If you’re looking for some insight into the history of ISTH Congresses over the past 40 years, Ian Peake is your guy. He attended his first ISTH Congress in 1975 in Paris as a 31-year-old biochemist working for his mentor, the late Arthur L. Bloom.

Ian Peake

Ian Peake

“It was daunting,” recalled Peake, who is now emeritus professor of molecular medicine in the department of cardiovascular science at the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. “It was in a very big conference center and I noticed that people talked to each other—not necessarily to me, because they didn’t know who the heck I was—but they talked in groups and so on, which was nice. I remember it being scientifically very good, and I learned a lot there.”

The experience impacted him so much that he made it a point to attend every ISTH Congress thereafter, and he’s only missed one Congress in four decades (Stockholm in 1983). The collaborative, inclusive nature of the ISTH Congress differs from other educational meetings available to clinicians and researchers interested in hemostasis and thrombosis, said Peake, whose current research focuses on von Willebrand disease.

“The other major meetings seem to be in hematology and tend to be dominated by the oncologists,” he said. “Hemostasis and thrombosis has always been a slightly more ‘gentle’ science. People have always been very approachable; it’s just a fact of life to me.”

In 1995 Peake led a bid to hold the ISTH 2003 Congress in Birmingham, United Kingdom. The bid was successful, and he went on to serve as president for that Congress.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “My father used to say, ‘if it ain’t fun, don’t do it.’ Through that experience I got to know so many people in the area of hemostasis and thrombosis. I had the privilege of inviting people to give talks at the Congress, and the collaborative work I’ve done over the years in Europe and North America has led from meeting people at these ISTH meetings, being able to chat with them, and respect them. The community is very sharing in terms of its knowledge. I have a fondness for the Society, and I keep coming.”

By Doug Brunk |June 24, 2015