In the May ISTH enewsletter, the ISTH announced the newly-elected members of Council Class 2020: Anna Falanga (Italy), David Lillicrap (Canada), José Lopéz (USA), Suely Rezende (Brazil), and Steve Watson (UK). The new Council class looks forward to joining the current Council members in the upcoming projects and initiatives of the Society. Read on to learn more about your new Council representatives and their ideas for ISTH and the global thrombosis and hemostasis field.
Anna Falanga's current position is Head of the Department of Immunohematology/Transfusion Medicine with responsibility for the Thrombosis and Haemostasis Center, at the Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII, in Bergamo, Italy. She has developed two main research foci: the impact of malignant disease on the host haemostatic system, including the characterization of tumor cell procoagulant activities, and the pathogenesis and management of the thrombophilic state associated to malignancy. She contributed, as a panel member and co-chair, to the preparation of the guidelines for prophylaxis and treatment of venous thromboembolism in patients with cancer for the Italian Society of Medical Oncology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the European Society of Medical Oncology. She also organized and co-chaired, since 2001, seven biennial international conferences on "Thrombosis and Hemostasis Issues in Cancer" (ICTHIC), in Bergamo, Italy.
"I have been an open advocate for research in thrombosis and hemostasis for most of my career. I would like to advocate for the support of biomedical research in this field with international medical agencies, possibly by building up a consensus program to promote a better coordination of research efforts and expertise. Second, I wish to contribute to a better recognition and identification by the different health systems of the professional competence and functions of the experts in thrombosis and hemostasis. This is essential in order to improve and extend the same quality of care to all patients with thrombotic and haemorrhagic diseases. Ultimately, I hope to foster the development of thrombosis and hemostasis centers with expert physicians and investigators in all hospitals."
David Lillicrap is Professor of Pathology, Medicine, and Pediatrics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada where he directs a research program in the fields of von Willebrand factor (VWF) biology, hemophilia gene therapy, and molecular medicine. Over the past few years, this program has made contributions to the literature pertaining to the genetic pathology and gene therapy strategies for hemophilia A, the immune response to factor VIII and the pathobiology of VWF. He is on the Editorial Boards of Journal of Clinical Investigation, British Journal of Haematology, and the Journal of Haemostasis and Thrombosis. He is also the Associate Editor of BLOOD and a prior Associate Editor of Journal of Thrombosis and Hemostasis.
“I am fortunate to have a career that enables me to combine scientific curiosity with patient care. I have also been extremely fortunate to be a clinician/scientist during a period of time when translational advances in the fields of thrombosis and hemostasis have been unprecedented. The members of ISTH have played leading roles in these advances, and the international credibility of this organization has never been stronger. I have enjoyed my time as the Chair of the Society’s SSC, and see that there are many opportunities for further strengthening the Society’s activities in the areas of scientific discovery and education. The Society must continue to ensure that the interests of basic scientists and clinicians are equally acknowledged, and that the younger members of our community are strongly encouraged to participate in all aspects of the Society’s activities.”
José López is the Chief Scientific Officer at Puget Sound Blood Center in Seattle, WA, USA. Much of the current focus of the laboratory is on defining the role of VWF in human disease. One project focuses on the molecular basis of von Willebrand disease, while other projects examine the role of ULVWF in sickle cell disease, sepsis, hemorrhagic shock, and malaria. He has made fundamental contributions to the understanding of the interactions between platelets and the vessel wall, focusing particularly on the structure-function relationship of the platelet glycoprotein Ib-IX-V complex, VWF and ADAMTS13.
“I am interested in being a part of the ISTH council because I have a strong interest in advocating for hemostasis and thrombosis research, and I wish to have input into the direction of research and in maintaining it at the forefront of medical science. I have been actively fulfilling these roles in other ways, being the leader of a blood research institute that focuses heavily on the basic and clinical sciences of bleeding and clotting diseases. In addition, I am Chair of the NIH Hemostasis/Thrombosis study section, on the Board of the North American Society for Thrombosis and Hemostasis, and Associate Editor of the journal BLOOD, where I am charged with covering hemostasis and thrombosis and advocating for this field. I am honored to serve on the council.”
Suley Rezende is Head of the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She has created a research core on thrombosis and hemostasis at her university, which includes research with laboratory, clinical and epidemiological aspects. At the national level, she has been deeply involved with several educational activities and with the Program of Inherited Coagulopathies of the Brazilian Ministry of Health, which has now evolved as one of the most robust programs accounting for the third largest world population of hemophiliacs.
“My interest in serving as a member of the Council reflects my eagerness to contribute to the formulation of policies within the Society and to the development of thrombosis and hemostasis research and awareness worldwide. This includes investing time and effort in the formulation of policies aimed at expanding the knowledge of thrombosis and hemostasis through educational programs, research, development and innovation. I can offer collaboration on the scientific and educational purposes related to the ISTH mission, such as encouraging research and fostering the diffusion and exchange of ideas through scientific meetings and publications. Indeed, in the past years, I have been involved with many of these activities with and within the ISTH, such as international collaborations, participation in educational committees, on the proposal of a core curriculum and organization of educational meetings in Brazil and Latin America.
Because the affairs of the ISTH related to its global mission are managed under the direction of the Council, it is highly desirable that representatives of developing countries participate in this. Based on my experience, articulation with governments and patients’ associations is essential for improving the area in developing countries, and this should be a priority of the Society. Furthermore, policies targeting at increasing interaction between groups from developing and developed countries should be strengthened in order to improve thrombosis and hemostasis in the former.”
Steve Watson is the Head of the Birmingham Platelet Group, Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, at the University of Birmingham, which undertakes a multidisciplinary approach in the investigation of platelet biology, ranging from the molecular aspects through to animal models and studies on patients with platelet-based bleeding disorders. The core of his research is on the molecular basis of platelet activation by cell surface receptors and their signalling pathways. He started the BSHT UK platelet meeting summer school which is regularly held as a training forum for new students beginning research in the platelet field and was a founding member of the European Platelet Network (EUPLAN: 2011) which organizes a biannual Platelet Research Conference.
“As the leading international organization the ISTH is responsible for coordinating hemostasis and thrombosis communities throughout the world, and it must do so in a rapidly changing climate of communication and health needs, with people living much longer and with an ever-increasing vascular burden. There is also increasing use of specialist research technologies, including next generation sequencing, advanced microscopy and mouse models. The challenge is to bring these advances in research and changing clinical needs in a way that is accessible to the international community, and in full consideration of permissible financial constraints of each sector. I see my primary contribution in representing cutting-edge basic science and in educational programs.
While the biannual congress and annual SSC meetings (with the reach-the-world grants to facilitate wider participation), and the JTH, will continue to represent major activities of ISTH, we need to take increasing advantage of other means of communication and training so that the membership is able to keep pace with developments in research and best clinical practice. We need to build on the legacy of the second ISTH Advanced Course in Thrombosis and Hemostasis held in Portugal in March 2014, and hold courses throughout the globe and on a spectrum of hemostasis and thrombosis-related topics, and to support these through appropriate materials to guide and stimulate leading researchers and promote best clinical practice. I would like to see this supported by mentorship schemes for junior and intermediate clinical and basic scientists.”