WE ARE DEDICATED TO HELPING THOSE DIAGNOSED WITH PREMATURE ATHEROSCLEROTIC CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE.

Study to Avoid cardioVascular Events in British Columbia (SAVE BC) is led by a team of experienced and passionate healthcare professionals and genetic counsellors. With the support of an experienced steering committee and various other collaborators, we’re well equipped to uncover new answers and treatments for those diagnosed with premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

OUR TEAM MEMBERS:

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Dr. Simon Pimstone

Principal Investigator

MD, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Simon Pimstone received his MD from the University of Cape Town. He is an internal medicine specialist with an interest in cardiovascular disease. Prior to his specialization, he trained as a clinical research fellow with the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC and obtained his PhD through the University of Amsterdam in cardiovascular genetics.

Dr. Pimstone is a founder and co-Principal Investigator of SAVE BC, a provincial program of families with very premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. After seeing two close friends suffer heart attacks under forty years of age, he was moved to establish a screening platform in BC to ensure all is done to identify high risk individuals as early as possible. SAVE BC was the solution to this challenge.

Dr. Pimstone is also a founder, Director, and Chief Executive Officer at Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., a leading Canadian biotechnology company (Nasdaq: XENE). He has also held positions on a number of life sciences and biotechnology boards.

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Dr. Liam Brunham

Principal Investigator

MD, PhD, FRCPC

Liam Brunham is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a Principal Investigator at the Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation. Dr. Brunham completed his PhD at UBC in Medical Genetics and was awarded the Governor’s General’s gold medal, the most prestigious award offered to graduating doctoral students at Canadian Universities. Dr. Brunham is a general internist with a focus on clinical lipidology and is an attending physician at the Healthy Heart Program Prevention Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital, one of the largest specialty lipid clinics in Canada.

Dr. Brunham’s research focuses on understanding how changes in specific genes contribute to differences in drug-response as well as to alterations in plasma lipid levels and their relationship to metabolic and cardiovascular disease. Together with Dr. Simon Pimstone, he is co-Principal Investigator of SAVE BC. As a physician focused on prevention of cardiovascular disease and a geneticist studying the genetics of cardiovascular disease, he is deeply committed to developing innovative new approaches to reduce the burden of premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease in British Columbia.

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Chad Brown

Senior Research Coordinator

BSc

Chad Brown joined the SAVE BC team in May 2017 as a Research Coordinator. He completed his BSc (Honours) in Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences with a Minor in Arts in Psychology at the University of British Columbia in May 2018.

For his co-operative education (co-op) placement, Chad worked as a Research Coordinator with the Colorectal Surgery Group at St. Paul's Hospital. This experience ignited his passion for clinical research and led him to the SAVE BC team. Chad is excited to see clinical research from a new perspective and contribute towards this groundbreaking and impactful study.

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Emilie Théberge

Research Coordinator

BSc

Emilie Theberge joined the SAVE BC team as a Research Coordinator in July 2019. In May 2017, she graduated from UBC with a BSc. Major in Biology, specializing in genetics and development, and also completed a Minor in Psychology. She has extensive experience in project management and genetics research, having most recently published an investigation of the genetic epidemiology of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

Emilie loves to apply herself in clinical research to help empower people to make more informed decisions about their health and well-being. She looks forward to deepening her knowledge of the genetics of cardiovascular disease, improving her managerial and analytical skills as a coordinator, and helping to contribute to the long-term success of the SAVE BC program.

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Diana Vikulova

PhD Student

MD, PhD (pending)

Diana received her Medical Degree (Honours) from Ural State Medical Academy in Russia. After completing the postgraduate specialization in Neurology, she worked as a neurologist in a Vascular Neurology (stroke) unit. Working every day with stroke patients, Diana developed a deep interest in pathophysiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Besides clinical work, Diana participated as a researcher and study coordinator in many international multicenter clinical studies and collaborative clinical research projects on topics of neurorehabilitation and brain stimulation, epilepsy, migraine, and intensive care.
In SAVE BC, Dr. Vikulova’s personal research is focused on cardiovascular risk assessment and primary prevention in patients with premature cardiovascular disease.

