Cardiology, Diabetes & Nephrology at the Limits Canada 2021


Professor Derek Yellon

Derek M Yellon PhD, DSc (UK), DSc (SA), FRCP, FACC, FESC, FAHA, is Professor of Molecular & Cellular Cardiology at University College London (UCL) and Director of the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute at UCL & UCLH. He is past Programme Director (Cardiology & Diabetes) for the National Institute for Health Research-UCLH-Biomedical Research Centre and past Vice President of the British Cardiovascular Society. In 1994 he was awarded a DSc from the University of Bath for his “substantial contribution to the knowledge of cardiovascular disease and treatment”. In 2013 he was awarded a second Doctor of Science (honorius causa) degree from the University of Cape Town in recognition of his distinguished basic and clinical research in the mechanisms underlying the phenomena of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury and cardioprotection. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians; the American College of Cardiology; the European Society of Cardiology; the International Society for Heart Research and the American Heart Association. Professor Yellon was instrumental in establishing a second Hatter Cardiovascular Institute at the Medical School of the University of Cape Town. In recognition of these achievements he was, in 1997, made an Hon Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Cape Town. He also holds Honorary Chairs at the University of South Alabama in the USA, and the North China Coal Medical University in China. He is on the editorial board of a number of major Cardiovascular Journals and has published in excess of 550 full papers and edited 22 books. Professor Yellon has been named as one of the most highly cited cross-field researchers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in Webb of Science. He runs a translational research Institute where his main area of interest is the pathophysiology of acute myocardial infarction and ischaemic stroke. This relates specifically cardioprotection in the setting of diabetes, ischaemia/reperfusion injury, molecular aspects of adaptation to ischaemic injury and myocardial & neural conditioning in both the basic and clinical arena.

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Professor Daniel Drucker

Dr. Drucker received his M.D. from the University of Toronto in 1980, and is currently Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Regulatory Peptides and the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre-Novo Nordisk Chair in Incretin Biology. His laboratory is based in the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute at Mt. Sinai Hospital and studies the molecular biology and physiology of the glucagon-like peptides. Dr. Drucker’s scientific studies identified multiple novel mechanisms of gut hormone action, resulting in 33 issued US patents, and enabling development of new drug classes for diabetes, obesity and intestinal failure. His discoveries have been recognized by numerous learned societies including the Banting Award from the ADA, the Claude Bernard Award from the EASD, the Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research, the Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute, the Harrington-ASCI Prize for Innovation in Medicine, and election to Fellowship, the Royal Society, London.

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Dr Mansoor Husain

Dr. Mansoor Husain is the Executive Director of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is also Director of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and an Attending Staff Cardiologist at the University Health Network.

Dr. Husain was the gold medallist in Medicine at the University of Alberta, completed his clinical training at the University of Toronto, and undertook post-doctoral training in the Program of Excellence in Cardiovascular Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His current research aims to elucidate the molecular bases of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis and heart failure, with a particular emphasis on identifying therapeutic targets involved in pathophysiology. Dr. Husain’s research has improved our understanding of the cardiovascular mechanisms of glucagon-like peptide-1 and related anti-diabetic drugs.

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Dr Gary Lewis

Dr. Gary Lewis completed his medical training in 1982 at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, followed by specialty training in Internal Medicine and then Endocrinology at the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of the Toronto General Hospital in 1990, was appointed Head of the Division of Endocrinology at University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospitals in 2001, Director of the University of Toronto Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2008 and Director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, U of T, in 2011. Dr. Lewis is a Principal Investigator of Diabetes Action Canada, one of the chronic disease networks funded through the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Initiative, and undertakes translational research with active patient engagement. He is a Full Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Physiology, University of Toronto and he holds the Sun Life Financial Chair in Diabetes and the Drucker Family Chair in Diabetes Research.

Dr. Lewis has made a number of seminal discoveries elucidating the mechanism of blood fat abnormalities in diabetes and prediabetic states. The specific areas in which his research has had a major impact are the study of postprandial lipoprotein metabolism, the mechanism of HDL lowering, the mechanism of triglyceride rich lipoprotein overproduction by liver and intestine and the mechanism of free fatty acid impairment of pancreatic insulin secretion, the latter potentially contributing to pancreatic failure and the development of type 2 diabetes. He is recognized internationally as a foremost expert in the field of lipoprotein metabolism in insulin resistance and diabetes.

Dr. Lewis has been awarded and honored by several organizations. To mention a few, he is the recipient of the 2016 Canadian Society of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Scientific Excellence Award, the 2013 Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation (CSCI) Distinguished Scientist Award and Lecture, a Canada Research Chair in Diabetes, the Canadian Diabetes Association Young Scientist Award, and has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Canadian Academy for Health Sciences. He has been invited to present his research findings at numerous universities around the world and at prestigious international meetings.

