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Led for decades by Stuart Connolly, PHRI has established novel oral anticoagulants for treating atrial fibrillation (AF), set up the first global registry to identify regional differences in AF, as well as changed Canadian clinical guidelines to eliminate defibrillation testing at the time of ICD insertion (SIMPLE study), and more.

We are investigating cardiac arrhythmias with related complications including heart failure, as well as how we should treat subclinical atrial fibrillation (SCAF) to prevent strokes.

Team Members in Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Stuart Connolly

Senior Scientist

Stuart Connolly
Senior Scientist

Stuart Connolly is a Professor of Medicine at McMaster University and a cardiac electrophysiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences. He became a faculty member at McMaster University in 1983 and was awarded a full professorship in 1994. He was also appointed as the inaugural holder of the Salim Yusuf Chair in Cardiology at McMaster University.

He has published more than 270 scientific articles in the field, and is currently a member of the editorial boards for a number of prominent cardiology journals, including Heart, the American Heart Journal and the Journal of Pacing and Electrophysiology. His main research interests are focused on the evaluation of treatments for heart rhythm disorders. His academic career has been largely devoted to the design and execution of controlled clinical trials in this area.

He holds a Masters degree from Fordham University, New York, and an MD from McGill University in Montreal. He received his specialist training in cardiology at the University of Toronto and at Stanford University.

Jeff Healey

Senior Scientist

Jeff Healey
Senior Scientist

Jeff Healey is a Senior Scientist in the Arrhythmia and Heart Failure research program at PHRI, an Associate Professor, Medicine, McMaster University, and Director of Arrhythmia Services at Hamilton  Health Sciences. His research involves conducting RCTs and large registries in the fields of atrial fibrillation and cardiac devices. He was the lead author of the SIMPLE trial, published in the Lancet in 2015, which demonstrated that implantable defibrillators could be safely inserted without performing intra-operative defibrillation testing.

He was the lead author of the ASSERT trial, published in New England Journal of Medicine in 2012, demonstrating the increased stroke risk associated with sub-clinical atrial fibrillation detected by pacemakers. Thomson-Reuters recognized ASSERT as the 38th most-cited scientific publication in 2012 (#16 in Medicine).

He was principal investigator and chair of the Canadian Stroke Prevention Intervention Network (CSPIN), a ten-year network grant funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Industry. He is the past co-chair of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s Atrial Fibrillation Guidelines Committee. Jeff has published more than 185 manuscripts.

Dr Salim Yusuf, PHRI Executive Director
Dr Salim Yusuf, PHRI Executive Director
Salim Yusuf

Executive Director; Senior Scientist

Salim Yusuf
Executive Director; Senior Scientist

Salim Yusuf is an internationally renowned cardiologist and epidemiologist, whose work over 40 years has substantially influenced prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. Born in India, medically qualified at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore in 1976, he received a Rhodes Scholarship and obtained a DPhil from Oxford, during which he (along with Richard Peto, Rory Collins and Peter Sleight) initiated the concepts of large, simple trials, and meta-analysis. He proposed the concept of combination drug treatment for prevention of CVD to achieve large reductions in CVD with a single pill (now called the polypill concept), but more importantly has been evaluating the concept through large randomized trials.

He leads several global studies involving more than 60 countries in every inhabited continent of the world aimed at enhancing knowledge about the biological, behavioural and societal causes, consequences, and approaches to the control of heart diseases, and strokes through large multi-country programs such as INTERHEART, INTERSTROKE, and PURE.

He holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario Research Chair and has received (among others) the Lifetime Research Achievement award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society; the Paul Wood Silver Medal of the British Cardiac Society; the European Society of Cardiology gold medal, the clinical Research Prize of the American Heart Association and the International Award and the Braunwald Lecture of the American College of Cardiology. He has been inducted into the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame; been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada, and received the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2014. He has received four honorary doctorates, and is among the top 20 most cited health researchers in history.

Salim Yusuf has published more than 1,000 articles in refereed journals, rising to the second most cited researcher in the world for 2011. He has mentored more than 120 scientists, several of whom are in leadership positions across the globe. He has been President of the World Heart Federation (2015-2016), where he initiated several programs (the Emerging Leaders program, road maps for CVD control and a course for training primary care practitioners in CVD prevention) aimed at halving the CVD burden globally within a generation. The World Heart Federation has recognized his contributions by naming the program the Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Programme.

