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.



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-PI of the Study to Avoid cardioVascular events in BC (SAVE BC), a provincial program of families with very premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. After seeing two close friends suffer myocardial infarctions < 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, President 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.


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.


Kelsey Lynch

Program Manager & Genetic Counsellor


Kelsey Lynch joined the SAVE BC team in September 2015 as a Genetic Counsellor and Study Coordinator. She completed her BSc (Honours) in Human Kinetics from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She obtained her MSc in Genetic Counselling from the University of British Columbia.

Kelsey began her career in Hazelton, British Columbia, working as a Research Coordinator on a study examining the early causes and risk factors of cardiovascular disease, cognitive disorders and cancer in Northern BC First Nations. Upon returning to Vancouver, Kelsey worked as a clinical Genetic Counsellor in the field of hereditary cancer. She is passionate about educating patients and their families about heritability and risk-reducing screening for multifactorial disease. SAVE BC has offered her the opportunity to provide genetic counselling and follow-up to families with premature coronary artery disease. Kelsey is honoured to be a part of this unique program that aims to prevent cardiovascular disease in at-risk families.


Phoebe Ng

Research Coordinator


Phoebe Ng joined the SAVE BC team in May of 2017 as a research coordinator with a focus on patient recruitment at Vancouver General Hospital. She completed her BSc (Honours) in Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of British Columbia.

While she was a student, Phoebe spent a year on a co-op placement at St. Paul’s Hospital conducting clinical studies examining colorectal cancer, diseases, and surgery. This experience cemented an interest in clinical research and instilled an appreciation for the importance of studies such as SAVE BC. She is very excited to have a chance to contribute to the meaningful work being done through this research initiative.


Chad Brown

Research Coordinator

Chad Brown joined the SAVE BC team in May 2017 as a Study Coordinator. He completed his BSc (Honours) in Cellular, Anatomical, and Physiological Sciences at the University of British Columbia in April 2017, and is completing a Minor in Arts in Psychology before officially graduating 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.



Dr. Aslam Anis

Steering Committee Member


Dr. Aslam Anis is a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). He is a respected health economist and sought-after speaker on the topic of economic evaluation and resource allocation for health care interventions. Dr. Anis is the Director of the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences (CHEOS), one of the largest multidisciplinary health outcomes research groups in Canada. He is also the National Director of the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) and a Senior Scientist at Arthritis Research Centre of Canada (ARC).

Dr. Anis’s primary areas of expertise include Canadian competition policy in the pharmaceutical industry and the cost-effectiveness of treatments for HIV/AIDS and rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Anis was among the first scholars worldwide to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of anti-retroviral therapy and his work helped shape economic policies governing access to this critical treatment for persons living with HIV/AIDS. As a Co-Investigator, Dr. Anis is motivated by the possibility of identifying cost-effective treatments and solutions to reducing the economic burden of cardiovascular disease in British Columbia.


Dr. Jamil Bashir

Steering Committee Member


Jamil Bashir is a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at UBC and a Cardiovascular and Heart Transplant Surgeon at St. Paul’s Hospital. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Alberta Medical School in 1991, winning the Moshier Memorial Gold Medal. He practiced in Primary Care Medicine for many years before returning to do his training in Surgery and eventually did fellowships in both Laser Lead Extraction (Goteborg, Sweden) and Aortic Surgery (Houston, Texas). Dr Bashir is the Director of the BC Laser Extraction Program as well as the Section Head for Cardiovascular Surgery at The Doctors of BC.

Dr. Bashir’s main research interest is in the cardiovascular health of populations. In particular, as it pertains to devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators and left ventricular assist devices. He is the principal investigator of an international study looking at the safety and risk stratification of Laser Extraction. As well, he recently won a $1.4 million dollar award from the Specialist Services Committee to improve the care of all pacemaker patients in the Province of British Columbia. As a surgeon, Dr. Bashir sees many young patients with severe and premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and is deeply committed to improving the cardiovascular health of all British Columbians.


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 been 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. Since 2013 he has also been an 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 understand 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.