OUR STEERING COMMITTEE:

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Dr. Amir Ahmadi

Steering Committee Member

MD, FRCPC, FACC, FSCCT

After completing his medical education, internal medicine residency, and cardiology fellowship at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Ahmadi moved to New York for advanced training in multi-modality cardiovascular imaging including echocardiography, interventional echocardiography, cardiac CT angiography, and cardiac MRI. He subsequently joined the faculty at Mount Sinai Heart as an Assistant Professor and currently serves as the co-Director of Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and Associate Program Director for the cardiology fellowship training program at Mount Sinai St Luke’s Hospital. His clinical practice includes cardiac intensive care unit (CICU), multi-modality cardiovascular imaging, and outpatient cardiology. Dr. Ahmadi is an adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia. He is the founder and Director of the Early Atherosclerosis Clinic at St Paul’s Hospital.

Dr. Ahmadi’s research interests revolve around the use of multi-modality imaging in understanding various cardiovascular disease processes. In particular, he has been focusing on using CT coronary angiography in early detection of atherosclerosis, aggressive treatment of subclinical atherosclerosis, fostering the understanding of mechanism of myocardial infarction, and the relationship between high risk plaque features and ischemia. Dr. Ahmadi has published numerous original research articles and hypothesis generating manuscripts in high impact journals such as JACC, European Heart Journal, JAMA Cardiology, JACC CV Imaging, Circulation Research, Circulation CV imaging, and Radiology. He has been the recipient of multiple institutional, national, and international awards.

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Dr. Christopher Fordyce

Steering Committee Member

MD, MHS, MSc, FRCPC

Dr. Christopher Fordyce is a clinical Assistant Professor within the Division of Cardiology at the University of British Columbia, Director of the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Vancouver General Hospital, and a Scientist in the Cardiovascular Health Program at CHÉOS. He completed a clinical research fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, as well as further subspecialty training in cardiac critical care at Duke University Hospital.

His clinical and research interests lie predominantly in cardiac critical care, including myocardial infarction and cardiac arrest, as well as evaluation and treatment of stable coronary disease and antithrombotic therapy in atrial fibrillation. Following medical school at McGill University, he trained in both internal medicine and cardiology at the University of British Columbia. He also completed the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Master’s of Health Science in Clinical Research through the Duke School of Medicine. He is a recipient of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Health Professional-Investigator Award.

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Dr. Gordon Francis

Steering Committee Member

MD, FRCPC, FAHA

Dr. Gordon Francis is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Department of Medicine based at St. Paul’s Hospital, University of British Columbia. Since 2007, he has served as Director of the Healthy Heart Program Prevention (Lipid Disorders) Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital and was previously the Director of the Cardiovascular Risk Reduction Clinic at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, AB from 2000-2007. From 2013-2018, he was Associate Director of the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation, Providence Health Care Research Institute, also based at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Dr. Francis is an international authority in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism including high density lipoproteins, and made the original observation of impaired cellular lipid efflux to apolipoprotein A-I to form HDL particles in the low HDL syndrome Tangier Disease. More recently, his research has identified, in both human coronary arteries and mouse models, that smooth muscle cells rather than macrophages contribute the majority of cells in the cholesterol overloaded foam cell population in atherosclerosis. This alters our understanding of the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, and suggests a new target to reduce residual risk associated with the accumulation of cholesterol in plaques leading to heart attacks and strokes. He is also actively involved in clinical care of patients with inherited dyslipidemias and outcomes studies to reduce premature vascular disease in these patients.

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Dr. Karin Humphries

Steering Committee Member

MBA, DSc, MSc

Dr. Karin Humphries is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and holds the UBC-Heart and Stroke Foundation Professorship in Women’s Cardiovascular Health. She completed an undergraduate degree in kinesiology and biochemistry, followed by a Master’s degree in Experimental Pathology. She then completed a doctorate degree in epidemiology/health services research at Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

Dr. Humphries’ personal research focuses on two key areas: sex and gender differences in the diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes of subjects with coronary artery disease; and the use of information technology (IT) to facilitate the translation of evidence into practice.

Dr. Humphries is also the Scientific Director of the Cardiac Program at CHEOS, the Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health (ICVHealth). In this role, she is able to focus on improving the quality of cardiovascular care by developing patient-centered and evidence-based approaches to treatment. Her support of SAVE BC is based on the recognition that early identification and treatment of high-risk individuals is the most effective approach to improve heart health.

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Dr. Andrew Krahn

Steering Committee Member

MD, FRCPC, FHRS

Dr. Krahn is a Professor in the Division of Cardiology at the University of British Columbia. Current research interests include investigation of genetic causes of arrhythmias, causes of loss of consciousness, and implantable arrhythmia devices. He is the Sauder Family Chair and UBC Chief of Cardiology, and the Paul Brunes Chair in Heart Rhythm Disorders.

