Reed E. Pyeritz, MD, PhD, is the William Smilow Professor of Medicine and Professor of Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pyeritz has long been recognized as an international authority on the genetics of cardiovascular disorders, especially the Marfan syndrome and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT).  He founded the National Marfan Foundation (now the Marfan Foundation) in 1979 and continues to see patients, conduct research and educate health professionals at all levels of their careers.
          Dr. Pyeritz is the co-editor of the standard text in his field, Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics, the 6th edition of which was published in 2014 and the 7th edition is in preparation.  In 1991, he was one of the founders of the American College of Medical Genetics and became its 2nd president.  He also served as the president of the Association of Professors of Human and Medical Genetics. For over a decade, he has been identified as a top doctor by Philadelphia Magazine and as one of Castle & Connelly’s top physicians in the USA.  He served in the U.S. Army Reserve Medical Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel and was on active duty during Operation Desert Storm. 

Dianna M. Milewicz, MD PhD, is the President George H.W. Bush Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and Vice-Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston.  She completed her postgraduate training in internal medicine, specialized further in medical genetics, and forged a career in translational studies focused on genetic predisposition to vascular diseases.  Her research team identified many of the genes for inherited thoracic aortic disease and, more recently, she has investigated the genetic causes of childhood strokes.
          Dr. Milewicz has received numerous honors and awards for her research, including the Antoine Marfan Award, the Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award, and the University of Texas Presidential Scholars Award for Excellence in Research.  She has been inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.  Dr. Milewicz is also committed to training physician scientists and have served as the Director of the M.D./Ph.D. Program offered jointly between the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and MD Anderson Cancer Center institutions for over 10 years and is past Chair of the AAMC GREAT MD/PhD Section Committee.

Maral Ouzounian, MDCM, PhD, (Co-Chair) is a cardiac and aortic surgeon at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, and Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. She received her MDCM degree from the McGill University and her PhD from the University of Toronto. Following her cardiac surgery training, she completed a fellowship at the Texas Heart Institute under the mentorship of renowned aortic surgeon Dr. Joseph Coselli. Her current clinical and academic interests are in the understanding and management of aortic diseases, including heritable aortopathies and complex aneurysms and dissections.

Nanette Alvarez, MD, (Co-Chair) was born in Trail, BC and attended medical school in Kingston, Ontario. She completed an internship in New Zealand followed by a residency in Internal Medicine in Montreal, Quebec and subsequently Toronto, Ontario. She obtained her Cardiology sub-specialty training in Toronto. Dr. Alvarez then spent two years in Calgary pursuing a number of different research interests. She joined the University of Calgary and accepted a staff position at the Calgary General Hospital in 1989. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiac Sciences. In addition to her practice in general cardiology, Dr. Alvarez’s sub-specialty interests include heart disease in women, adult congenital heart disease, arteriopathy and echocardiography. She is the Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Clinic at the University of Calgary and Director of Echocardiography at the Peter Lougheed Centre.

Kate Hanneman, BSc, MD, FRCPC, graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 2009 and completed Diagnostic Radiology Residency training at the University of Toronto in 2014. She completed a Cardiovascular Imaging fellowship at Stanford University in 2015. Following her fellowship, Dr. Hanneman joined the Cardiothoracic Division of the Joint Department of Medical Imaging, and is appointed as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She is currently the Director of Cardiac Imaging Research at JDMI. Dr. Hanneman is the recipient of multiple grants and research awards, including the Radiology Society of North America Research Scholar Grant.

Tim Bradley, MBChB, DCH, FRACP, Pediatric Cardiologist, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon, SK. Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Bradley graduated from the University of Otago, New Zealand in 1990. He obtained his FRACP in Paediatrics and Paediatric Cardiology in 2002, training in NZ, the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver and SickKids in Toronto. He was on staff and ran a Marfan / Connective Tissue Disorders clinic for children at SickKids and for adults at Toronto General Hospital from 2004 to 2015. He has recently relocated to the Royal University Hospital and University of Saskatchewan, where he hopes to develop joint Marfan / Connective Tissue Disorders clinics with colleagues across Western Canadian Children’s Heart Network and to further his clinical and research interests in aortic biomechanics, vascular biology, vascular functional assessment and detection of premature atherosclerosis in childhood.

