INMD Institute Advisory Board Members – Biographies
Julie Ho (Chair)
Departments of Internal Medicine & Immunology
Sections of Nephrology and Biomedical Proteomics
College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Manitoba
Dr. Ho is a transplant nephrologist and clinician-scientist at the University of Manitoba. She is a principal investigator at the Manitoba Center for Proteomics and Systems Biology and Medical Director for Quality and Innovation Program, Transplant Manitoba Adult Kidney Program. Her translational research interests focus on using different proteomic approaches to improve our understanding of the human responses to early renal injury, and to use these data to develop new diagnostic or therapeutic targets to improve kidney transplant and patient outcomes. The focus is on three key inflammatory states that negatively impact outcomes and occur throughout the lifespan of a renal transplant: ischemia reperfusion injury, subclinical T-cell mediated rejection and chronic active T-cell mediated rejection. She is presently conducting a CIHR-funded international multi-center clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of the early treatment of rejection, as detected by urine chemokines, for improving renal allograft outcomes.
Dr. Ho has received a MMSF Dr. FW DuVal Clinical Research Professorship (2014), American Society of Transplantation Clinical Science Career Development Award (2014), Canadian Society of Nephrology New Investigator Lectureship (2014) and CIHR New Investigator award (2015).
André Tchernof, PhD (Vice-Chair)
Professor, School of Nutrition, Laval University
Co-Director, Research Chair in Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, Obesity Tissue Biobank and Obesity Research Division, Quebec Heart and Lung Institute
Principal Investigator, Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team Grant on bariatric care - the REMISSION study
André Tchernof is a Professor at Laval University School of Nutrition since 2000. After a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry (1991), a Master’s degree (1992) and a Doctoral degree (1996) in Physiology-Endocrinology at Laval University, he trained as a postdoctoral fellow in Molecular Endocrinology (Laval University Medical Center, 1996-97) and in Endocrinology & Metabolism at the University of Vermont (1997-2000). He is co-director of the Research Chair in Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery and Obesity Tissue Biobank at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute. He is currently the Principal Investigator of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team Grant on bariatric care, the REMISSION study. He contributed to more than 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals. His research interests relate to the metabolic complications of obesity and body fat distribution, with a particular emphasis on adipose tissue physiology. Experimental approaches combine cellular biology techniques with biochemistry, genomics, transcriptomics and clinical investigation in humans. His research allows clinical observations to be linked with the cellular characteristics or mechanisms underlying pathophysiological conditions such as abdominal obesity and related cardiometabolic complications.
Professor, Department of Paediatrics and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Senior Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, SickKids Research Institute
Senior Core Scientist, ICES
Eric Benchimol is a pediatric gastroenterologist specializing in the care of children with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). He is also an epidemiologist and health services researcher focused on the use of health administrative data to assess the incidence, environmental risk factors, and outcomes of children and adult with chronic diseases. He holds the Northbridge Financial Corporation Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a joint Hospital-University Chair between the University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children, and the SickKids Foundation.
Dr. Benchimol chairs the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium (CanGIEC), which conducts epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, outcomes, and health services research using the health administrative data from multiple provinces. By using a distributed network methodology, CanGIEC is able to assess the national picture of IBD in Canada despite the provincial nature of our health system.
Dr. Benchimol also has an interest in improving the methods used to conduct research using routinely-collected health data. In that capacity, he co-chairs of the RECORD Steering Committee, an international group which has created reporting guidelines for observational studies that use routine-collected health data for research.
Director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
National Institutes of Health
Dr. William T. Cefalu is the Director of the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases (DEM) at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), National Institutes of Health (NIH). Prior to joining the NIH in August 2019, Dr. Cefalu served as Chief Scientific, Medical & Mission Officer of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). From 2012 to 2017, Dr. Cefalu was the Executive Director, the George A. Bray, Jr. Endowed Super Chair in Nutrition and a professor at Louisiana State University’s (LSU’s) Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Pennington Biomedical) in Baton Rouge, La.
During his nearly 35-year career as a physician caring for patients, a scientist and a health care expert, Dr. Cefalu has been an active leader within the endocrine and diabetes scientific and medical communities. As an extramural investigator, Dr. Cefalu had research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for more than 25 years and was the principal investigator for two NIH research centers. His clinical and basic science research focused specifically on interventions to improve the metabolic state of individuals with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and in the cellular mechanisms for insulin resistance. In addition, over his career, he has played an active role in scholarly publications. From 2003 to 2011, he served as Associate Editor of Diabetes Care, the ADA’s clinical research and care journal, and Diabetes, the ADA’s basic science journal. From 2011-2017, he served as the editor-in-chief of Diabetes Care, and under tenure, Diabetes Care achieved the highest impact factor in its history.