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Professor Alice Cheng

Dr. Cheng is a member of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga and St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She completed medical school, internal medicine and Endocrinology training at the University of Toronto and has completed the Master Teacher Program offered through the Department of Medicine. She has served on the Expert Committee for the 2003 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines, the Steering and Expert Committees for the 2008 revision and served as Chair of the 2013 Diabetes Canada clinical practice guidelines. She is currently the Chair of the Professional Section of Diabetes Canada and an Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Diabetes. She is Past-Chair of the Guidelines Committee for the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism. She has received a Certificate of Recognition from the Ontario College of Family Physicians, the national Charles H. Best Award and the Gerald S. Wong Service Award from Diabetes Canada in recognition of her contributions.

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Professor John Cunningham

John Cunningham is a clinician-scientist holding positions as Professor of Nephrology at University College London Medical School and The Royal Free Hospital and an Honorary Fellowship at Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, both in the UK. His early training was in Cambridge (pre-clinical) and Oxford, UK (clinical), with postgraduate training at The University of London and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, USA under Drs Louis V Avioli and Eduardo Slatopolsky.  He has remained an active frontline clinician in both nephrology and internal medicine. John Cunningham was Physician to HM The Queen and was knighted for services to The Royal Family in June 2014.

Academically Professor Cunningham has contributed to the understanding of the effect of acidosis on the bioactivation of vitamin D and described and characterised hysteresis in the parathyroid response to calcium, indicating that parathyroid cells can sense both the direction of change and the absolute concentration of ECF calcium. He subsequently ran research programmes examining the following: control by structurally modified vitamin D metabolites at PTH synthesis and release; the synthesis and release of bone cytokines by osteoblast like cells and the regulation of these by vitamin D metabolites; the location and relevance of the calcium sensing receptor in bone cells; the influence of simulated uraemia on the release of cytokines by bone cells; the factors mediating bone loss following renal transplantation and preventative strategies; the factors that control parathyroid function in vivo, including new vitamin D metabolites and calcimimetic agents. Professor Cunningham’s group has found that new structurally modified metabolites of vitamin D differ markedly in the way they influence the behaviour of both parathyroid cells and bone cells. His group also devised, conducted and published studies of the first effective prophylaxis against bone loss in the post-transplant setting. On these and other subjects, Professor Cunningham frequently lectures nationally and internationally, as well as serving on numerous international expert panels and working groups. He is a founding Co-chairman of the Nephrology at the Limits series held under the auspices of University College London, The University of Cape Town, and The Lancet.

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Dr Peter Libby

Peter Libby, MD, is a cardiovascular specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and holds the Mallinckrodt Professorship of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He served as Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at BWH from 1998 - 2014. His areas of clinical expertise include general and preventive cardiology. His current major research focus is the role of inflammation in vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis.

Dr. Libby has a particular devotion to translate his basic laboratory studies to pilot and then large-scale clinical cardiovascular outcome trials. He instigated and helped to lead the large scale Canakinumab Anti-Inflammatory Thrombosis Outcomes Trial (CANTOS) that provided clinical validation of the role of inflammation in atherosclerosis. Dr. Libby has received numerous awards and recognitions for his research accomplishments, including the Distinguished Scientist Award for Basic Research, American College of Cardiology in 2006, the Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology and the Basic Research Prize of the American Heart Association in 2011, the Anitschkow Prize in Atherosclerosis Research of the European Atherosclerosis Society in 2013, and the Special Award of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology in 2014. He has received a number of lifetime achievement awards from various organizations. Dr. Libby was selected as Consulting Editor of the year by Circulation Research in 2015, and received a 2015 High Citation Award as an editorial board member of Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. He was the laureate of the Ernst Jung Gold Medal for Medicine for 2016, and in 2017 he received the Earl Benditt Award from the North American Vascular Biology Organization. In 2018 he received the Arthur S. Agatston Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Award from the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography. In 2019 he was honored with the Research Achievement Award of the American Heart Association.

Dr. Libby’s elected professional memberships include the Association of American Physicians, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and honorary memberships in the British Atherosclerosis Society, the Japan Circulation Society, and the Japanese College of Cardiology. He has served as the President of the Association of University Cardiologists. He also has served in many roles as a volunteer for the American Heart Association, including chairman of several research committees and member of the executive committees of the Councils on Arteriosclerosis, Circulation, and Basic Science. He presided the American College of Cardiology’s Research Allocations Peer Review Committee for two terms. He has frequently consulted for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, including a 5-year term on the Board of Scientific Counselors. He directed the DW Reynolds Cardiovascular Clinical Research Center and two cycles of Leducq Foundation Awards, and has received continuous funding from the US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for several decades.

