - Afternoon - Part 1
Norman Bethune Symposium - Afternoon - Part 2

Plenary Speakers:

  • Richard M. Kaufman, MD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, “Plateletpheresis-associated lymphopenia in frequent platelet donors”
  • Angelo d'Alessandro, PhD, U of Colorado “Red Blood Cell Storage: from Omics Studies to Personalized Transfusion Medicine”
  • Kelsey Johnson, PhD Candidate, UBC, “Paid plasma: the ethical debate”
  • Chris Overall, PhD, UBC, “Redeployment of a Potent MALT1 Inhibitor as a Molecular Corrector that Rescues Lymphocyte Mutant MALT1 Activity and Functions in an
    Immunodeficient Patient”
  • Anirban Sen Gupta, PhD, Case Western Reserve U., “Platelet-inspired nanotechnologies for hemostasis and drug delivery applications”
  • Georgina Butler, PhD, UBC, “The Box”
  • Jeannie Callum, MD, U of Toronto “Research in advancing hemostasis and hemorrhage control: time to leave the land of components?"
  • Mitchell Cohen, MD, University of Colorado, “Translational approaches to Acute Traumatic
    Coagulopathy: Clinical observations, translational research and precision medicine for trauma resuscitation”
  • Peter Rahfeld, PhD, UBC, “Discovery of new enzymes for universal donor blood production”
  • Aaron Tobian, MD, PhD, Johns Hopkins, “Red Blood Cell Transfusion: Risks, Recommendations and Temporal Trends”
  • Robin Turner, PhD, UBC, “Assessing the condition of stored RBCs within sealed blood bags using Raman spectroscopy”

2018 Program

  • Below you can view the videos from the presentations:
Norman Bethune Symposium - Morning-Part 1
Norman Bethune Symposium - Morning - Part 2
  • The pictures are here.

Plenary Speakers:

  • Jim Bussel, MD Cornell U. “Thrombopoietic agents & IVIG in management of thrombocytopenia”
  • Jose Cancelas, MD, PhD, U of Cincinnati “Cold platelet storage lesion and prevention methods”
  • Yulia Lin, MD, U of Toronto “Training the next generation of transfusion prescribers”
  • Andrew Shih, MD, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, “The AB plasma appropriateness index as a tool for improved AB plasma transfusion practice”
  • Anthony Hsieh, CBR, UBC, “Shorter cell subset telomeres in HIV slow progressor women than in HIV non-slow progressor women”
  • Andrew Beckett, MD, Lieutenant-Colonel, McGill U “Bethune’s Ghost on the Battlefield: Norman Bethune and his influence on current combat casualty care”
  • Peter Zandstra, PhD, UBC “Engineering blood development”
  • Steven Spitalnik, MD, Columbia U Medical Center “Making better RBC donors”
  • Colleen Fitzpatrick, “A patient’s perspective”
  • Celina Montemayor Garcia, MD, PhD, NIH, Bethesda, “Next generation sequencing for red blood cell antigens”
  • James Zimring, MD, PhD, Bloodworks Northwest, "Metabolomics of platelet storage“
  • Marco Marra, PhD, UBC, “Whole genome analysis to support cancer treatment decision making: BC Cancer Personalized Oncogenomics (POG) Project”

2017 Program

  • Below you can view the videos from the presentations:
Norman Bethune Symposium - Morning - Part 1
Norman Bethune Symposium - Morning - Part 2
Norman Bethune Symposium - Afternoon

Plenary Speakers: 