He is a Distinguished University Professor of Medicine, and Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and Chief Scientist, Hamilton Health Sciences.

David Conen

Scientist

David Conen
Scientist

David Conen is an investigator at PHRI, and Associate Professor, Medicine, McMaster University. A clinical cardiologist with training in performing echocardiography, David’s research involves the conduct of large epidemiological cohort studies to study risk factors for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation and its consequences. He is also interested in clinical trials on therapies to prevent atrial fibrillation and the complications associated with the arrhythmia.

He received numerous prestigious grants in Switzerland and is the Principal Investigator of a large national cohort study to assess the relationship between atrial fibrillation and cognitive decline (Swiss-AF). He also leads another large cohort study of young and healthy individuals (GAPP), with a key focus on assessing risk factors for the development of cardiovascular risk factors in the general population.

Harriette Van Spall

Scientist

Harriette Van Spall
Scientist

Harriette Van Spall is a Scientist for the Arrhythmia and Heart Failure research program and the Knowledge Translation and Health Systems program at PHRI, an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine (cardiology) at McMaster University. Her research, supported by CIHR and the Ministry of Health, is in quality of care and outcomes, knowledge translation, and health systems improvement pertaining to heart failure. She has won several research awards, and her work has been published in high-impact medical journals, including JAMA, Lancet, Circulation, and Annals of Internal Medicine.

She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health. She completed postgraduate training in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, and Echocardiography at the University of Toronto.

Philip Joseph

Investigator

Philip Joseph
Investigator

Philip Joseph’s research interests include cardiovascular prevention, global health, heart failure, and cardiac imaging. He is the principal investigator for the PURE-AF substudy, and the SPECT-MINS study, an investigator in the PURE study, and the G-CHF registry. He is also the project officer for the TIPS-3 study. He has published more than 30 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

He is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, with certification in both internal medicine and cardiology. obtained his B.A.Sc at McMaster University in 2000, and his M.D. at Western University in 2004. His internal medicine (2004-2007) and cardiology (2007-2010) residencies were completed at the University of Ottawa. Subsequently, he completed additional clinical training in Nuclear Cardiology at McMaster University (2013), a M.Sc. in Health Research Methodology at McMaster (2010-13), and a post-doctoral research fellowship in PET imaging at Harvard University (2015).

William McIntyre

Investigator

William McIntyre
Investigator

William McIntyre, a cardiologist, is an Investigator in the Arrhythmia and Heart Failure research program at PHRI, and in the Clinician Investigator Program at McMaster University. His research interests include atrial fibrillation – including screening, detection and cardioversion, cardiac devices and methods in randomized clinical trials.

He holds fellowship awards from CIHR and the Canadian Stroke Prevention Intervention Network (C-SPIN). He holds research grants from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) Atrial Fibrillation Awards Program and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. William has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles, and was the 2018 Recipient of the CCS Trainee Excellence in Education Award.  He completed Medical School and Internal Medicine Residency at Queen’s University, and his adult cardiology residency at the University of Manitoba.

Jorge Wong

Investigator

Jorge Wong
Investigator

Jorge Wong is a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences, as well as an investigator in the Arrhythmia and Heart Failure program at PHRI. His research interests focus primarily on the intersection between atrial fibrillation and heart failure, atrial fibrillation epidemiology and catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation. He holds research grants from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and Hamilton Health Sciences.

He obtained his MD at McMaster, followed by his internal medicine and cardiology training at the University of Western Ontario. Jorge subsequently completed his clinical electrophysiology fellowship at the University of Calgary and at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health, and is currently pursuing his PhD in Health Research Methods at McMaster.

Alexander Benz

Research Fellow

Alexander Benz
Research Fellow

Alexander Benz joined the Arrhythmia Research group at PHRI, supervised by Stuart Connolly, as a research fellow in January 2019, and is enrolled in the Health Research Methodology program at McMaster University. His primary research interest is clinical electrophysiology, with a particular focus on atrial fibrillation. Other areas of interest include oral anticoagulation in various settings, inflammation, cardiac implantable electronic devices and interventions such as catheter ablation.

