Program Investigators

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Jeannie Callum

Interim Chief, Dept of Clinical Pathology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Associate Professor, Dept of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP), University of Toronto (UofT)
 
Expertise: RCTs, transfusion guidelines, education, transfusion management in trauma
 
Dr. Jeannie Callum is the Interim Chief of the Department of Clinical Pathology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP) at the UofT. She is the Principal Investigator (PI) and Director of the UofT QUEST Research Program. She is an internationally recognized expert in transfusion. She is the site PI for numerous ongoing transfusion trials, has been the blood bank co-PI for three large multicentre trials (ABLE – Lacroix et al, 2015; PROPPR – Holcomb et al, 2015; and the Transfusion Avoidance in Cardiac Surgery (TACS) study – Karkouti et al, 2015) and is launching two funded multicentre transfusion trials in 2017 (START study and FIBRES study – see Key Deliverables section). She has also been the Sponsor for the Central Ontario office of the Ontario Regional Blood Coordinating Network (ORBCoN) since its inception in 2006. She championed the development of the National Transfusion Error Surveillance System (TESS) with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and continues on the project working group. She is actively involved in educational activities at UofT, as a course instructor for graduate students at the Institute for Medical Sciences on how to present scientific data. Her specific academic interests are in transfusion guidelines, massive hemorrhage protocols and transfusion management in trauma.
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Christine Cserti-Gazdewich

Associate Medical Director, Blood Transfusion Laboratory, University Health Network; Assistant Professor, Dept of LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: study design and methodology, hemovigilance, immunohematology/serology
 
Dr. Christine Cserti-Gazdewich is Associate Medical Director of Blood Transfusion Laboratories at University Health Network and Assistant Professor in the Department of LMP at the UofT. She has expertise in study design, methodology and implementation as the PI of the Cytoadherence in Pediatric Malaria Study and co-PI of the Tissue Oxygenation by Transfusion in Severe Anemia with Lactic Acidosis (TOTAL) trial. She is an expert in malarial and evolutionary immunogenetics, immunohematology, and hemovigilance. She serves in Ontario’s Transfusion Transmitted Injury Surveillance System (TTISS) with its core reporting and educational outreach activities. Under her leadership, we have increased participation in TTISS across Ontario and improved the reporting rate by nurses and physicians throughout our affiliated community hospitals. She has published extensively on the adverse consequences of blood transfusion and has lectured across Canada on the adverse consequences of transfusion to national subspecialty organizations.
Dr. Keyvan Karkouti, Deputy Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, Toronto General Hospital

Keyvan Karkouti

Deputy Anesthesiologist-in –Chief, Toronto General Hospital; Professor and Vice-Chair, Innovation and Research, Dept of Anesthesia, UofT
 
Expertise: senior advisor/mentor, study design and methodology, RCTs, perioperative anemia, coagulopathy and transfusion
 
Dr. Keyvan Karkouti is the Deputy Anesthesiologist-in-Chief of Anesthesia and Pain Management at the Toronto General Hospital and Professor and Vice Chair of Innovation and Research in the Department of Anesthesia at the UofT. He was the PI for the recently completed stepped-wedge cluster randomized trial of point of care hemostatic testing in cardiac surgery that included more than 7000 patients at 12 Canadian hospitals including three UofT affiliated cardiac surgery centres (TACS – Karkouti et al, 2015). He is also the PI for FIBRES (See Key Deliverables section). His research focuses on improving the science and outcomes of perioperative medicine as it relates to anemia, coagulopathy, transfusion, and acute kidney injury. Dr. Karkouti will act as a senior mentor and advisor for the UofT QUEST research program. He has a large research team with proven ability to launch, manage and complete multicentre trials.
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Lani Lieberman

Associate Medical Director, Blood Transfusion Laboratory, University Health Network; Assistant Professor, Dept of LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: pediatric hematologist/oncologist; pediatric, neonatal and obstetrical transfusion medicine
 
Dr. Lani Lieberman is a transfusion medicine specialist and pediatric hematologist in the Department of LMP at University Health Network and Assistant Professor in the Department of LMP at the UofT. She is an expert in neonatal, pediatric and obstetrical transfusion medicine. She has founded the Canadian Obstetrics and Pediatric Transfusion Medicine Network with a goal to standardize and share best practices as well as promote collaborative research in the field of pediatric and obstetrical transfusion medicine. She is lead author on the International Collaboration of Transfusion Medicine Guidelines (ICTMG) group Fetal/Neonatal Alloimmune Thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) guideline which she presented at the AABB annual meeting in 2016.
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Yulia Lin

Interim Medical Director, Blood & Tissue Bank, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Associate Professor, Dept of LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: transfusion education, quality improvement (implementation), patient blood management
 
Dr. Yulia Lin is the Interim Director of the Blood & Tissue Bank at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of LMP at the UofT. She is a nationally recognized leader in the areas of transfusion education (Chair, UofT Transfusion Camp); quality improvement (Co-Chair, Ontario Transfusion Quality Improvement Plan Committee); and patient blood management (member, Ontario Transfusion Coordinators Steering Committee). Her expertise relates to improving physician transfusion knowledge, quality improvement in transfusion practice and patient blood management. She has published several studies in high impact journals in the area of transfusion medicine education, including being cited for her educational initiatives in an editorial in Transfusion.
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Jacob Pendergrast

