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ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition

General Sessions

These signature sessions are designed to be of interest to a broad and diverse audience and include the prestigious Plenary Scientific Session, Best of ASH, and the Presidential Symposium. Many of the General Sessions also honor distinguished leaders in the field through awards and special lectures.

Announcement of Awards: Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology, ASH Mentor Awards, ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity, ASH Outstanding Service Award, and ASH Public Service Award


Wallace H. Coulter was a prolific inventor, innovator, and entrepreneur. His Coulter Principle pioneered the development of flow cytometry, defined particle characterization, and made possible automated hematology, thus revolutionizing laboratory medicine. The Coulter Counter led to major breakthroughs in science, medicine, and industry. This award, in his name, recognizes an individual who has demonstrated a lasting commitment to the field of hematology through outstanding contributions to education, research, and practice.

ASH will recognize Blanche P. Alter, MD, MPH, of the National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetic, with the 2023 Wallace H. Coulter Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hematology.  Dr. Alter, a renowned physician-scientist, is being honored for a lifetime of accomplishments that revolutionized research for inherited bone marrow failure syndromes (IBMFS). She is well known within her field for spearheading the first interdisciplinary clinical research program dedicated to investigating cancer-prone IBMFS such as Fanconi anemia (FA), dyskeratosis congenita (DC), Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), and Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome (SDS). Her groundbreaking research has been invaluable in developing screening recommendations to detect cancer as early as possible and help patients live longer.

Her journey to clinical medicine began as an undergraduate research assistant, but Dr. Alter quickly realized that she wanted to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the bedside. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she pursued a pediatrics residency at Boston Children’s Hospital, where she developed a passion for hematology. The unique manifestations of hematologic disorders under the microscope fascinated her. She was the first researcher to prospectively investigate and quantify cancer rates in FA and DC through a groundbreaking pilot study.

After serving as director of the pediatric hematology unit at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Dr. Alter completed a master's degree in public health at Johns Hopkins to gain training in epidemiology. Subsequently, at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Alter established a clinical research program that brought together epidemiologic and prospective studies on cancer and genotypes in major IBMFS. Her research has created a comprehensive body of knowledge about these disorders and their manifestations, diagnoses, and genetic causation. Her work has become the model other researchers use to study the mechanisms of cancer development.

As one of five women in a class of 92 students, Dr. Alter’s path to hematology was not without obstacles. Nevertheless, she shattered glass ceilings throughout her medical career, advocating for equal pay and equitable access to education. Her unwavering commitment continues to inspire the next generation of women in medicine. She is a respected authority in her field and a beloved mentor to many early-career scientists. Dr. Alter has been a member of ASH for more than 50 years.


The ASH Mentor Award was established to recognize hematologists who have excelled in mentoring trainees and colleagues. Each year the Society recognizes two outstanding mentors  who have had a significant, positive impact on their mentees' careers and, through their mentees, have advanced research and patient care in the field of hematology.

ASH will recognize Stephen Sallan, MD, of Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with the 2023 ASH Mentor Award. For Dr. Sallan, mentorship remains the most rewarding aspect of his career. He has mentored hundreds of individuals throughout his career who have gone on to become leading investigators in hematology and oncology. His motivation to mentor others stems from the early impressions his own mentors made on him, encouraging him to push the boundaries of cancer medicine while remembering to find joy in his work and to always pass it forward. As a mentor, Dr. Sallan became widely recognized not only for providing his mentees with unparalleled scholarly opportunities but also for actively and selflessly promoting his mentees and propelling them to the next stages of their careers.

He began his journey in pediatric hematology 50 years ago after seeing advancements in treatments for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) skyrocket, with breakthroughs such as immunologic cell surface markers, molecular measures of leukemia, and targeted therapies and immunotherapies. His research focuses on gaining a deeper understanding of the genetic underpinnings of ALL and the reasons for disease recurrence and drug resistance. His laboratory interactions continue to develop novel therapies, such as cancer vaccines, while aiming to reduce the toxicity of treatment.

ASH will recognize Helen Heslop, MD, DSc, of Baylor College of Medicine, with the 2023 ASH Mentor Award. Dr. Heslop is a highly respected mentor who is known for her inclusivity and commitment to helping her mentees advance in their careers. She is an exceptional physician-scientist who has made significant and lasting contributions to the field of hematology. One of her remarkable achievements is her ability to nurture a diverse group of mentees, including female physician-scientists and individuals from backgrounds historically underrepresented in hematology. Many of her mentees have gone on to become successful independent investigators. Among those she mentors, Dr. Heslop is recognized as an ideal leader who is patient, kind, and one who consistently prioritizes the success of her trainees.

