"It was intimidating to have your face so big on stage and voice projected so loudly"

Syeldy Langi Sasongko blogs from the ISBT Congress on blood transfusion

Syeldy Langi Sasongko, researcher at Sanquin, blogs from the ISBT in Toronto, the largest conference on blood transfusion in the world. Her field of interest is blood management and donor behaviour.

Toronto"Last Friday, a group of us Sanquiners arrived to Toronto for the ISBT Congress. We were bleary-eyed but excited about the upcoming event! Once we arrived in Downtown, we were so pleased to be greeted with beautiful sunshine, warm temperatures, and a slight breeze. On the left is our first sight of the city.

Walking to our Airbnb, we passed by the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is where ISBT 2018 is taking place. It's located near the harbor area, next to famous landmarks like the CN Tower (that very tall tower on the top picture) and the aquarium. The convention centre is huge!

Saturday was "Local Day," a day dedicated to showcasing the history of transfusion in Canada. I personally enjoyed it, for part of my research is looking at the different historical trends of blood transfusion. This information gave me a basic framework for understanding the similarities and differences between Canada and the Netherlands.‚Äč

On Sunday afternoon was the official opening of ISBT 2018. We heard that there were over a thousand participants from 40 countries and I was amazed to sit in a large room! After the ceremony, there was a large reception in the exhibition hall, with a lot of food, drinks, and many exhibitors displaying their blood transfusion-related technology from around the world. We had a alot of fun connecting with new researchers and the ISBT board members.


Syeldy Langi SasonggkoBut on Monday, the first "official" day of seminars, I woke up knowing that I would present that afternoon. I was nervous and spent more time changing bits of my presentation (again and again) until it was time to upload it. My presentation was the last of the "Blood management" session in the afternoon. It was in the large room where the opening ceremony had taken place on Sunday. It was slightly intimidating to have your face so big on stage and voice projected so loudly. When my name was called, I went on stage, heart-pounding. The first slides felt slightly awkward, but then it was as if something took over, and I heard myself talk smoothly as I clicked through the slides. It was over before I knew it! I received great comments (and possible collaborations) from the audience. I am very thankful to have spoken at the congress. 

I've also done additional interviews for my research at the conference too, from countries like Pakistan and Singapore. Meeting so many phenomenal people working in blood transfusion worldwide is inspiring. 

Outside of the conference, I've been having a delightful time exploring (and eating around) the city with fellow Sanquin colleagues. It's been great getting to know each other more, especially from the Sanquin Leiden location". 


Syeldy Langi Sasongko is researcher at the Donor Studies and Transfusion Technology Assesment departments at Sanquin. 

Want to read more? Check out Syeldy's blog with Saurabh Zalpuri and their linkedin post. All about the ISBT 2018.