Dr. Cefalu earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Southeastern Louisiana University and his Doctor of Medicine from LSU Heath Science Center, New Orleans. He completed his Internal Medicine residency and served as chief resident at the University of California, Irvine, Veterans Affairs Long Beach Healthcare System. He completed a fellowship in Endocrinology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, Center for Health Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to his tenure at the ADA and Pennington Biomedical, he has also held academic appointments at Tulane University School of Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Dr. Cefalu is widely published in journals, books and book chapters, including more than 300 publications and 25 book chapters, and served as the editor of five books on the management of diabetes.
Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine Dentistry, Western University
Dr. Robert Zhong Chair in Translational Transplant Research
Medical Director - Multi-Organ Transplant Program, London Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Gunaratnam is a nephrologist and Associate Professor of Medicine at Western University. He currently holds the Dr. Robert Zhang Chair in Translational Transplant Research at Western and is Medical Director of Kidney Transplantation at the London Health Sciences Center. Dr. Gunaratnam leads a basic and translational research program focused on the biological mechanisms underlying acute kidney injury, prolonging the lifespan of kidney transplants, and novel treatments for kidney cancer. His research program is supported by peer-reviewed funding from several agencies including: the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. He holds several advisory and leadership positions in Canadian medical organizations, including, Canadian Blood Services, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Canadian Society of Transplantation, and the Ontario Medical Association.
Dr. Gunaratnam completed his undergraduate and graduate training at the University of Toronto in immunology, before attending medical school at the University of Ottawa. He went on to complete research and clinical fellowships at Harvard Medical School before being recruited to Western University.
Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick leads a public health nutrition research program in the School of Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo. Her research primarily focuses on understanding dietary patterns in populations and influences on these patterns, using a systems thinking lens to consider the array of factors at play. Much of her work is aimed at improving dietary assessment methodologies to foster a robust evidence base on the influence of dietary patterns on human and planetary health and on effective interventions to promote healthy and sustainable dietary patterns. She has contributed to the development of freely-available and highly-accessed resources for researchers, including an online dietary assessment primer, web-based dietary assessment tool, and diet quality index. Dr. Kirkpatrick also has longstanding interests in food security and equity. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Master of Health Science in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto.
Vasanti S. Malik, MSc, ScD
Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Vasanti Malik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, at the University of Toronto and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention. Dr. Malik’s research uses epidemiological and clinical approaches to study dietary and lifestyle determinants of obesity and cardiometabolic risk at different life stages and in different populations. More recent research interests of Dr. Malik include studying the environmental sustainability of diets and food systems. She is an Associate Editor for Nutrition and Health and has published over 95 peer-reviewed scientific articles and 4 book chapters. The ultimate goal of Dr. Malik's work is to inform dietary recommendations and policy strategies to support human and planetary health.
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Ottawa
Scientist, University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Erin Mulvihill is an Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and is a Scientist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. She completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario with Dr. Murray Huff and her post-doctoral training at Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital with Dr. Daniel Drucker. Dr. Mulvihill established her independent research program in July 2017, and a major focus of her lab is to elucidate how diabetes contributes to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Professor of Nutrition, Université de Montréal
Director, Montreal Diabetes Research Center (MDRC)
Marc Prentki, PhD, is Professor of Nutrition at the Université de Montréal and was a Tier 1 Canadian Research Chair in Diabetes & Metabolism for two terms until July 2019. He is Director of the Montreal Diabetes Research Center (MDRC) that he founded in 2004. This center comprises 58 teams across Quebec. His research concerns the regulation of insulin secretion in the normal and diabetic situation, metabolic transduction systems and the role of glucose and lipid metabolism in energy homeostasis. His recent work has identified two therapeutic targets for cardiometabolic diseases. He currently develops drugs with industry for these two targets (ABHD6 and PGP-G3PP). He has published over 170 peer-reviewed articles collectively cited more than 28,000 times (H index=88). He was PI of three successful CFI applications in the field of cardiometabolic disorders since 2004 totalizing $38M. He codirected the first genome wide association study of a complex disorder that lead to the identification of novel type 2 diabetes genes (Nature 2007; Genome QC/CDN 2006, $16M). He was awarded the young investigator prize of the Federation of European Endocrinology Societies in 1994; the 2011 Albert Renold Award from the European Association for the Study of Diabetes; the prize of excellence of CRCHUM in 2017; a seven-year "Foundation" funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in 2015; and the prize of the founders from CMDO, QC in 2018.
Research Professor, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal
Director, Hepato-Neuro Laboratory, Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de Université de Montréal (CRCHUM)
Dr. Christopher Rose is Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Université de Montréal. He is director of the Hepato-Neuro Laboratory, located at Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de Université de Montréal (CRCHUM). Dr. Rose is co-chair of the Research Committee of the Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver and an executive committee member of the International Society for Hepatic Encephalopathy and Nitrogen Metabolism.
Dr. Rose received his PhD (Neuroscience/Biomedical Sciences) from the Université de Montréal in 2000. He continued his research interests in Europe by pursuing post-doctoral studies in Germany, Spain and Norway. He joined faculty in 2006.
