GVHD Symposium

Seeking Comprehensive GVHD Care

2024 GVHD National Symposium Details

Date: Friday, September 27th, 2024 from 8am – 5:30pm
Location: University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

All physicians & health professionals, PhD’s, postdocs, patients and caregivers are welcome!

Keynote Speaker

Mladen Golubic, MD, PhD

UC Health

Keynote Presentation

Lifestyle Modifications for Thriving after BMT

Dr. Golubić serves as the Osher Center Distinguished Professor and Medical Director at the Osher Center for Integrative Health and Family and Community Medicine at the University of Cincinnati, a position he has held since January 2021. Prior to this, he dedicated three decades at the Cleveland Clinic, fulfilling dual roles as a scientist and physician. As Medical Director, over one decade he led the group of exceptional health professionals at the Center for Lifestyle Medicine within the Wellness Institute.

Dr. Golubić is a graduate of the University of Zagreb School of Medicine, Croatia, and earned his doctorate at the same University after 5 years of post-doctoral fellowship at the Max-Planck Institute for Biology, Germany in the field of immunogenetics. He holds certifications from the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine. Furthermore, he is a Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

His specialty lies in Lifestyle Medicine, with a particular focus on lifestyle therapies for cardiovascular and neurological diseases, as well as lifestyle-related cancer types. As a Principal Investigator, Dr. Golubić has secured grants support from various national organizations for basic science and clinical research. He is the author of 50 peer-reviewed articles, 5 book chapters and has modeled Yoga exercises in a videotape and a book for Yoga trainers by the American Yoga Association in 1993 and 1995, respectively. He has presented lectures at grand rounds, national and international medical conferences, and public presentations, promoting the benefits of Lifestyle Medicine. He particularly emphasizes the importance of transitioning towards a whole foods, plant-based eating pattern as a key ‘Food is Medicine’ approach to enhance human health and mitigate the climate crisis rapidly and significantly.

National GvHD Symposium

Innovative And Life-Changing Research Presentations For Physicians, Health Care Professionals, And Survivors

This unique conference focuses on cutting-edge research and new treatments. Our symposia have two tracks: one designed for physicians and other health care professionals, and one for bone marrow transplant (BMT) survivors, their families, and their caregivers.

The Meredith A. Cowden Foundation in collaboration with the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute created the GvHD National Symposium in 2010 to raise awareness about Graft vs. Host Disease (GvHD), to promote research to further our understanding of its cause, and to review cutting edge approaches to prevention and treatment.

Over 1,700 people have attended our events, which have provided an opportunity for attendees to interact with some of the world’s leading authorities on GvHD, a complication that affects over 60% of bone marrow transplant patients. Our past symposiums have served as invaluable experiences to learn, network, and exchange ideas with each other.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship opportunities are currently available.
Please contact Lyn Haselton, symposium manager, by email at lynhaselton@cowdenfoundation.org with questions.

Institutional Sponsors

Planning Commitee

Steven Z. Pavletic, MD, MS

National Cancer Institute / NIH

Dr. Pavletic received his M.D. from the University of Zagreb School of Medicine in Croatia in 1979. In 1992, he completed a clinical fellowship in bone marrow transplantation at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington Medical School in Seattle, WA. In 1995, he completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in Omaha, NE, and completed his hematology and oncology fellowship in June 1997. Until October 2002, Dr. Pavletic served as the director of the Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation Program at UNMC. In 2002, Dr. Pavletic received an appointment at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and an adjunct appointment at the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases at NIH. Currently, he is the head of the Graft-versus-Host and Autoimmunity Unit in the Experimental Transplantation and Immunology Branch. In October 2006, Dr. Pavletic received the NCI Director’s award for his achievements in developing national and international consensus guidelines for clinical trials in chronic GVHD.

Matt Kalaycio, MD, FACP

Cleveland Clinic

Matt Kalaycio, MD, FACP, is Chairman of the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute. Dr. Kalaycio holds a joint appointment in Cleveland Clinic’s Transplant Center and is a Professor in the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Board-certified in hematology, Dr. Kalaycio’s clinical interests are in leukemia and stem cell transplantation.
Dr. Kalaycio has been published in numerous scientific publications including Bone Marrow Transplantation, Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Leukemia. He serves on the editorial board of Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation. He also is the editor of a book on leukemia and co-editor of a book on clinical malignant hematology. His research interests focus on testing new treatments for leukemia.