  • Peter Newman, PhD, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, “CRISPR-mediated generation of antigenically-distinct platelet progenitors from human iPS cells”
  • Heather Pidcoke, MD, PhD, Terumo BCT, “Refrigerated (4°C) Platelets: New Opportunities for Improving the Care of Bleeding Patients”
  • Shibani Pati, MD, PhD, Blood Systems Research Institute, “Regulation of Organ Injury in Trauma and Critical Care Medicine by Plasma and Platelet Transfusion”
  • Hugh Kim, DMD, PhD, FRCD(C), UBC, “Platelet signaling from an oral health perspective”
  • Mohandas Narla, DSc, New York Blood Centre, “Insights into Erythropoiesis and Red Cell Biology relevant to Transfusion Medicine”
  • James Piret, ScD, FCIC, UBC, “Raman Spectroscopy as a Process Analytical Technology for Cellular Therapy Applications”
  • Jean Wang, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, “A Social History of Transfusion Medicine”
  • Krista Klokeid, “Transfusion medicine through the eyes of a recipient”
  • Jacqueline Trudeau, MD, PhD, Vancouver General Hospital, “Clinical Experience with Implementation of a Laboratory Based Hospital Wide ROTEM program”
  • Mark Yazer, MD, University of Pittsburgh, “Whole blood for civilian trauma resuscitation: a new idea or back to the basics?”
  • Dana Devine, PhD, UBC, "Future of Transfusion Medicine”

2016 Program

Plenary Speakers: 

  • Dr. Claudia S. Cohn, University of Minnesota, “Autologous platelet rich plasma: evidence for its therapeutic benefit”
  • Dr. Christopher Silliman, University of Colorado Denver, “Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI): novel concepts and methods of mitigation"
  • Dr. Michael Busch, Blood Systems Research Institute and University of California San Francisco, "Zika virus and other arboviral threats to the blood supply”
  • Dr. Michaël Chasse, Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, "What we can learn about transfusion from big data bases”
  • Dr. Eldad Hod,  Columbia University Medical Center, “Potential harmful effects of RBC transfusion: after RECESS and ABLE”
  • Dr. Jason Sutherland, UBC, “Funding healthcare in Canada: the pitfalls and opportunities”
  • Dr. Erik Vu, Vancouver General Hospital, "BCEHS paramedic out-of-hospital blood program"
  • Aidan Chin, Champion Child Ambassador for BC Children’s Hospital, "Childhood Cancer Survivor" 
  • Dr. William Sheffield, Canadian Blood Services and McMaster University, "Controlling bleeding via transfusion of plasma or factor concentrates in animal models"

2015 Program

Plenary Speakers: 

  • Dr. Steven Deeks, UC San Francisco "HIV Cure: Are we Making Progress or Just A Lot of Noise?"
  • Dr. Priscilla Hsue, UC San Francisco "HIV, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Disease"
  • Dr. Deborah Money, UBC "Prevention of vertical transmission of HIV; successess and remaining challenges"
  • Dr. Richard Harrigan, UBC "Personalized therapeutic approaches for HIV"
  • Dr. Hélène Côté, UBC "Accelerated cellular aging in HIV"
  • Dr. Victor Blanchette, University of Toronto "Childhood Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP): Unanswered Questions"
  • Dr. Patrick Provost, Université Laval "Platelet and HIV-1-derived microRNAs"
  • Dr. Shannon Meeks, Emory University "Hemophilia A: moving towards individualized treatment of
    patients with inhibitors"
  • Dr. Georges-Etiénne Rivard, University of Montreal "Quebec platelet disorder"

2014 Program

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 | Simon Fraser University Segal Building, 500 Granville St., Vancouver, BC

Below, you can view the videos from the presentations:
Norman Bethune Symposium - Apr. 9, 2014 | Part I

  • 0:00:00 – 0:02:17 | Dr. Ed Conway, Opening Remarks
  • 0:02:18 – 00:04:39 | Dr. Shannon Jackson, Morning Session Chair
  • 0:04:40 – 0:26:32 | Dr. Mohammed Abuhaleeqa “Case Reports”
  • 0:28:54 – 1:19:00 | Dr. Man-Chiu Poon “Hemophilia in China – New Directions”
  • 1:20:40 – 1:44:36 | Dr. Gerry Growe  “Reflections on Hemophilia care in BC”
  • 1:46:50 – 1:58:04 | Mr. Rick Crook “Experiences with Hemophilia”
  • 1:59:35 – 2:17:30 | Shot-gun Poster Presentations

Norman Bethune Symposium - Apr. 9, 2014 | Part II

  • 0:01:45 – 0:42:47 | Dr. David Lillicrap “Hemophilia – the next generation”