Dr. Heslop’s primary research focuses on the development of adoptive immunotherapies. By genetically modifying cells, she has worked to improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapies. She strives to ensure that her findings are translated from the lab to clinical trials to improve the lives of individuals living with cancer and blood disorders.


The ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity honors hematologists who have supported the development of an inclusive hematology workforce, who have encouraged the career development of underrepresented minority trainees, who have made the commitment to inclusiveness in contributions to the mission of ASH, or who have made accomplishments that aim to eliminate health disparities in the care of hematology patients.

ASH will recognize Alexis A. Thompson, MD, MPH, of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, with the 2023 ASH Award for Leadership in Promoting Diversity. Dr. Thompson is being honored for her exemplary leadership in addressing the health care needs of an underserved population and for mentoring trainees from communities historically underrepresented in hematology. Her work has focused on patients with hemoglobinopathies, with a particular emphasis on sickle cell disease. She has made significant contributions to this field through extensive publications, clinical practice, and advocacy. Her research has resulted in the introduction of innovative treatments for patients with sickle cell disease and thalassemia, as well as other hemoglobinopathies. Furthermore, she has actively advocated for the inclusion of minority patients in clinical trials, both on national and international levels. Dr. Thompson’s outstanding leadership and unwavering optimism continue to inspire those around her to improve the lives of individuals from minority groups living with blood disorders.

Dr. Thompson takes great pride in her collaborative work with ASH to bring novel sickle cell treatments to the forefront of drug development and gene therapy for hematologic conditions. She is honored to be part of a society that prioritizes innovation, advocacy, and education to improve the lives of individuals living with sickle cell disease around the world.

Since serving as ASH president in 2018, Dr. Thompson has continued her tenure with the Society in various roles, including mentoring trainees through the Society’s Minority Medical Student Award Program (MMSAP) for over a decade. As a mentor to many, her efforts have helped shape ASH recruitment initiatives to strengthen the hematology workforce. She has served as a role model and her positive influence has helped support trainees from groups historically underrepresented in hematology to become future leaders with former mentees acting as MMSAP mentors and serving on ASH’s Minority Recruitment Initiative’s study sections and subcommittees. Dr. Thompson’s pioneering work continues to contribute to a more diverse and inclusive hematology workforce and to model the commitment to diversity and inclusiveness within ASH.


The ASH Advocacy Awards provide an opportunity for ASH to continue to build relationships with congressional and federal agency champions of health care. The ASH Public Service Award recognizes and honors an elected public official who has served as an effective advocate for government support of biomedical research and hematology practice. The ASH Outstanding Service Award is awarded to individuals in either the public or private sector who have displayed effective behind-the-scenes leadership in areas relevant to the mission of the Society.

ASH Outstanding Service Award

ASH Public Service Award 


Robert A. Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

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Announcement of Awards: William Dameshek Prize and Henry M. Stratton Medals


The William Dameshek Prize, named for the late William Dameshek, MD, a past president of ASH and the original editor of Blood, recognizes an early- or mid-career individual who has made a recent outstanding contribution to the field of hematology.

ASH will recognize Omar Abdel-Wahab, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, with the 2023 William Dameshek Prize.  Dr. Abdel-Wahab is being honored for his trailblazing research characterizing the genetic mutations that drive blood cancers. His work has focused on understanding the underlying recurrent mutations in the RNA splicing mechanism leading to the development of myelodysplastic syndromes and leukemia. This discovery has paved the way for the development of multiple drugs targeting RNA splicing activity, currently in the early phases of clinical development. Additionally, his research has played a pivotal role in securing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the first targeted therapies for patients with rare blood cancers known as systemic histiocytic neoplasms.


The Henry M. Stratton Medal is named after the late Henry Maurice Stratton, co-founder of Grune and Stratton, the medical publishing house that first published ASH’s journal Blood. The prize honors two senior investigators whose contributions to both basic and clinical/ translational hematology research are well recognized and have taken place over a period of several years.