Dr. Kalaycio received his degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh and fellowships in hematology and medical oncology and bone marrow transplantation at Cleveland Clinic.

Kenneth R. Cooke, MD

Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center

Dr. Cooke is Director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center’s Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplantation Program. Prior to his appointment at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Cooke headed the Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, and University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in Cleveland, Ohio. He also co-directed the Hematologic Disorders Program of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center at Case Western Reserve University.

A nationally recognized transplantation immunology expert, Dr. Cooke focuses primarily on new strategies to prevent and treat graft-vs-host disease and lung complications following blood and bone marrow transplantation. His research efforts have been recognized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the American Society of Clinical Investigation. In addition to his younger patients, Dr. Cooke also cares for adolescents and young adults.

Marcos, De Lima, MD

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Marcos de Lima is Professor of Medicine, Ohio State University, and Director of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Therapy programs at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. He has extensive experience developing and conducting clinical trials in the context of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for myeloid malignancies. His research focus on strategies to prevent leukemia relapse after transplant, and the development of novel translational cellular therapy approaches to treating blood cancers.

Hien Liu, MD

Moffitt Cancer Center

Dr. Hien Liu is Medical Director of the Apheresis Unit and an Associate Member in the Moffitt Cancer Center Department of Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy. Dr. Liu earned her MD from the University of Michigan Medical School. She completed an Internal Medicine Residency at Michigan State University/Grand Rapids Medical Education and Research Center. Dr. Liu completed a Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at Cleveland Clinic Foundation, where she also served as Chief Fellow. Prior to joining Moffitt, Dr. Liu was an Assistant Professor at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and Associate Member at Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Liu is an experienced blood and marrow transplant physician, specializing in autologous and allogeneic transplant for lymphoid malignancies, as well as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. Her clinical and research interests include peripheral blood stem cell mobilization strategies, leukapheresis for CAR T, and therapeutic photopheresis. Dr. Liu leads the Moffitt Apheresis Unit, where peripheral blood stem cell collections for hematopoietic stem cell transplant donors and cellular therapy patients are performed. In addition, she is part of the team of lymphoma physicians who see and perform CAR T-cell therapy for lymphoid cancers.

Annie Im, MD

UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Annie Im, MD, is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and a hematologist/medical oncologist specializing and conducting research in hematologic malignancies (such as leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma), drug development, stem cell transplantation, and graft-versus-host-disease. In addition, Dr. Im is responsible for the long-term follow-up of stem cell transplant recipients and the chronic graft-versus-host-disease clinic.

Dr. Im is board-certified in internal medicine, hematology, and medical oncology. She received her medical degree from SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine in Stony Brook, N.Y. Dr. Im completed both her residency in internal medicine and her hematology/oncology fellowship at UPMC.

Dr. Im is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the American Society of Hematology, and the American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

Betty Hamilton, MD

Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine

Betty Ky Hamilton is the Associate Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program and Assistant Professor of the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Hamilton received her medical degree from the University of Chicago and internal medicine residency training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her hematology/oncology fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and subsequently joined as a Staff Physician in the Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology. Dr. Hamilton’s clinical and research interests focus on the treatment of hematologic malignancies with allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation; and improving outcomes post-allogeneic hematopoietic cell treatment, specifically in graft-versus-host disease and long-term follow up and survivorship.

Hannah Choe, MD

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Hannah Choe (pronounced Hah-nah Cheh) is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Choe received her Doctor of Medicine from Indiana University School of Medicine and then went on to complete internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Southern California and her fellowship in Hematology and Medical Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College within the New York Presbyterian Hospital. She is the Director of The Ohio State University GVHD Program, which specializes in the research and complex care and coordination of acute and chronic GVHD patients.

Zachariah DeFilipp, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center

Dr. Zachariah DeFilipp is an attending physician in the Hematopoietic Cell Transplant and Cell Therapy Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. He serves as the Director of BMT Clinical Research and is an Assistant Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. DeFilipp is actively involved in translational and clinical research initiatives to improve outcomes for patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation. His research has primarily focused on developing approaches to preventing and treating graft-versus-host disease. His other research efforts have explored improving transplant outcomes for high-risk leukemia through the incorporation of targeted agents in the pre- and post-transplant, as well as examining late effects following long-term transplant survivors.


Nick Giallourakis

Innovative And Life-Changing Research Presentations For Physicians, Health Care Professionals, And Survivors