Scientific Committee

Scientific Committee Chair

Ruth McPherson, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Merck Frosst Canada Chair in Atherosclerosis Research
Director, Lipid Clinic & Atherogenomics Laboratory
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Department of Medicine
Division of Cardiology
University of Ottawa

Associate Editor Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology

Dr. McPherson received her PhD from the University of London (UK) and MD from the University of Toronto, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1984. She completed subspecialty training in internal medicine and in endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Toronto. Dr. McPherson held academic positions at the University of Toronto and McGill University before coming to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 1992. Dr. McPherson is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. She has published over 150 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals. She currently holds the Merck Frosst Canada Chair in Atherosclerosis and is associate editor of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. Dr. McPherson’s laboratory research is centred on developing a comprehensive and integrated understanding of the genetic and molecular etiology of two complex phenotypes – obesity and coronary artery disease – by simultaneous application of a number of methodologies, including rigorous clinical and metabolic phenotyping, genetics, tissue-specific gene expression, integrative genomics and functional assays. Dr. McPherson directs the Lipid Clinic and Atherogenomics Laboratory at the Ottawa Heart Institute and is a key Canadian opinion leader in the area of clinical lipidology and cardiovascular risk reduction.

Scientific Committee Vice Chair

Katey Rayner , PhD

Lab Director
Cardiometabolic microRNA and Epigenetics Laboratory
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Assistant Professor
University of Ottawa

Katey Rayner obtained her BSc from the University of Toronto, and her PhD from the University of Ottawa. Katey ’s doctoral work focused on the role of hormones, heat shock proteins and macrophage foam cells in the development of atherosclerosis. After her PhD, Katey pursued a postdoctoral fellowship first at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital then at New York University School of Medicine under the direction of Dr. Kathryn Moore. During her postdoctoral work, Katey discovered a role for microRNAs, specifically microRNA-33, in the regulation of HDL and its atheroprotective effects. Katey recently established her laboratory at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, as part of the Atherosclerosis, Genomics and Cell Biology Group. Her research program focuses on how microRNAs control multiple aspects of the risk factors that drive both atherosclerosis and obesity, namely inflammation and dysregulated energy metabolism, and how microRNAs may be used as therapeutics in the future to treat these cardiometabolic diseases.

Peter Liu , MD

Scientific Director
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Dr. Peter Liu is currently the Scientific Director of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and also Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto. He currently serves as the President of International Society of Cardiomyopathy & Heart Failure of World Heart Federation, and was the former Scientific Director of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the major federal funding agency for health research in Canada. He received his MD degree from University of Toronto, and postgraduate training at Harvard University. His laboratory investigates the causes and treatments of heart failure, role of inflammation and identification of novel biomarkers and interventions in cardiovascular disease. He has published over 300 peer reviewed articles in high impact journals, cited over 20,000 times, and received numerous awards in recognition of his research and scientific accomplishments. He has chaired or co-chaired scientific sessions of the Heart Failure Society of America, International Society of Heart Research and Human Proteomic Organization, amongst others. He is also champion for knowledge translation, integrating the cardiovascular prevention guidelines and healthy heart policy in Canada and internationally.

Robert Beanlands , MD, FRCPC

Chief, Division of Cardiology
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Professor of Medicine (Cardiology) and Radiology, University of Ottawa

Dr. Rob Beanlands is the Chief of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He received his MD from the University of Ottawa in 1983. He is an international leader in cardiovascular nuclear imaging and the founding Director of the Heart Institute’s National Cardiac PET Centre, the only PET facility in Canada dedicated to cardiovascular disease. He is a Career Investigator (HSFC) and is the Tier 1 Chair in Cardiovascular Research (uOttawa). He has served on several committees/advisory boards for government, industry and professional organizations impacting healthcare policies and practice guidelines and serves as an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. He is a Professor in the Divisions of Cardiology and Radiology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Beanlands is past-president of the Canadian Nuclear Cardiology Society, Ontario Governor for the American College of Cardiology and was the Annual Meeting Chair for the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. He is also the incoming deputy chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Scientific Review Committee.

Patrick Burgon , BAppSc, PhD

Lab Director
Molecular Signalling Laboratory
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Assistant Professor of Medicine (Cardiology)
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Member, Faculty of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies
University of Ottawa

Dr. Burgon received his PhD from Monash University (Australia) in 1996. He then completed Postdoctoral Training at Harvard University where he studied the regulation of G-protein coupled receptor signalling in Drs. Peralta and Neer’s labs. Burgon was then a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Associate in Dr. Jon Seidman’s and Dr.Kricket Seidman’s Lab in the Department of Genetics at the Harvard Medical School and a Fellow in Cardiovascular Research at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital where in investigated the genetic basis of cardiomyopathies.

Dr. Burgon joined the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 2005 where he has established and developed a research program that investigates the genetic and molecular basis of the cardiac manifestation of laminopathies as well as the development of the perinatal heart. His research is funded by grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Thierry Mesana , MD, PhD, FECTS, FRCS(C)

Cardiac Surgeon, Div. of Cardiac Surgery
M. Pitfield Chair, Cardiac Surgery
Deputy Director General, University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Professor, University of Ottawa

Dr. Thierry Mesana received his MD degree at University of Méditerranée, Marseille, France where he achieved his training in Thoracic and Cardio-vascular Surgery. He also received a PhD degree in Biophysics at the same University after extensive experimental work on artificial heart and ventricular assist devices. In 1991, he was appointed full Professor of Cardiac Surgery, and in 1997 Chairman of Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at University of Méditerranée, Hopital LaTimone, Marseille, France. He was subsequently recruited by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in October 2001 as Chief Cardiac Surgery. His vision and leadership has led significant changes, particularly with the rapid development of mitral valve repair, minimally invasive valve and coronary surgery. The Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute transformed in the last decade into a strong academic center with a prolific clinical research program in valve surgery and a novel basic science research program focused on regenerative myocardial therapies. He was appointed Deputy Director General of the Heart Institute in 2009. He is certified by the French College and European College of Cardiothoracic Surgeons and by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

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