Norman Bethune Symposium - Apr. 9, 2014 | Part III

  • 0:00:30 – 0:01:45 | Dr. Mark Scott, Afternoon Session Chair
  • 0:01:46 – 0:29:30 | Mr. Chris Arena “A life-time of Experiences with Ig”
  • 0:31:08 – 01:08:10 | Dr. Don Branch “IVIG – How does it work”
  • 01:09:20 – 1:48:37 | Dr. Cory Toth “IVIG in Neurology ”

Norman Bethune Symposium - Apr. 9, 2014 | Part IV

  • 0:01:24 – 0:48:49 | Dr. Frans Kuypers “The Dysfunctional Red Blood Cell Membrane in Hemoglobinopathies”
  • 0:48:52 – 1:32:30 | Dr. Mark Scott “The Immunologically ‘Invisible’ RBCs”
  • 1:33:05 – 1:48:20 | Dr. Musa Al Zahrani “Baffling cases in the blood bank”
  • 1:49:02 – 2:07:45 | Dr. Natalie Blaszczyk “Baffling cases in the blood bank”

Plenary Speakers: 

  • Dr. Man-Chiu Poon, MD, University of Calgary, "Hemophilia in China - New Directions"
  • Dr. David Lillicrap, MD, Queen's University, "Hemophilia - the Next Generation"
  • Chris Arena "A Lifetime of Experiences with Ig"
  • Dr. Don Branch, PhD, Canadian Blood Services, University of Toronto, "IVIG - How does it work"
  • Dr. Hatoon Ezzat, UBC, St. Paul's Hospital, "Transfusion challenges in hemoglobinopathies"
  • Dr. Mark Scott, PhD, Canadian Blood Services, "Hiding the antigens from the antibodies"

2013 Program

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 | Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, 555 West Hastings St., Vancouver, BC

Plenary Speakers: 

  • Roderick and Sharon Stewart,"Life and times of Norman Bethune"
  • Dr. Dana Devine, PhD, Canadian Blood Services, CBR & UBC, "Challenges in Blood Management - Canada and Beyond"
  • Dr. John Hartwig, PhD, Harvard Medical School, Boston, "Platelet synthesis and clearance"
  • Dr. Mel Krajden, MD, BC Centre for Disease Control, "Hepatitis C Virus: From discovery to cure"
  • Dr. Andre Smith, PhD, University of Victoria, "Blood donation and social capital"
  • Dr. James Zimring, MD, PhD, Puget Sound Blood Centre, "Basic biology of incompatible transfusion reactions"
  • Dr. Mark Yazer, MD, University of of Pittsburgh,  "TACO and other forgotten about reactions to platelets"
  • Dr. Tanya Petraszko, MD, UBC, "The BC Provincial Blood Coordinating Office"
  • Dr. Kate Chipperfield, MD, VGH & UBC, "More baffling cases in the blood bank"
  • Dr. Alan Lazarus, PhD, University of Toronto, "How do therapeutic immunoglobulins work"

2012 Program

Thursday, March 29, 2012 | Vancouver Sutton Place Hotel, 845 Burrard St.

Plenary Speakers:

  • Scott Davidson, Manager, Bethune Memorial House, "Life and times of Norman Bethune"
  • Dr. Mark Yazer, MD, U of Pittsburgh "It's not just sheep and dogs anymore: Transfusion through the ages"
  • Dr. Ross Brown, MD, UBC "Transfusion issues for the Canadian military in Afghanistan"
  • Dr. Jo Mountford, PhD, U of Glasgow "Blood Pharming: in vitro generation of RBCs for transfusion"
  • Dr. Graham Sher, MD, CEO, Canadian Blood Services, "Future directions in blood services"
  • Dr. Kevin Kain, MD, U of Toronto, "New biomarkers and interventions for life-threatening infections"
  • Dr. Kate Chipperfield, MD, UBC, "Intriguing blood transfusion cases"
  • Dr. John Wu, MD, UBC, "Exchange transfusions in the pediatric population"
  • Dr. Tom Neville, MD, UBC, "Myelodysplastic syndromes: New therapies and supportive care strategies"