Jehangir Appoo, MDCM, FRCPC, is founder and director of the Calgary Thoracic Aortic Program (  at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute, University of Calgary. After graduating from McGill Medical School & University of Alberta (FRCS Cardiac Surgery), Fellowship training was taken at Royal Brompton Hospital in London and UPENN in Philadelphia.
          Clinical interest is in open and endovascular surgery of the thoracic aorta. Research is focused on improving patient outcomes with aortic interventions, understanding of aneurysmal pathology, tissue strength, and risk of rupture. 

John Byrne, MD, completed his medical degree as a scholarship student at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland where he was the recipient of medals for physiology and physics. Following completion of his basic surgical training he completed a 2 year full time research program on the systemic inflammatory response syndrome and was awarded a doctorate of medicine by research. Dr. Byrne is the recipient of the prestigious president’s medal from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland for his research on the use of pravastatin in Marfan syndrome which was performed in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. He completed the Irish Higher Surgical Training Scheme in general/vascular surgery followed by a fellowship at the University of Toronto. He was a previous trainee board member of the European Society of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and chairman of the Irish Higher Surgical Training Group. His clinical interests include aortic aneurysmal disease, limb salvage surgery, and extracranial cerebrovascular disease.
          Dr. Byrne is a clinician scientist at University Health Network/University of Toronto. His laboratory research is focused on the molecular biology of aneurysmal disease using inducible in-vivo lab models. Dr. Byrne was a member of the team which identified the origin and maintenance of arterial wall macrophages and was recently published in Nature Immunology.  Dr. Byrne was awarded a grant from the Peter Munk Innovation Fund to explore the role of anti-diabetic medication in modulating progression of aortic dilatation in aneurysmal disease.

Mark Wheatcroft BSc, MBChB, MD, FRCS, studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, U.K. (MBChB), and is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He trained in general and vascular surgery in Edinburgh, Sheffield and Doncaster. In 2011 he completed a 1 year fellowship in vascular surgery at the University of Toronto and then after a 6 month peripheral interventional radiology fellowship in Doncaster UK, returned to Canada to take up a Staff post as a vascular and endovascular surgeon at St Michael’s Hospital, Toronto in 2012. 

Dr Wheatcroft is currently joint appointed as an assistant professor at the University of Toronto and has clinical interests in advanced endovascular and open aortic surgery and carotid surgery.

Gabrielle Horne, MD, PhD, an Associate Professor of Medicine (cardiology) and Biomedical Engineering, and a Cardiologist at Dalhousie University and the QEII Health Sciences Centre. She is the Medical Coordinator of the Maritime Connective Tissue Clinic. Her interests include hereditary aneurysm syndromes and connective tissue disorders, heart failure, cardiac mechanics, echocardiology and image processing software development. 

Mitra Esfandiarei, PhD, is an assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences at Midwestern University in Arizona, USA, and an adjunct professor of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She has obtained her BSc in Microbiology with High Distinction from Tehran University, a Masters in Medical Microbiology from Razi Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Iran, and a PhD degree in Pathology & Laboratory Medicine from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She then finished a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Pharmacology at the Child & Family Research Institute in Canada, before taking an Assistant Professor position in USA. Her research has a focus on understanding the underlying mechanisms contributing to the progression of aortic aneurysm in Marfan syndrome, and the protective effects that exercise may have on the disease process in both laboratory animal models and human patients. Dr. Esfandiarei’s research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Rare disease foundation, and the Marfan Foundation.