He is actively involved in the conduct of large international clinical trials coordinated at PHRI. Alexander is the Principal Investigator of a randomized clinical trial testing a short-course treatment with colchicine in the setting of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation that started enrollment in January 2020.

Alexander obtained his medical degree from Goethe University in Frankfurt (Germany) in 2015. He is pursuing a career in Cardiology.

Isabelle Johansson

Research Fellow

Isabelle Johansson
Research Fellow

Isabelle Johansson is a Research Fellow at PHRI, supervised by Salim Yusuf, and McMaster University where she is pursuing a Masters in Health Research Methodology, clinical epidemiology. Her main research interests are in heart failure, diabetes, global health, and cardiovascular disease prevention. At PHRI, she is an Investigator in the G-CHF-study and the PURE study. Isabelle was in the 2019 cohort of the World Heart Federation Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Programme, focusing on reducing the burden of heart failure globally.

She obtained her M.D. from the Karolinska Institutet Medical University, Stockholm, Sweden in 2014 and has completed two out five years of clinical training in a residency in family medicine. She completed her Ph.D. in medical sciences at the Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine in 2017 where she studied epidemiological aspects of heart failure in combination with diabetes. Isabelle was part of the European Society of Cardiology task force writing the guidelines for the management of diabetes and cardiovascular disease presented in September 2019.

Tara McCready

Program Director

Tara McCready
Program Director

Tara McCready, PhD, oversees a variety of collaborative programs at PHRI, and serves as Project Manager for PHRI research studies and registries.

She was recruited to PHRI as a Program Director for the Canadian Network and Centre for Trials Internationally (CANNeCTIN), a national network funded by the CIHR/CFI Clinical Research Initiative program to improve the prevention and treatment of cardiac and vascular diseases and diabetes.

Previously the Executive Director of the Canadian Maternal, Infant, Child and Youth Research Network, Tara holds a PhD in Biochemistry and a MBA in Technology Commercialization from the University of Alberta.

Heather Beresh

Associate Program Manager

Heather Beresh
Associate Program Manager

Heather Beresh has worked at PHRI since May 2002, largely devoted to managing global, multi-centre clinical trials of antithrombotic therapies in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). She started as research coordinator for the ACTIVE study evaluating dual antiplatelet therapy and angiotensin receptor blockers in patients with AF, then continued with oversight of the AVERROES open label extension trial evaluating a novel oral anticoagulant in the same population, and ARTESiA evaluating anticoagulant therapy in patients with subclinical AF.

In addition, she has coordinated trials of ablation procedures versus anti-arrhythmic medications and trials evaluating screening strategies for AF. Heather also manages network collaborations, including the Canadian Stroke Prevention Intervention Network (CSPIN). She has as a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences from McMaster University.

Jessica Vincent

Associate Program Manager

Jessica Vincent
Associate Program Manager

Jessica Vincent has more than 15 years’ experience in coordinating and managing large, international clinical trials. As Associate Program Manager, she oversees interventional trials, registries, and observational research studies in the areas of perioperative medicine, cardiac surgery, and digital health.

She holds an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree from Queens University, and a Master of Clinical Epidemiology Degree from the University of Newcastle.

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AFOTS Recurrence

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Atrial fibrillation (AF) often occurs transiently in the setting of an acute stressor (e.g. medical...

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ARCADIA

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Recent data suggest that a thrombogenic atrial substrate can cause stroke in the absence of...

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ARTESiA

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The objective of ARTESiA is to determine if treatment with apixaban, compared with aspirin, will...

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ATLAS S-ICD

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

ATLAS S-ICD is a multi-centered, randomized, open-label, parallel group trial evaluating whether a subcutaneous ICD...

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Edoxaban AF Registry

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The Edoxaban AF Registry is an observational post-marketing multicentric open-label study evaluating the safety and...

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G-CHF

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) is a rapidly increasing disease worldwide but there is no global HF...

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IMPROVE-PVI Pilot

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Recurrence is a common problem after catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF), affecting at least...

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PROTECT-HF

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Heart failure (HF) is the leading cause of hospitalization in patients  older than 65 years...

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SCAF-HF

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very common co-morbidity in patients with heart failure (HF). In...

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