Associate Medical Director, Blood Transfusion Laboratory, University Health Network; Assistant Professor, Dept of LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: study design and methodology, quality management systems, transfusion in rural settings, hemoglobinopathies
 
Dr. Jacob Pendergrast is Associate Medical Director of Blood Transfusion Laboratories at University Health Network and Assistant Professor in the Department of LMP at the UofT. He is an expert in study design and methodology as the PI of the pilot randomized controlled trial, Transfusion-associated circulatory overload: best eliminated with lasix? (TACO-BEL) and a Canadian Blood Services (CBS) funded prospective study on intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) associated hemolysis. His areas of expertise also include quality management, transfusion practice in rural hospitals, and hemoglobinopathies.
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Nadine Shehata

Medical Director, Transfusion Medicine Laboratory, Mount Sinai Hospital; Associate Professor, Dept of Medicine, UofT
 
Expertise: knowledge translation, guideline development, RCTs and systematic reviews
 
Dr. Nadine Shehata is the Director of Transfusion Medicine at Sinai Health Systems and Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the UofT. She is cross-appointed to the Department of LMP and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. Her research interests focus on knowledge translation. She is an expert in both systematic review methodology and guideline development as the course co-instructor for the graduate course, Evidence-based guidelines with IHPME and Chair of the ICTMG. She is the co-PI for the Transfusion Requirements in Cardiac Surgery III (TRICS III) randomized controlled trial, in which UofT cardiac surgery centres are participating.
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Donald R. Branch

Scientist, CBS Centre for Innovation; Professor in Medicine, UofT; Staff Scientist, Hematology/Oncology, UHN; Affiliated Scientist, Division of Diagnostic Therapeutics, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute
 
Expertise: Transfusion-related serology, auto- and alloimmune hemolytic anemias, monocyte monolayer assay, antibody investigations
 
Dr. Don Branch is a CBS scientist in the Centre for Innovation and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the UofT. He is cross-appointed to the Department of LMP, the University Health Network and the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. His research interests focus on selection of blood for transfusion using a monocyte monolayer assay in difficult serological incompatibilities and in predicting the likelihood of hemolysis from IVIG, as well as finding a replacement for IVIG use in conditions other than immunodeficiencies.
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Alan Lazarus

Scientist, CBS Center for innovation and St. Michaels hospital. Professor, Depts Medicine and LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: innate immunology, role of antibodies and cytokines in immune responses, pathophysiology of murine models of autoimmunity including ITP, autoimmune hemolytic anemia and arthritis, mechanisms of action of antibodies, Fc receptor related therapeutics, the study of IVIg and anti-D, animal models related to hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn
 
Dr. Alan Lazarus is a CBS scientist in the Centre for Innovation and Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and LMP at the UofT. His research interests are in the mechanism of action and replacement of IVIG and anti-D with recombinant monoclonal antibodies. He has published on the use of IVIG to prevent transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI) and the mechanisms associated with alloimmunization to platelet antigens after transfusion.
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Heyu Ni

Scientist, CBS Centre for Innovation; Professor, Departments of LMP, Physiology, and Medicine, UofT. Platform Director for Hematology, Cancer and Immunological Diseases, St. Michael's Hospital
 
Expertise: platelet biology and immunology, autoimmune thrombocytopenia, fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, intravital microscopy to evaluate in vivo events following blood product transfusion
 
Dr. Heyu Ni is a CBS scientist in the Centre for Innovation and Professor in the Departments of LMP, Physiology, and Medicine at the UofT. His research interests are transfusion related platelet function and thrombocytopenias including immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and FNAIT as well as IVIG and alternative therapies to manage these hemorrhagic disorders. He is an expert in the intravital microscopy system to evaluate the in vivo events following blood product transfusion. Through the collaboration with UofT QUEST investigators (Callum, Lin), his group demonstrated that platelet desialylation caused by anti-platelet antibodies in ITP, may be lethal and may resist both IVIG therapy and platelet transfusion.

Program Collaborators and Partners

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Wendy Lau

Director, Transfusion Medicine, Hospital for Sick Children; Program Director, Transfusion Medicine Area of Focused Competency, UofT; Medical Officer, Diagnostic Services, CBS
 
Expertise: neonatal and pediatric transfusion medicine; transfusion education; immunohematology/serology
 
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Katerina Pavenski

Director, Transfusion Medicine and Apheresis, St. Michael’s Hospital; Assistant Professor , Dept of LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: apheresis, contingency planning, transfusion management in trauma, patient blood management.
 
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Robert Skeate

Associate Medical Director, East, CBS, Assistant Professor, Dept of LMP, UofT
 
Expertise: blood product manufacture, testing, composition and quality, acquisition of blood products including rare products, transfusion reactions, blood donor and donation procedures and policies