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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.

David Conen

Scientist

David Conen
Scientist

David Conen is a Scientist at PHRI, which he joined in 2016, and an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, McMaster University. A trained internist and cardiologist from Basel, Switzerland, he obtained a Master of Public Health degree from Harvard University.

His research activities involves the conduct of large epidemiological cohort studies to study risk factors for the occurrence of atrial fibrillation and its consequences, and research into therapies to prevent and treat perioperative atrial fibrillation. David is the Co-Principal Investigator of a large national cohort study to assess the relationship between atrial fibrillation and cognitive decline in Switzerland (Swiss-AF). He has published more than 130 peer-reviewed manuscripts in leading scientific journals as well as several reviews and editorials.

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.

Jason Roberts

Scientist

Jason Roberts
Scientist

Jason Roberts is a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences and an Associate Professor of Medicine at McMaster University. As a clinician researcher, Jason’s interests focus on the genetics of cardiac arrhythmias, and evaluating the clinical utility of new drugs and gene-based therapies as treatments for both rare and common forms of cardiac arrhythmias. Previously, he worked at the University of Western Ontario as part of the London Heart Rhythm Program, where his research focused on refining insights into the clinical and genetic features of inherited arrhythmia syndromes.

He completed his training in cardiac electrophysiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and his cardiology fellowship at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, during which he worked with Spartan Biosciences to develop the first point-of-care genetic test in clinical medicine (trial results published in The Lancet). He holds a Master’s degree in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics from UCSF.

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 is an Assistant Professor (cardiology), Department of Medicine, McMaster University, a cardiologist at Hamilton Health Sciences, and an Investigator in the Arrhythmia and Heart Failure research program at PHRI. 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.

Michael Wang

Research Fellow

Michael Wang
Research Fellow

Michael Ke Wang is a Research Fellow at PHRI and an MSc student in the Health Research Methodology Program at McMaster University, supervised by Dr. David Conen. His main interests are in perioperative medicine and perioperative atrial fibrillation. Michael is actively involved in the conduct of large international perioperative clinical trials coordinated from PHRI; he is the project officer of the COP-AF and ASPIRE-AF trials.

Michael is a Clinical Scholar in the Division of General Internal Medicine at McMaster University. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Ottawa and completed his internal medicine residency, general internal medicine fellowship, and perioperative vascular training at McMaster University.

Isabelle Johansson

Associate Research Fellow

Isabelle Johansson
Associate Research Fellow

Isabelle Johansson was a Research Fellow (2019-2021) at PHRI, supervised by Salim Yusuf, and McMaster University where she pursued 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

Study Team Specialist

Heather Beresh
Study Team Specialist

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.

After years as Associate Program Manager for the Heart Failure and Arrhythmia Program, managing networks such as C-SPIN, and on the ACT COVI-19 research program, Heather was made Study Team Specialist in 2021, to provide regulatory, country and site management expertise to the studies in the Global Health research team. She has as a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences from McMaster University.

Jessica Vincent

Program Director

Jessica Vincent
Program Director

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.

Alex Grinvalds

Senior Research Coordinator

Alex Grinvalds
Senior Research Coordinator

Alex Grinvalds has more than 15 years experience in clinical research, of which 13 have been at PHRI. He has worked on randomized studies, device trials and numerous registries. Currently, Alex is working on studies involving patients with heart failure and arrhythmias.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Queen’s University and a Certificate in Clinical Research from Humber College.

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PIAAF Pharmacy

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

PIAAF Pharmacy was a Canadian multicentre study of atrial fibrillation (AF) screening in the community...

completed

PIAAF SCREEN AF

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The objective of PIAAF SCREEN AF was to offer primary care patients, aged 75 years...

completed

RAAFT

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The objective of the RAAFT study was to determine whether catheter-based pulmonary vein isolation is...

completed

RE-LY

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The objective of the RE-LY study was to demonstrate the efficacy and safety of dabigatran...

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RE-LY ABLE

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The RELY-ABLE study comprised of: The long-term, multi-center extension of dabigatran treatment in patients with...

completed

RE-LY AF Registry

Arrhythmia and Heart Failure

The objective of the RE-LY AF Registry was to evaluate and document the variations in...

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