Study to Avoid cardioVascular Events in British Columbia (SAVE BC) is led by a team of experienced and passionate healthcare professionals. 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.


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Dr. Simon Pimstone

Principal Investigator


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


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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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.


Danielle Pinheiro Muller

SAVE BC Research Manager

MD, MHA candidate

Danielle is a physician, pediatrician and pediatric gastroenterologist. She has experience working in clinical settings and in Public Health. She is science-oriented and passionate about helping others. She manages the SAVE BC Biobank and gives support to all sub-sites.

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Dr. Frank Halperin

KGH Principal Investigator, Steering Committee Member


Dr. Frank Halperin graduated from engineering at Queens University in 1985 and from medicine at the University of Toronto in 1989. He trained in internal medicine at the University of Western Ontario until 1992, where he returned to Toronto and completed his cardiology fellowship at St. Michael’s and the Toronto General Hospitals in 1994. He is currently the Medical Director for Cardiology at Kelowna General Hospital and the Interior Health Authority. He is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

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Dr. Jordan Webber

KGH Co-Investigator, Steering Committee Member


Dr. Jordan Webber is a cardiologist practicing at the Kelowna General Hospital. Originally from Calgary, he completed medical school at the University of Calgary, then Internal Medicine and Cardiology at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He then completed a clinical fellowship in Critical Care Cardiology at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at UBC. He enjoys snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and running, alongside his wife, and their 2 children.


Dr. Amit Khosla

KGH Co-Investigator


Dr. Amit Khosla received his MD from the University of British Columbia. He then completed his residency training in Internal Medicine at the University of Calgary before returning to BC for his General Cardiology Fellowship. Amit completed a further subspecialty fellowship in Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplantation at Stanford University. He is now the Director of Heart Failure services for Interior Health. He is involved in the heart failure curriculum for the Undergraduate MD program at UBC and is a Clinical Assistant Professor with UBC.


Holly Buhler

KGH Regional Practice Lead, Research and Knowledge Translation


Holly Buhler received her Masters of Medical Science from Uppsala University, a Masters of Geographic Information Systems from Lund University, and is a Credentialed Evaluator through the Canadian Evaluation Society. In her current role, she supports a number of research projects and research-related activities within the Interior Health Authority with a goal of promoting the production and use of evidence for effective decision making across the healthcare system.

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Amanda Annett

KGH Research Coordinator

BA Psych, BSN, RN

Amanda started her research career after finishing a degree in psychology at the University of British Columbia. She began working as a research assistant in remote and rural mental health research. She then went on to get her Bachelors of Science in Nursing and became an acute care cardiac nurse at Kelowna General Hospital. Although loving beside nursing, Amanda decided to return to her research routes and become a Clinical Research Coordinator at Interior Health in Kelowna. Alongside supporting clinical research in Kelowna, Amanda is working on her Masters of Nursing Degree at the University of British Columbia in the cardiac field.


Camille Galloway

KGH Research Coordinator


Camille completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at UBC Okanagan. She worked as a surgical nurse at Kelowna General Hospital until starting a Masters of Nursing in 2019. Camille currently works as a Research Coordinator and supports a range of clinical trials within the fields of cardiology and stroke.

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Kaylee M. Neill

KGH Research Coordinator

Lpn, RN, BSN

Kaylee has been a nurse since 2010 and completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at UBCO in 2022. She has worked on many medical and surgical wards over the years at Kelowna General Hospital with special interest in Neurology and Cardiology. Kaylee works as a Clinical Research Coordinator supporting and leading a variety of trials in these areas.

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Zachary Walbaum

KGH Research Coordinator

BA(Hons), MHE, MPhil

Zachary has a B.A. (Hons) in Philosophy from Brandon University, a Master of Philosophy (Humanities), and a Master of Health Ethics from Memorial University of Newfoundland. He completed a Clinical Ethics Internship with William Osler Health System in Brampton, ON. His research interests include moral epistemology, personal identity, ageing-related issues, and end-of-life issues. Zachary currently works as a Clinical Research Coordinator with Interior Health’s Clinical Research Department, supporting clinical trials in the areas of cardiology, nephrology, and stroke.

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Paige Stevens

KGH Research Assistant


Paige completed her Bachelor of Human Kinetics at UBC Okanagan. She developed an interest in research during her undergrad, with a focus on metabolism and diabetes. Currently Paige works on multiple cardiovascular studies at Kelowna General Hospital.

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Dr. Richard Vandegriend

RCH Principal Investigator, Steering Committee Member


Dr. Richard Vandegriend is a cardiologist and cardiac intensivist at Royal Columbian Hospital, director of heart failure at Royal Columbian Hospital and a clinical assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia. After completing medical school at the University of Alberta, Dr. Vandegriend completed his internal medicine and cardiology residency training at the University of British Columbia followed by a fellowship in cardiac intensive care at the University of Toronto. Dr. Vandegriend's clinical and research interests involve cardiac intensive care, mechanical circulatory support, myocardial infarction and heart failure.
Dr. Vandegriend is passionate about health technology and innovation with over 6 years experience as co-founder at Arya Health, crafting and implementing technologic solutions to address the inefficiencies, administrative workload and burnout that plague the medical system. He was the recipient of a 2022 Top 40-Under 40 award for business leadership in British Columbia and participates with the BC technology association on their c-council for digital health.

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Kiera Taggart

RCH Research Coordinator


Kiera is an LPN who has been practicing since 2017. She started off in private care where she provided 1:1 care to a variety of patients. This experience led her to working in home care eventually becoming a care manager in Vancouver and the lower mainland. After 2.5 years in care management, Kiera decided to pursue her interest in research. In early 2024, she joined Fraser Clinical Trials, where she is currently involved in various trials in cardiology, gastroenterology, and vaccine development.


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Dr. Christopher Fordyce

Steering Committee Member


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.


Dr. Gordon Francis

Steering Committee Member


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.


Dr. Andrew Krahn

Steering Committee Member


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.


Dr. John Mancini

Steering Committee Member


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.


Dr. Bruce McManus

Steering Committee Member


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


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.


Dr. Keith Walley

Steering Committee Member


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.

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Dr. Christopher Franco

Steering Committee Member


Dr. 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.

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Dr. Thomas Roston

Steering Committee Member


Dr. Thomas Roston is a cardiologist in the UBC Division of Cardiology and a Clinician-Scientist at the Centre for Cardiovascular Innovation in Vancouver. He completed medical school, residency and cardiology fellowship at the UBC, and a PhD from the University of Alberta in Translational Medicine. His post-doctoral studies included a fellowship in Cardiovascular Genetics at Harvard Medical School, and a fellowship in cardiac critical care at the University of Alberta. His research is dedicated to the lives of young patients and their families who have suffered or will suffer the tragedy of sudden death due to premature cardiovascular disease.