An author and lecturer on cardiovascular medicine and atherosclerosis, Dr. Libby has published extensively in medical journals including Circulation, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, New England Journal of Medicine, and Nature. He is an Editor of Braunwald’s Heart Disease, and will serve as the Editor-in Chief for the 12th edition. Dr. Libby has also contributed chapters on the pathogenesis, treatment, and prevention of atherosclerosis to many editions of Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. He has held numerous visiting professorships and delivered more than 100 major named or keynote lectures throughout the world.

Dr. Libby earned his medical degree at the University of California, San Diego, and completed his training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Brigham and Women’s Hospital). He also holds an honorary MA degree from Harvard University, and Doctorat honoris causa from the Université de Lille, France , Université Laval in Québec, Canada, and Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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Professor Marc Pfeffer

Marc Pfeffer, M.D., the Dzau Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Senior Physician in the Cardiovascular Division at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. A noted researcher, Dr. Pfeffer, along with his late wife, Dr. Janice Pfeffer, and Eugene Braunwald MD, is credited with introducing the concept that angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) could attenuate adverse ventricular remodelling following myocardial infarction and that this use would result in a prolongation of survival and other clinical benefits. Since this initial discovery, he has had a principal role in several practice-changing clinical outcome trials.

Dr. Pfeffer is considered as a team builder and takes pride in academic advancement of trainees and junior faculty collaborating on the trials. He is known for his fairness in data sharing and assisting others in developing meaningful scholarly works from study databases. He sets high standards for relationships with the sponsors whether industry or NHLBI.

Dr. Pfeffer serves on the Data Safety Monitoring Boards of major international trials. An internationally recognized expert in the field of cardiology, he was recognized by Science Watch as having the most ‘Hot Papers’ (highly cited) in all of clinical medicine. Dr. Pfeffer was listed as one of the highly influential biomedical researchers of 1996-2011 in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation. He is the recipient of the William Harvey Award of the American Society of Hypertension, the Okamoto Award from Japan’s Vascular Disease Research Foundation, the American Heart Association Clinical Research Prize and the James B. Herrick Award. The Distinguished Scientist Awards from both the American Heart Association as well as the American College of Cardiology. The Lifetime Achievement Award from both the Heart Failure Society of America and the Heart Failure Association of the European Congress of Cardiology. The Gold Medal Award from the European Society of Cardiology in 2018. Dr. Pfeffer has Honorary Doctoral Degrees from Sahlgrenska Academy and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden and from the University of Glasgow, Scotland.

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Professor Theresa A McDonagh

Professor McDonagh qualified from the University of Edinburgh and completed her internal medicine training there. She trained in Cardiology at the Western Infirmary in Glasgow. Her main research was on the epidemiology of Left Ventricular Dysfunction and Natriuretic Peptides hormones.

Subsequently she was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and Glasgow Royal Infirmary where she ran the Heart Failure Service and was the Cardiologist involved in the Heart Transplant Programme (1999-2004). Following this she was a Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal Brompton Hospital, London (2004-2011) where led the Heart Failure Service, before moving to King's College Hospital to head up the Heart Failure Programme.

Her main research interests are in novel biomarkers for heart failure and the delivery of heart failure services.

She is a past Chair of the British Society for Heart Failure a Past Chair of the Clinical Section of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology. She is the Clinical Lead for the National Heart Failure Audit.

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Professor Brian Rayner

Brian Rayner is Head of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at the Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and established the Kidney and Hypertension Research Unit in 2016. He is a past President of the Southern African Hypertension Society and is an executive member of the African Regional Advisory Group of the International Society of Hypertension. He graduated in M.B.Ch.B. from University of Cape Town in 1978, obtained Fellowship of the College of Medicine (SA) in 1986, and has a Master of Medicine and PhD from the University of Cape Town.  His doctoral thesis studied salt sensitivity and salt sensitive hypertension in indigenous South African people. He received the World Hypertension League Award for Notable Achievement in Hypertension in 2014 in his work related to his doctorate.

The Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and the Kidney and Hypertension Research Unit is an active training and research centre training Nephrologists from Sub-Saharan Africa, and has active Masters and Doctoral programmes. In 2016 the International Society of Nephrology endorsed the Division as a Regional Training Centre of excellence.

Brian Rayner's active research interests are therapy of hypertension, mutations in the ENaC, genetic determinants of salt sensitivity, HIVAN, vascular calcification and chronic kidney disease, primary aldosteronism, assessing adherence in hypertensive patients, ethics of rationing dialysis therapy, AKI and genetics of severe hypertension in blacks. He has a major interest in hypertension guidelines, and together with Profs Seedat and Veriava wrote the 2014 South African Hypertension Practice Guideline. He has 109 publications in peer reviewed journals, is on the editorial board of the CVS Journal of Africa, Austen Hypertension and Nephron Clinical Practice, and acts as a reviewer for many peer reviewed international journals, has made over 100 presentations at local and international congresses (many of which were invited plenary sessions) and has written 6 chapters in books.

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