Chief scientist Dr. Dana Devine takes on directorship at Centre for Blood Research

Bringing roles together to bridge discoveries into better care

January 18, 2021
Image of the cafeteria of the Centre for Blood Research buidling

Canadian Blood Services’ chief scientist has been appointed director of the Centre for Blood Research at the University of British Columbia. This new role deepens Canadian Blood Services’ lasting collaboration with the centre and is part of Dr. Devine’s longstanding pursuit of bringing new discoveries to patients in meaningful ways.

“As one of the founders of the Centre for Blood Research, I’ve watched it grow over the years. In some ways, it feels like I’m coming full circle,” says Dr. Devine. “It’s one of the largest academic blood centres in the world, and one of the most multidisciplinary. I’m really interested in ensuring it stays vibrant and keeps growing.”

In addition to this new role, Dr. Devine recently finished a nine-year term as editor-in-chief of Vox Sanguinis, a peer-reviewed academic journal about transfusion medicine. She is also president-elect of AABB, a professional society for blood transfusion and cellular therapies, and will begin her term as president in October 2021. In that role, she will lead the board of directors in setting the strategic plan for AABB.

Image of Dana Devine - Canadian Blood Services’ chief scientist.
Dr. Dana Devine

“I seem to be lacking the gene for the word ‘no’,” Dr. Devine jokes.

In her tenure as director of the Centre for Blood Research, one of Dr. Devine’s focuses will be faculty renewal. “A lot of our faculty isn’t far from retirement, and now is the time to build for the future by bringing on younger investigators who will maintain the vibrancy of the centre,” she says.

She will also focus on building and improving partnerships to help harness the discoveries made at the Centre for Blood Research and translate them into better patient care.

“Science needs to move from the bench to patients,” she says. “Otherwise, scientists are just doing science for each other!”

A long and distinguished history of improving Canada’s blood system

Dr. Devine has been with Canadian Blood Services since it opened its doors in 1998. She was director of our research and development group, which is now our Centre for Innovation, and served as vice-president of medical, scientific and research affairs for 11 years. Now our chief scientist, she will continue to work to improve Canada’s blood system through research and innovation.

During her time with Canadian Blood Services thus far, a few of Dr. Devine’s proudest contributions include the modernization of transmissible disease testing, improvements to our manufacturing processes to increase platelet availability and assisting the development of our organ and tissue donation and transplantation program.

“We’ve been able to put Canadian Blood Services on the map internationally for a number of things we’ve done in the transfusion space. We’re known for punching above our weight,” Dr. Devine says.

Throughout this period, Dr. Devine continues to maintain an active research group at the University of British Columbia. She finds value in this because it allows her to take problems identified in her administrative roles and look at how she can contribute to a solution — which often means going into the lab for data.

“I think I’ve always had an overdeveloped need to fix things that need fixing. I enjoy leadership roles because they allow me to help people be their best, which in the research setting means fixing things and moving science forward,” says Dr. Devine. “I also have a lot of fun!”

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