James Tam, MD, grew up in Burlington Ontario and obtained his medical degree at the University of Toronto before pursuing Internal Medicine and Cardiology residency training at the University of Ottawa and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following a two year fellowship at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, he joined the Section of Cardiology at the University of Manitoba in 1996.  Based currently at St. Boniface General Hospital, Dr. Tam is a Professor of Medicine and immediate Chief of Cardiology at the University of Manitoba.  His clinical and research interests are in echocardiography, utility of diagnostic testing, adult congenital heart disease and cardiac palliative care.   Dr. Tam is working to improve patient education and communication in chronic disease management and end of life care.  

Erwin Oechslin, MD, FRCPC, FESC, is Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Program, located at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. He graduated from the University of Zurich. He moved to Toronto, Canada, in 2006 and succeeded Dr. Gary Webb as Director of the ACHD Program.  He holds the Bitove Family Professorship of ACHD.
          He is President of the International Society for Adult Congenital Heart Disease (, and Past-President of the CACH Network (

Michelle Keir, MD, completed medical school at the University of Ottawa after completing a journalism degree at Carleton University. She then went on to internal medicine and adult cardiology training at the University of Saskatchewan. She is currently in Toronto where she is completing a two-year adult congenital heart disease and aortopathy fellowship. She will be moving to the University of Calgary in 2017 to do a year of echocardiography fellowship and then will practice as an ACHD cardiologist at Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary. Her research interests include congenital coronary anomalies, aortopathy, cardiac disease in pregnancy, transition, and knowledge translation. 

Jasmine Grewal, MD, is a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia and a member of the Divisions of Cardiology at St Paul’s Hospital. With fellowship training in Adult Congenital Heart Disease/Pregnancy and Heart Disease (Toronto General Hospital) and Echocardiography (Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN), Dr. Grewal is actively involved in clinical and research activities in these fields. She is currently involved as a primary and co-investigator in numerous single centre and multi-centre research studies in the areas of congenital heart disease and pregnancy and heart disease. She is a co-chair of the Canadian Adult Congenital Heart Network Investigators Group, is a member the executive of the Canadian Adult Congenital Heart Network and of the Alliance for Adult Research in Congenital Cardiology. Dr Grewal focuses her clinical time in the Pacific Adult Congenital Heart Disease and is the Director of the Cardiac Obstetrics Program at St. Paul’s Hospital. Additionally, Dr. Grewal is an Echocardiographer and also works in the cardiac intensive care unit at St Paul’s Hospital.

John Janevski MD, MSc, FRCPC, completed his Internal Medicine and Cardiology training at the University of Toronto, followed by a fellowship in Interventional Cardiology at the Toronto General Hospital. He currently holds an active Staff Appointment in Adult Cardiology at the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital and an Academic Appointment with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. His academic interests include Medical Education with specific interest in Curriculum Development.  Clinical interests include coronary artery disease and diseases of the thoracic aorta.

Ismail El-Hamamsy, MD, PhD, FRCSC, is a Cardiac Surgeon at the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Montreal Heart Institute and Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of Montreal. He completed his fellowship in complex aortic surgery and aortic valve preservation techniques in London, UK under the supervision of Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub. He also completed a PhD degree at Imperial College London with a focus on aortic valve and ascending aortic pathologies. His current surgical and research interests focus on the surgical treatment of complex pathologies of the aortic root and aortic valve-sparing techniques, including in patients with Marfan syndrome. He is a member of Chain of Hope, a charity organization which provides heart surgery for underprivileged children in developing countries.

Irene Maumenee, MD, is Director of the Ocular Genetics Laboratory and Research Director of Ophthalmic Genetics at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at Chicago. In 1972 she established the Johns Hopkins Center for Hereditary Eye Disease. Her clinical and research interests concern the nosology and management of hereditary ocular diseases, population genetics, computer application to genetic analysis and molecular genetics. She has a long standing interest in the ocular complications of heritable disorders of connective tissue.She was the Co- Founder and then President of the International Society for Genetic Eye Diseases and Founder and long term President of the Ocular Genetics Study Club. She has published more than 300 peer reviewed articles and ten books.