Skip to main content
Clinical Center News
Fall 2021

Department of Transfusion Medicine leads two days of blood science symposia

Treatment strategies; unmasking Jack the Ripper on the agenda

Cathy Conry-Cantilena, MD
Kathleen (Cathy) Conry-Cantilena, MD, recipient of the Richard J. Davey Lectureship for her contributions in the field of transfusion medicine in research, clinical practice and commitment to education.
Harvey J. Alter MD, MACP, Nobel Laureate
Harvey J. Alter MD, MACP, Nobel Laureate.

The NIH Clinical Center's Department of Transfusion Medicine (DTM) held two events in September focused on the science and innovation surrounding human blood, antigen-antibody reactions to viruses and diseases and strategies to treat blood disorders.

The first was the 11th Annual Red Cell Genotyping Symposium: The New Normal, which was co-hosted by the Department of Transfusion Medicine and Versiti. The symposium's topics included international perspectives on the use of maternal plasma cell-free DNA for red cell genotyping, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-bind domain and the ABO blood group system. There was also an intersection of science and history as one session discussed how elusive Victorian-era killer Jack the Ripper was identified.

The symposium had speakers from across the globe, featuring Professors Jari Louhelainen (United Kingdom), Catherine Hyland (Australia), Jan Palmblad (Sweden), Frederik Banch Clausen (Denmark) along with Drs. Gorka Ochoa-Garay of the New York Blood Center, John Roback from Emory University and Sean Stowell of the Harvard Medical School. Three clinical vignettes were presented and were well received by the audience of 125.

Congratulations to the Scientific Committee members Professor Willy A. Flegel and Dr. Gregory A. Denomme who were key to the symposium's success.

The second virtual event was the 40th Annual Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion Symposium held on September 23, 2021. DTM and the American Red Cross co-hosted this successful event with 250 tuning in.

The symposium focused on several topics including therapies for patients with COVID-19, sickle cell disease, hyperleukocytosis (a medical condition commonly defined as increased white blood cell count greater than 100 x 109/L) as well as patients requiring massive amounts of blood products in a very short time period.

The annual Richard J. Davey, MD, Lectureship was awarded to a long-standing transfusion medicine program fellowship director, Dr. Kathleen (Cathy) Conry-Cantilena, who shared highlights from her 26 years as a director in DTM.

The symposium concluded with Dr. Harvey J. Alter, MACP, recent co-recipient of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his contributions to the discovery of the hepatitis C virus.

For more information on the sessions contact Natasha Leon ( or Karen Byrne (

- Karen M Byrne, MDE, MT(ASCP)SBB

You are now leaving the NIH Clinical Center website.

This external link is provided for your convenience to offer additional information. The NIH Clinical Center is not responsible for the availability, content or accuracy of this external site.

The NIH Clinical Center does not endorse, authorize or guarantee the sponsors, information, products or services described or offered at this external site. You will be subject to the destination site’s privacy policy if you follow this link.

More information about the NIH Clinical Center Privacy and Disclaimer policy is available at