Dr. Rose’s research interests lie within the area of hepatology with a particular focus on hepatic encephalopathy (HE), a major neurological complication of liver disease. HE affects close to 80% of patients with cirrhosis impacting their quality of life and resulting in significant socioeconomic burden, morbidity and mortality both pre and post-liver transplantation. Malnutrition and sarcopenia, nearly universal in patients with chronic liver disease, are intricately implicated in the pathogenesis of HE via the gut-liver-muscle-brain axis. Translational research is the primary objective of Dr. Rose’s laboratory and, therefore, his research program is based on a bench-to-bedside concept. Dr. Rose has a vested interest in deciphering the role of ammonia and the pathophysiological pathways involved in the development of HE. Identifying novel therapeutic strategies is his passion with the ultimate goal in helping to improve the management of patients living liver disease as well as bettering neurological outcome following liver transplantation.
Dr. Rose’s laboratory is currently funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Canadian Liver Foundation, and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé. Dr. Rose has published over 85 scientific articles and trained over 65 students at all levels from throughout the world in his laboratory.
Western Regional School of Nursing
Grenfell Campus-Memorial University of Newfoundland Corner Brook
Erica Samms-Hurley is a Mi’kmaq woman from Newfoundland and a member of the Qalipu First Nation. Erica earned her BN (2004) from Memorial University and her MN (2014) from Athabasca University. Over the years, she has worked as a nurse in various settings such as cardiac care, pediatrics, long term care, emergency and intensive care at the Western Memorial Regional Hospital in Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Erica’s career in health education has included working as a Diabetes Educator, Nurse Instructor, and most recently Nurse Educator with Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. In 2014 she completed her Master of Nursing via thesis route, with a primary focus on quantitative research, focusing on pediatric nursing and simulation with nursing students. Over a number of years, Erica has dedicated her time volunteering on numerous committees locally, provincially and nationally, such as the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s (NWAC) Youth Council and Board of Directors, NWAC’s Health Advisory Committee, and the Indigenous Women’s Fund of Canada. She has also been recognized for her achievements and contributions by the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case (Youth) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award. Erica’s main areas of interest are education, health and the well-being of Aboriginal youth and women. She believes that research is an important aspect of nursing, and more specifically in relation to the advancement of health.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Gastroenterology, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, University of British Columbia
Dr. Sly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and serves as Associate Dean, Academic in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Sly is the Leader of the Immunity in Health and Disease group and serves on the Research Leadership Council at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. She formerly served as a member of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Council for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada and is currently serving as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.
Dr. Sly hails from Winnipeg where she completed her BSc and MSc degree in Biochemistry and Microbiology. She received her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Alberta and did her postdoctoral research at the University of British Columbia before she joined the faculty there in 2008.
Dr. Sly’s research includes foundational studies regarding macrophage activation in health and disease and the identification and validation of novel biochemical and/or immunotherapeutic strategies and targets to treat pathological inflammation like that which causes inflammatory bowel diseases. Her work is funded by CIHR, NSERC, GlycoNet, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR). Dr. Sly has published more than 60 scholarly articles and has an h-index of 33 and an i-index of 47. She has received New Investigator awards from the CIHR (2009), the Society for Leukocyte Biology (2012), MSFHR (2012), Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CIHR INMD partnership prize; 2020), and won the Research Leadership Award from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (2019). Dr. Sly is committed to excellence in graduate and postdoctoral education that prepares trainees to take their place among the research, scientific, and thought leaders around the world.
President & CEO, Diabetes Canada
Transformational Not-for-Profit Executive
Laura is the President & CEO of Diabetes Canada, the country’s largest national charitable organization working to end diabetes. In this role, Laura leads a $35M organization with 100 staff across Canada focused on preventing, caring for people living with, and curing diabetes through investments in education, advocacy and scientific research.
Prior to leading Diabetes Canada, Laura had the privilege of steering and managing high-performance teams for three well-known not-for-profits over the past 20 years including the Arthritis Society, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Before her work in the not-for-profit sector, Laura worked in the for-profit sector at consumer packages goods leader Procter & Gamble, holding senior marketing positions in the Canada business until her move into not-for-profit.
Laura holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin. She has two teenage boys and enjoys golf, yoga and cooking. In addition to her family and her professional career, Laura is a life-long volunteer.
George Tolomiczenko, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
Merkin Institute for Translational Research
California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
Dr. Tolomiczenko serves as Executive Director of the Merkin Institute for Translational Research at Caltech. His interdisciplinary experience as a clinician, researcher, professor and administrator jointly inform his inclusive approach toward fostering cultures of innovation and entrepreneurship conducive to stakeholders aiming to translate ideas into products that improve health and healthcare delivery. Breakthroughs in science and engineering at Caltech are legendary - and numerous. Translating these research advances to improve healthcare requires breaking through barriers and adaptive tailoring to sustainably address needs and solve problems. At Caltech, Dr. Tolomiczenko works with a diverse set of internal and external stakeholders to foster collaborations that will result in new paths to cures and improved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare.
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