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.


 2020 Virtual Norman Bethune Symposium • September 9, 2020

The CBR is excited to present its 9th Annual Norman Bethune Symposium! This full-day symposium will be held virtually over Zoom. We have a fabulous program this year and the highlights include presentations on the management of trauma-induced bleeding, therapies for red cell disorders such as sickle cell disease, patient blood management, COVID-19 and therapeutic advances for hemophilia. In addition to hearing from both Canadian and international speakers, talks will be given by those receiving blood products, and there will be selected oral and poster presentations by trainees at all levels of training.

Present at the Symposium—call for abstracts!
**Submit an abstract to be considered to present a short talk at the Symposium. The top abstracts will be selected to present. This is a great opportunity!
       o Abstract submission deadline: August 17, 2020

*NEW*: Participate in the #CBR_NBS2020 Twitter Research Showcase, starting September 8, 2020!
** Challenge yourself & present your research project in a series of 4 to 6 tweets! Prizes will be awarded.
       o Research showcase registration deadline: August 17, 2020
       o Training will be provided on the week of August 24, 2020.


If you have any questions, please contact



Past Symposia:

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"