ASH will recognize Rodger McEver, MD, of the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, with the 2023 Henry M. Stratton Medal for basic science. Dr. McEver is being honored for his pivotal discovery and characterization of a protein, known as P-selectin, and its ligand, PSGL-1, that play crucial roles in bridging the processes of blood clotting and inflammation. His main research focuses on understanding how platelets and leukocytes are recruited to sites of injury and infection. Dr. McEver’s contributions have ranged from basic discoveries about the biophysical properties of cell interactions to clinical advances, such as the development and approval of the anti-P-selectin monoclonal antibody, crizanlizumab, for the prevention of vaso-occlusive crises in sickle cell patients.

ASH will recognize James B. Bussel, MD, of Weill Cornell Medicine, with the 2023 Henry M. Stratton Medal for translational/clinical science. Dr. Bussel is being honored for his invaluable contributions to the development of agents that increase platelet counts in patients with immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) and other conditions. His achievements include the groundbreaking discovery that giving intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) to mothers can raise platelet counts in cases of fetal and neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia (FNAIT) – a treatment now used around the world and that was recognized by the King Faisal prize in 2012. In the realm of ITP, Dr. Bussel has increased the understanding of how IVIG treatment prevents platelet destruction. His work has played a pivotal role in the development of many medications used to treat thrombocytopenic conditions, as recognized in the prescribing information for the three approved thrombopoietic (TPO) agents.


Robert A. Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, MD

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ASH-EHA Joint Symposium

Stem Cell Transcriptomics in the Niche


Robert Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD

Antonio Medina Almeida, MD,PhD
Universidade Catolica Portuguesa
Rio de Mouro, Portugal


Alexander Medvinsky
The University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, SCO, United Kingdom
The Role of the Stem Cell Niche in the Development of Definitive Hematopoietic Stem Cells

Linheng Li, PhD
Stowers Inst. for Med. Rsch.
Kansas City, MO
Microenvironmental Regulation of Stem Cells and Wnt/PI3K-Akt Signaling in Leukemia Stem Cell Immune Escape

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Best of ASH


Elizabeta Nemeth, PhD
David Geffen School of Medicine At UCLA
Los Angeles, CA

Kojo S.J. Elenitoba-Johnson, MD
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY

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E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize

Natural killer (NK) cells are part of the innate immune system with the unique ability to distinguish normal cells from abnormal cells without prior priming. They are the first line of defense against viruses and play an important role in tumor surveillance. 

Over the past 50 years, remarkable progress has been made in our understanding of natural killer cell biology. These advances include a better understanding of the molecular and cellular basis for the recognition of “normal” vs. abnormal cells by NK cells, including the interaction of NK receptors with their cognate ligands, as well as the mechanisms by which NK cells crosstalk with other immune cells to orchestrate a strong immune response. The detailed knowledge that has emerged from these studies has served as the foundation for the subsequent efforts to exploit NK cells in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for hematologic malignancies and, more recently, for adoptive cell therapy.

Adoptive cell therapy, involving the infusion of ex vivo expanded or selected autologous or allogeneic lymphocytes, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes, or genetically modified lymphocytes, has shown great promise for the treatment of certain types of cancer. We live in exciting times where access to single-cell proteo-genomics data and technological advances in genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and cell manufacturing have resulted in a paradigm shift in our approach to cancer therapy. 

Natural killer cells offer unique characteristics that make them advantageous for adoptive cell therapy. These include an innate anti-tumor cytotoxicity as well as an excellent safety profile with minimal risk of graft-versus-host disease in the allogenic setting, thereby offering the promise of off-the-shelf cell therapy at large scale.

This lecture will focus on the progress that has been made in the application of NK cell immunotherapy and novel cell engineering strategies for the treatment of cancer. 

ASH will recognize Katy Rezvani, MD, PhD, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, with the 2023 E. Donnall Thomas Lecture and Prize. Dr. Rezvani is being honored for her paradigm-shifting approach of modifying natural killer cells derived from umbilical cord blood, which has the potential to reduce toxicity, lower the cost of therapy, and increase patient access to potentially life-saving cancer immunotherapies.