Dr. Krahn has research funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Institute of Health Research. He is President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society and second Vice President of the Heart Rhythm Society. SAVE BC represents an opportunity to be part of a team seeking to better understand the genetic determinants of heart disease and how we can work with or overcome them to protect British Columbians and restore health.

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Dr. John Mancini

Steering Committee Member

MD, FRCPC, FACP, FACC

Dr. G.B. John Mancini received his MD from the University of Toronto, completed his residency at Toronto General Hospital, and his Cardiology and Research Fellowship at the University of California. After a year as Clinical Assistant Professor at U.C. San Diego, he joined the University of Michigan faculty, where he later became Associate Chief of Cardiology and Chief of the V.A. Section of Cardiology. He later became Chair of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Mancini is a tenured Professor of Medicine at UBC, Director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Core Laboratory (CIRCL: an imaging-based research program that includes facilities for quantitative coronary angiography, ultrasound analysis and cardiac computed tomography analysis) and Director of the CardioRisk Clinic (comprehensive primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention) at the Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre. He also practices in the Healthy Heart Prevention Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital. His research interests focus on integration of multi-modality cardiac imaging in multi-center clinical trials for assessment of coronary atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk reduction.

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Dr. Bruce McManus

Steering Committee Member

MD, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, FRCPC, FCAP, FACC

Dr. Bruce McManus is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He serves as CEO for the Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF Centre) and as a Scientist in the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation.

Dr. McManus has received BA and MD degrees (University of Saskatchewan), an MSc (Pennsylvania State University), and PhD (University of Toledo). After residency at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, and fellowship at the NHLBI in Bethesda, Dr. McManus joined the University of British Columbia in 1993.

Dr. McManus’ investigative passion relates to mechanisms, consequences, detection, and prevention of injury and aberrant repair in inflammatory diseases of the heart and blood vessels. He is deeply engaged in the development of predictive, diagnostic, and prognostic blood tests derived from a multi-omics computational engine in the PROOF Centre. Dr. McManus sees great potential for reduction in personal, social, economic, and medical burdens through the power of cascade screening for ischemic risks in the SAVE BC framework.

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Dr. Tara Sedlak

Steering Committee Member

MD, MBA, FRCPC

Dr. Tara Sedlak received her Doctor of Medicine, Internal Medicine Residency and Cardiology residency from the University of British Columbia. She also completed a fellowship at Cedar Sinai Medical Centre in Los Angeles, California on women’s heart health, pacticularly focusing on chest pain syndromes in women with no significant coronary artery disease.

Dr. Sedlak practices General Cardiology at Vancouver General Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital and is the director of the Leslie Diamond Women’s Heart Health Clinic. Her research interests include etiologies of myocardial infarction and chest pain in women with normal coronary arteries and therapeutic strategies in microvascular coronary dysfunction and coronary vasospasm. She is currently the chair of the advocacy working group for the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance.

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Dr. Keith Walley

Steering Committee Member

MD, FRCPC

Dr. Keith Walley is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and principal investigator at the UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). He is an intensive care physician and as a Principal Investigator at the HLI, he runs a translational laboratory.

Dr. Walley’s research focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms underlying impaired myocardial function and other organ dysfunction during inflammatory disease states, including sepsis. To understand the importance of specific pathways, his work extends to encompass the genomics of critical care. Specifically, he and his collaborators investigate how key inflammatory and innate immunity genes are related to organ dysfunction and outcome of sepsis and septic shock in critically ill patients.

Dr. Walley recently discovered that genes related to cardiovascular risk are also related to sepsis risk. Therefore, he brings knowledge of additional non-cardiac risk to the SAVE BC team.

OUR COLLABORATORS:

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Dr. Christopher Franco

Collaborator

MD, PhD, FRCPC

Christopher Franco is a senior cardiology fellow in the Adult Cardiology program at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Franco is a graduate of the MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto and completed his internal medicine residency at UBC. His doctoral work focused on the role of collagen receptors in the regulation of inflammation and fibrosis during the development and destabilization of atherosclerotic plaques.

Dr. Franco has a growing interest in the study and prevention of premature coronary artery disease (CAD) in different populations. He is co-investigator on the Coronary atherosclerosis and inflammation in South Asian (CAISA) pilot study at UBC looking at the role of inflammation and premature coronary disease in South Asians. As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Franco hopes to connect the clinical care and study of patients with premature CAD to find innovative methods to detect and treat this important health challenge. He is truly excited to be a part of the SAVE BC initiative.

OUR PARTNERS: