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Executive Committee

PHRI’s Executive Committee is accountable to the Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University (Paul O’Byrne) and the CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences (Rob MacIsaac), as well as to the Hamilton Health Sciences Research Institute (HHSRI) board.

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.

Hertzel Gerstein

Deputy Director; Senior Scientist

Hertzel Gerstein
Deputy Director; Senior Scientist

Hertzel Gerstein is Deputy Director, PHRI, and our Senior Scientific Program Lead, Diabetes, as well as a Professor, Medicine, McMaster University. He is also Director of the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism and Director of the Diabetes Care and Research Program. He has pioneered the application of large simple outcome trials to people with diabetes globally, and developed the concept of dysglycemia as an important risk factor for many of the serious health outcomes that afflict people with an elevated glucose level regardless of diabetes status. He currently leads clinical trials and epidemiological studies related to: a) the prevention and therapy of diabetes and its many consequences, and b) the role of dysglycemia and relative insulin insufficiency on the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and other chronic conditions. Key studies in which he has played or continues to play a major leadership role include HOPE, MICRO HOPE, ACCORD, DREAM, EpiDREAM, ORIGIN, TIDE, ACE, ELIXA and REWIND.

Hertzel Gerstein has published more than 300 papers, editorials and commentaries, mainly on diabetes-related issues and co-edited the textbook Evidence-Based Diabetes Care. He is an Associate Editor for ACP Journal Club, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Diabetes and Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. He has received several honors including the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Young Scientist Award (1999), Frederick G. Banting award (1999), Charles H. Best award (2007) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2012).

Sonia Anand

Senior Scientist

Sonia Anand
Senior Scientist

Sonia Anand is Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, McMaster University, Director of the university’s Population Genomics Program, and Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity, Department of Medicine.

Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. She has published more than 200 articles in peer review journals, has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

PJ Devereaux

Senior Scientist

PJ Devereaux
Senior Scientist

PJ Devereaux is Senior Scientific Lead, Perioperative and Surgery, PHRI, Professor and University Scholar in the Departments of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) and Medicine at McMaster University, and Director of the Division of Cardiology at McMaster.

The focus of his clinic research is vascular complications around the time of surgery, leading several large, international RCTs and observational studies addressing this issue. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers and more than 50 book chapters and editorials. He is supported by a Tier 1 Canadian Research Chair in Perioperative Medicine, and holds the Yusuf Chair in Cardiology at McMaster University.

Janette Panhuis

Chief Operating Officer

Janette Panhuis
Chief Operating Officer

Janette Panhuis joined PHRI in 2009 as the Director, Quality Assurance responsible for Quality Systems, moving into the Chief Operating Officer position in April 2011. In addition to bringing over 10 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in Quality Assurance, she has the clinical training and expertise to support and direct operations of PHRI research and development.

Prior to joining PHRI, Janette held roles in the clinical environment including Cardiovascular ICU nursing at Toronto General Hospital, progressing to senior administrative roles at the hospital before moving into Clinical Trial Project Management and Research Administration in industry. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from York University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario.

Leadership Council

PHRI’s Leadership Council, accountable to the Executive Committee, meets quarterly and hosts broader strategic retreats up to two times annually to identify and carry out research goals. Chaired by Executive Director Salim Yusuf, the Leadership Council includes senior researchers as well as department heads at PHRI.

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.

Hertzel Gerstein

Deputy Director; Senior Scientist

Hertzel Gerstein
Deputy Director; Senior Scientist

Hertzel Gerstein is Deputy Director, PHRI, and our Senior Scientific Program Lead, Diabetes, as well as a Professor, Medicine, McMaster University. He is also Director of the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism and Director of the Diabetes Care and Research Program. He has pioneered the application of large simple outcome trials to people with diabetes globally, and developed the concept of dysglycemia as an important risk factor for many of the serious health outcomes that afflict people with an elevated glucose level regardless of diabetes status. He currently leads clinical trials and epidemiological studies related to: a) the prevention and therapy of diabetes and its many consequences, and b) the role of dysglycemia and relative insulin insufficiency on the development of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment and other chronic conditions. Key studies in which he has played or continues to play a major leadership role include HOPE, MICRO HOPE, ACCORD, DREAM, EpiDREAM, ORIGIN, TIDE, ACE, ELIXA and REWIND.

Hertzel Gerstein has published more than 300 papers, editorials and commentaries, mainly on diabetes-related issues and co-edited the textbook Evidence-Based Diabetes Care. He is an Associate Editor for ACP Journal Club, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Diabetes and Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. He has received several honors including the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Young Scientist Award (1999), Frederick G. Banting award (1999), Charles H. Best award (2007) and Lifetime Achievement Award (2012).

PJ Devereaux

Senior Scientist

PJ Devereaux
Senior Scientist

PJ Devereaux is Senior Scientific Lead, Perioperative and Surgery, PHRI, Professor and University Scholar in the Departments of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact (HEI) and Medicine at McMaster University, and Director of the Division of Cardiology at McMaster.

The focus of his clinic research is vascular complications around the time of surgery, leading several large, international RCTs and observational studies addressing this issue. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers and more than 50 book chapters and editorials. He is supported by a Tier 1 Canadian Research Chair in Perioperative Medicine, and holds the Yusuf Chair in Cardiology at McMaster University.

Robert Hart

Senior Scientist

Robert Hart
Senior Scientist

Robert Hart is Professor of Medicine (Neurology) at McMaster University and a vascular neurologist at Hamilton Health Sciences. After completing a fellowship in cerebrovascular disease at the Oregon Health Sciences University, he spent most of his career at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio before relocating to McMaster University in September 2011.

He has a long-standing interest in stroke, stroke research, and clinical trials. He has directed several randomized clinical trials serving as the principal investigator of the NIH/NINDS-sponsored Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation (SPAF) I, II and III trials (1987-2000) and co-principal investigator of the NIH/NINDS-sponsored Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes (SPS3) randomized trials (2001-2013). Antithrombotic therapies to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation and especially novel oral anticoagulants are areas of special interest. He has published more than 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Shamir Mehta

Senior Scientist

Shamir Mehta
Senior Scientist

Shamir Mehta is a Senior Scientist with the Acute Coronary Syndrome and Interventional Cardiology research program at PHRI, a Professor of Medicine at McMaster University, and Director of the Interventional Cardiology program at Hamilton Health Sciences. His research focuses on the role and timing of invasive therapies in patients with acute ischemic heart disease, and the evaluation of novel antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies in these patients.

He has led several large pragmatic randomized trials evaluating invasive interventional strategies in patients with acute coronary syndromes. He has also lead multinational randomized trials evaluating novel antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies to improve outcomes in patients experiencing a heart attack.

Shamir Mehta has published 127 original research papers in several medical journals including The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, JAMA, and Circulation. His success in research has earned him a coveted Canada’s Top 40 under 40TM award in 2004, and he has received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Career Award.

Janette Panhuis

Chief Operating Officer

Janette Panhuis
Chief Operating Officer

Janette Panhuis joined PHRI in 2009 as the Director, Quality Assurance responsible for Quality Systems, moving into the Chief Operating Officer position in April 2011. In addition to bringing over 10 years of pharmaceutical industry experience in Quality Assurance, she has the clinical training and expertise to support and direct operations of PHRI research and development.

Prior to joining PHRI, Janette held roles in the clinical environment including Cardiovascular ICU nursing at Toronto General Hospital, progressing to senior administrative roles at the hospital before moving into Clinical Trial Project Management and Research Administration in industry. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from York University and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario.

Tanya Chow

Research Counsel and Director of Contracts

Tanya Chow
Research Counsel and Director of Contracts

Tanya Chow is responsible for providing strategic legal advice and contracting expertise to PHRI, with the goal of cultivating a client-centered, proactive legal office. She directs and manages the daily operations of the Contracts department, a dedicated team of contract specialists, coordinators and administrators.