Robert Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD


Katayoun Rezvani, MD, PhD
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX
Natural Killer Cells: A New Frontier for Cancer Immunotherapy

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Ernest Beutler Lecture and Prize


Robert Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD


Takehisa Kitazawa, DMV, PhD
Chugai Pharmaceutical
Totsuka-Ku, Japan
Basic Science

Johnny Mahlangu, MBBCh, MMed
University of the Witwatersrand and National Health Laboratory Service
Johannesburg, South Africa
Clinical/Translational Science

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Ham-Wasserman Lecture

Platelet-activating antibodies of IgG class against the chemokine, platelet factor 4 (PF4), can induce some of the most prothrombotic disorders encountered in clinical practice. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is the prototypic anti-PF4 disorder. HIT is mediated by strong IgG-induced activation of platelets through their Fc?IIa (IgG) receptors. Concomitant pancellular activation (monocytes, neutrophils, endothelium) triggers thrombo-inflammation with resulting hypercoagulability and associated high risk for venous and arterial thrombosis. HIT requires anticoagulation with a non-heparin anticoagulant. Understanding HIT, and its atypical variants, permitted rapid understanding of the mechanisms underlying the rare adverse effect of adenovirus vector COVID-19 vaccines, vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT). VITT is also caused by anti-PF4 IgG, but in contrast to most cases of HIT, VITT is a predominantly heparin-independent platelet-activating disorder. VITT requires both therapeutic-dose anticoagulation and inhibition of Fc?RIIa-mediated cell activation, currently achieved by high-dose intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG). Recent development of new assays to distinguish between HIT and VITT-like anti-PF4 antibodies has led to recognition of patients with severe acute (sometimes chronic, recurrent) thrombosis and thrombocytopenia, where VITT-mimicking (rather than HIT-mimicking) anti-PF4 antibodies are implicated, independent of proximate heparin exposure or vaccination.

Dr. Greinacher will conceptualize anti-PF4 antibody mediated disorders as a misdirected pathogen defense mechanism causing uncontrolled thrombo-inflammation. He will explain how biophysical techniques helped to uncover the underlying mechanisms by which the endogenous protein, PF4, becomes immunogenic. The lecture will outline new options for detecting anti-PF4 antibodies, both heparin-dependent and heparin-independent, and discuss the key concept that heparin-independent, platelet-activating anti-PF4 antibodies require (besides anticoagulation) adjunct treatment with high-dose IVIG to deescalate the severe anti-PF4 IgG-mediated hypercoagulability state.


Robert Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD


Andreas Greinacher, MD
University Medicine Greifswald, University of Greifswald
Greifswald, Germany
Thrombocytopenia Due to Platelet Activation Syndromes: HIT and Beyond

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Presidential Symposium

The Complement System and Targeted Therapies

Many details of the complement cascade were worked out more than 60 years ago. The innate immune system offers protection from certain bacterial infections, but complement was not thought to play a major role in human disease. Over the past 2 decades it has become clear that the complement cascade plays a vital role in shaping adaptive immunity and that failure to regulate complement is a principal driver of many human diseases including cold agglutinin disease, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, thrombotic microangiopathies, HELLP syndrome and others. Importantly, there are now numerous drugs that target complement that have changed the natural history of many of these previously life-threatening conditions that are frequently encountered by hematologists. This Presidential Symposium will cover the canonical extracellular complement cascade, intracellular complement, and targeted complement inhibitor drugs that have changed the natural history of complement-driven diseases.

Dr. Lubka Roumenina will discuss canonical complement pathways, the importance of the innate immune system. She will also discuss diseases associated with failure to regulate complement on host cells and the role of complement in thromboinflammation.

Dr. Claudia Kemper will discuss the role of intracellular complement in training the adaptive immune system and potential role intracellular complement activation in human disease. Non-canonical functions of complement that participate in cell metabolism and autophagy will be discussed.

Dr. Eleni Gavriilaki will cover a variety of old and new complement inhibitors to treat complementopathies. She will discuss inhibitors that block at C5, C3, C1s and the alternative pathway. These inhibitors can be administered by intravenous infusion, subcutaneous injections and now oral. Advantages and disadvantages and efficacy of these complement inhibitors in a variety of human diseases will be discussed.


Robert Brodsky, MD
Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD


Lubka T. Roumenina, PhD
Sorbonne Université
Paris, France
Complement and Innate Immunity

Claudia Kemper
Bethesda, MD
Intracellular Complement and Adoptive Immunity

Eleni Gavriilaki, MD, PhD
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki, Greece
Targeting Complement to Treat Hematologic Disease

65th ASH Annual Meeting Registration

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