Dr. Karin Humphries

Steering Committee Member


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 BC Centre for Improved Cardiovascular Health. In this role, she is able to focus on improving the quality of cardiovascular care by developing patient-centred 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.


Dr. Nadia Khan

Steering Committee Member


Dr. Nadia Khan is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and clinician scientist at the Center for Health Evaluation and Outcomes Sciences. Dr. Khan works as a general internist at St. Paul’s Hospital. She is current vice President of Hypertension Canada and director of research. She is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Career Scientist evaluating gender and ethnicity in cardiovascular disease.


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 an Associate Editor for Heart Rhythm, and sits on several Editorial Boards. He is on the Board of Trustees 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. Jonathon Leipsic

Steering Committee Member


Jonathon A. Leipsic is the Chairman of the Department of Radiology for Providence Health Care and the Vice Chairman of Research for the UBC Department of Radiology. He is an Associate Professor of Radiology and Cardiology with the University of British Columbia. Dr. Leipsic is also a Canada Research Chair in Advanced Cardiopulmonary Imaging. Dr. Leipsic has over 270 peer reviewed manuscripts in press or in print, over 200 scientific abstracts, and he is an editor of 2 textbooks. He speaks internationally on a number of cardiopulmonary imaging topics with over 120 invited lectures in the last 4 years. He is the President of the Society of Cardiovascular CT, the largest international society dedicated to Cardiac CT.


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 and 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. His interests focus on integration of multi-modality cardiac imaging in multicenter clinical trials for assessment of coronary atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk reduction. Dr. Mancini actively practices in the Vancouver Hospital Cardiology Outpatient Clinic and the Cardiac Computed Tomography Program as well as the St. Paul’s Hospital Healthy Heart Prevention Program/Lipid Clinic.


Dr. Bruce McManus

Steering Committee Member


Bruce McManus is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He serves as Co-Director for the Institute for Heart + Lung Health, and CEO for the Centre of Excellence for Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF Centre).

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.


Dr. Keith Walley

Steering Committee Member


Dr. Keith Walley is a Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia and Director of the UBC Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). He is an intensive care physician and principle investigator at the HLI where 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.


Dr. Graham Wong

Steering Committee Member


Dr. Wong graduated from medical school at UBC. He completed his internal medicine residency at UBC and subsequently completed his fellowship training in cardiology at McGill University. He then pursued a 2-year research fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital with the TIMI Group and completed his MPH at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also board certified by the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography.

Currently Dr. Wong is the Clinical Director of the Coronary Care Unit at Vancouver General Hospital as well as the Regional Physician Lead for Acute Coronary Care for the Vancouver Coastal Health/Providence Health Care and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at UBC. He has been the Medical Co-Director of the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority Regional STEMI Program since 2007. He has authored or co-authored 25 peer reviewed manuscripts and was member of the primary writing panel for the 2012 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Focused Update on Antiplatelet Therapy. He is a Co-Chair for the upcoming 2016 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Guidelines for the Optimal Care of the Post Arrest Patient.

He was the recipient of a UBC Killam Teaching Prize from the Faculty of Medicine in 2014 and UBC Clinical Faculty Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching in 2012.


Dr. David Wood

Steering Committee Member


Dr. David Wood is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Cardiology at the University of British Columbia. He works as a structural and interventional cardiologist at both St. Paul’s and Vancouver General Hospital and is a founding member of the Centre for Heart Valve Innovation in Vancouver. He obtained subspecialty training at Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute of New York. His primary research interests include transcatheter management of structural and valvular heart disease, advanced cardiac imaging, new device development, and novel strategies for treating acute coronary syndromes.

Dr. Wood is currently the Principal Investigator (PI) of the 3M TAVR study (400 participants, 13 sites), SAFE TAVR study (315 participants, 15 sites), and MANTA study (350 participants, 20 sites) as well as the Co-PI of the CIHR funded COMPLETE trial (3900 participants, 160 sites). Dr. Wood received the 2014 Canadian Cardiovascular Society Young Investigator of the Year Award runner-up in the Clinical Science category.

Dr. Wood believes the SAVE BC registry will have a profound impact on both patients and families with very premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. He is excited to help facilitate this collaborative project.



Dr. Christopher Franco



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.