McMaster University

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Sonia Anand

Sonia Anand

Dr. Sonia Anand is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at McMaster University, the Director of McMaster Population Genomics Program and a vascular medicine specialist. She recently received the Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease. She also holds the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario/Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Population Health Research. Her present research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, women and cardiovascular disease.

Past education includes an undergraduate degree in Life Sciences from Queen’s University in 1989, a Doctor of Medicine from McMaster in 1992, Internal Medicine Training at McMaster and a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1996. She further received her Masters in Clinical Epidemiology at McMaster in 1996 and Ph.D. in Health Research Methodology at McMaster in 2002. She completed a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Research Fellowship in 1998, and in 2001 completed a Vascular Medicine Fellowship at Harvard University’s Brigham and Women's Hospital.

In 1996, Dr. Anand received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Clinician Scientist Award Phase 1 followed by the Phase 2 Award which she held from 2003-2008.She held the Eli Lily/May Cohen Chair in Women’s Health Research at McMaster from 2006-2013. Dr. Anand ’s work is widely published amongst academic and peer-evaluated journals and she teaches clinical epidemiology courses in methodology and cardiovascular disease at McMaster University.

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Zena Samaan

Zena Samaan

Dr. Zainab (Zena) Samaan is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, an Associate Member of the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, and an Associate Faculty in the Population Genomics Program in McMaster University. Dr. Samaan is also a Staff Psychiatrist, member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK and Certified Academic Psychiatrist by The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Dr. Samaan completed a Master’s in Science at the Department of Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland and further trained in psychiatric genetic epidemiology with Professors Peter McGuffin and Anne Farmer at the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley Hospital, London, UK where she obtained her PhD in psychiatric genetics. Dr. Samaan is also a Staff Psychiatrist at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Her clinical interests are centered on the interface between psychiatry and medicine, in particular depression comorbidity with obesity and cardiovascular disease.  Her corresponding research interests are in psychiatric genetics, comorbidity of depression with cardio metabolic disorders, addiction and suicide risk factors.

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Joseph Beyene

Joseph Beyene

Dr. Joseph Beyene is an Associate Professor of Biostatistics and the John D. Cameron Endowed Chair in the Genetic Determinants of Chronic Diseases, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, McMaster University. He was recently a Senior Scientist in the Research Institute of the Hospital for Sick Children. He currently holds an adjunct faculty position as Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Toronto in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and Adjunct Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children.

His research is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He has a broad research interest around statistical method development and application including statistical genetics, systematic reviews/meta-analyses, predictive modeling, health technology assessment, and clinical research. His current work focuses on developing and applying novel data integration statistical methods using heterogeneous sources of data. Dr. Beyene's scientific and clinical application areas span a wide range of disciplines including infectious diseases, rheumatology, oncology, and cardiovascular diseases.

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Russell de Souza

Dr Russell de Souza

Dr. Russell de Souza, RD, ScD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact. As a nutrition epidemiologist, Dr. de Souza's current research interests lie in advancing methodology for systematic reviews and meta-analysis and clinical trials in the field of nutrition, with an interest in the role of dietary patterns and macronutrients (speficially fructose, saturated and trans fats) in chronic disease risk.

Dr. de Souza is also involved with the Diet and Gene Interaction Study (DIGEST) pilot trial to examine the mechanism underlying the interaction between fruits and vegetables and 9p21 variants on risk of heart disease, and two cohorts: the Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds, and the Birth Cohort Alliance, which are investigating the impact of neighbourhood-level risk factors and early life exposures on chronic disease incidence and risk factors.

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David Meyre

David Meyre

Dr. David Meyre completed a PhD in quantitative plant genetics in France. Since 2001, he is working on the elucidation of the genetic bases of obesity and type 2 diabetes. He published the first family-based genome-wide scan for childhood obesity and severe adult obesity using microsatellites, which identified significant regions for linkage on chromosome 5q and 6q.

He completed the two first successful positional cloning efforts for childhood obesity and severe adult obesity, which identified the positional candidate genes ENPP1 and PCSK1. Together with Christian Dina, he identified FTO, the major susceptibility gene for polygenic obesity. David Meyre was part of the team who published the first genome-wide association study in complex diseases in 2007. In 2008, David Meyre demonstrated that the penetrance of monogenic mutations in MC4R on obesity is strongly modulated by the surrounding environment.

In 2009, David Meyre has published the first genome-wide association study of extreme obesity in the French population and identified four novel susceptibility-loci. In 2010, he contributed to the identification of the first structural variant (a 600 bp deletion located on the chromosome 16p11.2) associated to highly penetrant forms of severe obesity. He also conducted the first genome-wide association meta-analysis for early-onset extreme obesity in German and French populations, leading to the identification of two novel childhood obesity predisposing loci.

In 2012, he identified the third more common form of monogenic obesity (PCSK1 partial deficiency) and demonstrated an important role of the lipid sensor GPR120 in human obesity. He also discovered the first common genetic variant reliably associated with major depression disorder within the obesity FTO gene.

In 2013, he discovered a novel gene (SIM1) responsible for a syndromic Mendelian form of childhood obesity.

With 116 articles published up to date (32 appeared in first-rank journals such as Nature, Science, Nature Genetics...), Dr. Meyre is an internationally recognized expert in genetic epidemiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes. His current research interests include: Identification of novel susceptibility genes using high-throughput sequencing / genotyping approaches in populations representative of the worldwide ethnic background; the physiological and molecular mechanisms underlying the development of metabolic diseases; interactions between genes and specific environmental exposures or treatments; usefulness of genetic information in clinical applications (prevention and care).

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Guillaume Paré

Guillaume Pare

Dr. Guillaume Paré is Assistant Professor of Pathology & Molecular Medicine at McMaster University and Director of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory, as well as Deputy Director of the Clinical Research & Clinical Trials Laboratory for Hamilton Health Sciences.  Dr. Paré is a Medical Biochemist with board certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He completed a Master’s in Human Genetics at McGill University.

He further trained in genetic epidemiology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Paré currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology. Dr. Paré was presented the ‘Mrs. Asha Verma Memorial Translational Lectures in Cardiovascular Medicine Award’ in September 2013.  Dr. Paré was also the recipient of the CIHR Maud Menten award for outstanding research as a new clinician-scientist in 2010, and was a finalist in 2012.

His clinical interests are centered on lipoprotein disorders, obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention. His corresponding research interests are in cardiovascular genetics, biomarker development and pharmacogenomics. These interests have led to expertise in bioinformatics, high-throughput biology and genetic epidemiology. His latest contributions are the characterization of the common genetic determinants of clopidogrel efficacy, inflammatory markers and lipoprotein fractions, as well as development of novel statistical tools for analysis of genetic datasets.

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Gita Wahi

Gita Wahi

Dr. Gita Wahi is a pediatrician and Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. Her research interests focus on the contribution of the early life environment to the trajectory of childhood obesity and related cardiovascular risk factors among diverse ethnic groups.

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