Jason Acker 

Faulty of Medicine and Dentistry 
University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, 

Canadian Blood Services
Edmonton, Alberta

Jason joined the Society for Cryobiology in 1996 and was elected to Fellow in 2018.

Dr. Jason Acker is a Senior Research Scientist with the Canadian Blood Services and a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. He received his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science in Experimental Pathology and PhD in Medical Sciences degrees from the University of Alberta.  In 2000, Dr. Acker completed a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Dr. Acker received a Master of Business Administration in Technology Commercialization program from the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta in 2009.

Focusing his research on understanding the biological response of cells to freezing and freeze-drying has allowed Dr. Acker to develop a solid foundation from which he has contributed to the design of new methods for the long-term storage of a number of cell types and tissues. 

Dr. Acker’s research program over the past 15 years has continued to focus on expanding our understanding of the biological response of cells and tissues to freezing and freeze-drying.  His work has specifically focused on the development of intracellular protectants as a novel class of molecules that can protect cells and tissues during freezing and drying. In addition to the seminal contributions to our understanding of cryoinjury that Dr. Acker has made, it has been the translation work that he is often most recognized for. In the area of transfusion medicine, Dr. Acker is a world leader in understanding the effects of blood component manufacturing and low-temperature storage on patient outcomes and has led many national and international efforts to improve the quality and safety of blood components. Dr. Acker’s blood services laboratory has responsibility for developing scientific and technical evidence to support innovative changes in blood product manufacturing, storage and utilization at CBS.  Dr. Acker leads efforts to assess new technology, products and processes that can improve the efficiency, quality and safety of blood product manufacturing.  Through his study of low temperatures, Dr. Acker has made, and will continue to make, significant contributions the practical aspects of cell and tissue banking.

Services to the Society
Dr. Acker has been a member of the Society for Cryobiology since 1996 and served as a member of the Board of Governors (2011-2013), President-Elect (2014-2015), President and chair of the Executive Committee (2016-2017), the editor of newsNotes (2001-2006), chair of the publication committee (2004-2006), chair of the nomination committee (2014-2015) and chair of the program committee (2009-2015). As President, Dr. Acker initiated a renewal of our Society’s bylaws, committees and working groups, helped establish a permanent secretariat with the hiring of an Executive Director, and helped redevelop how annual meetings are structured and organized.  As one of the original co-founder of the International Cryobiology Young Research (ICYR) group in 1998, Dr. Acker has been committed to supporting the development of students and young investigators within the discipline. Dr. Acker was the co-chair of CRYO2007 in Lake Louise, Canada, co-chair of the 2014 joint meeting with SIVB in Savannah, USA, co-chair of CRYO2016 in Ottawa, Canada, honorary chair of the CRYO2017 meeting in Hefei, China, and the co-chair of the CRYO2019 scientific program committee. He is a co-founder of the Extreme Cryobiology meeting that has been held annually since 1998 in Canada. Dr. Acker serves as an editorial board member for all three of the cryosciences journals: Cryobiology, Cryo-Letters, and Biopreservation and Biobanking and has been an active reviewer for our journal for more than 20 years.

Scientific Offspring
Dr. Acker has engaged with more than 300+ undergraduate and graduate students over the past 16 years as a faculty member instructing / co-coordinating 7 graded, academic courses.  At present, he is supervising 2 PhD students and 3 MSc student in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alberta. He has successfully mentored 2 PDF, 13 MSc students, 5 PhD students, 1 medical resident and 4 international graduate students since joining the University of Alberta in 2002. The graduate program at the University of Alberta has offered a formal Master of Science in Biopreservation with dedicated advanced courses in cryobiology and cryopreservation for more than 25 years.  In addition to his primary supervision he has been an examiner and/or mentor for 10 PhD and 6 MSc students in 7 different international graduate programs.  

Dr. Tamir Kanias (Associate Investigator, Vitalant Research Institute; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh) – Denver, CO, USA
Dr. Jelena Holovati (Associate Professor, University of Alberta / Director, Edmonton Stem Cell Manufacturing Program, Canadian Blood Services) – Edmonton, AB, Canada
Dr. Vanesa Robles (Investigador Cientifico, Spanish Institute of Oceanography) - Santander, Spain
Dr. Luciana da Silveira Cavalcante (Post-doctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School) – Boston, MA, USA