She is a corporate commercial lawyer with 10+ years of experience in the healthcare and research sectors. Tanya received her LL.M. (Health Law) from York University, her LL.B. and Masters of Health Services Administration from Dalhousie University, and her B.Sc. and B.A.(Hons) from Queen’s University.

Beena Cracknell

Director, Financial Services

Beena Cracknell
Director, Financial Services

Beena Cracknell and her team manage around 200 cost centers and more than 350 members of the PHRI family. She is a Certified General Accountant, an accounting graduate of Ryerson University.

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.

Sumathy Rangarajan

Program Director

Sumathy Rangarajan
Program Director

Sumathy Rangarajan has been Program Director, Global Health, since 2016, preceded by many years’ service at PHRI in other roles. She oversees the PURE study team, as well as the INVICTUS rheumatic AF treatment trial, the CANPWR pediatric weight management registry, and others.

She holds both a Bachelor of Science Degree and a Master of Science degree from Pune University in India.

Andrew Renner

Director, ICT

Andrew Renner
Director, ICT

Andrew Renner provides strategic leadership for PHRI’s information and communication technology (ICT) department, which includes infrastructure, information management solutions, telecommunication platforms that support the organization’s service offerings internally and externally. He is also responsible for the ICT governance structures that harmonize organizational objectives with performance goals and metrics.

He received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical and Computer Science, and his Bachelor of Kinesiology, from McMaster University, and has more than 15 years’ ICT experience.

Dr Shrikant Bangdiwala
Dr Shrikant Bangdiwala
Shrikant Bangdiwala

Director, Statistics; Senior Scientist

Shrikant Bangdiwala
Director, Statistics; Senior Scientist

Shrikant Bangdiwala, PhD, has extensive experience in the design, conduct and analysis of multi-center observational and experimental studies, having worked on clinical and community-based randomized controlled trials in congestive heart failure, cardiovascular risk factors, functional bowel disease, and obesity prevention. His statistical research interests include non-parametric methods, methodology for clinical trials, reliability and validity of diagnostic tests, and graphical methods for descriptive analyses.

A Professor in McMaster University’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, he is a former Fulbright senior specialist in global public health, and holds faculty positions in universities in Chile, South Africa and India.

He is a member of the USA NIH National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) “COVID-19 Preventive mAb Data and Safety Monitoring Board” (DSMB) that will be reviewing and monitoring the US government-supported clinical trials of candidate preventive monoclonal Antibodies for SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. He also chairs the Multinational DSMB for the division of AIDS at NIH, and is a member of the Gastrointestinal Drugs Advisory Committee of the FDA.

Sonia Anand

Senior Scientist

Sonia Anand
Senior Scientist

Sonia Anand is Professor, Medicine and Epidemiology, McMaster University, Director of the university’s Population Genomics Program, and Associate Chair, Diversity and Equity, Department of Medicine.

Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease. She has published more than 200 articles in peer review journals, has been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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.

International Scientific Advisory Board

Our International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) was formed for the purpose of providing scientific and strategic direction to PHRI’s Executive Committee. The ISAB members are:

  • Chair: Sir Rory Collins, University of Oxford, UK
  • Co-Chair: Alan Bernstein, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)
  • Robert Califf, Google Health, founder of Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI)
  • Lord Ajay Kakkar, University College London, UK
  • Mark Lathrop, McGill University, Canada
  • Alan Lopez, University of Melbourne, Australia
  • Sudha Seshadri, UT Health San Antonio, USA

HHSRI Board

Stewardship of the PHRI Research Endowment is provided by board members of the Hamilton Health Sciences Research Institute (HHSRI), registered charitable organization that helps fund the advancement of health science research, education and the improvement of patient care all in support of the strategic priorities of HHS Corporation. HHSRI board members:

  • Chair: Craig Laviolette, VP, Siemens Canada
  • Rob MacIsaac, CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences
  • Paul O’Byrne, Dean and VP, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster UniversityMarvin Ryder, Asst. Prof., Marketing, McMaster
  • Akbar Panju, Professor of Medicine, McMaster
  • Robert Jones, former Chair of Board, Hamilton Health Sciences

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