Sent on behalf of Dr. Robert Inman, Medical Director of the Arthritis Program, UHN and
Dr. Mohit Kapoor, Arthritis Research Director, UHN

Arthritis Program Newsletter July 2019


Dr. Christian Veillette

Division Head of Orthopaedic Surgery

Dr. Christian Veillette is the new Division Head of Orthopaedic Surgery at TWH. Dr. Veillette is a Clinician Investigator at Krembil and an Affiliated Faculty at the Techna Institute. He completed his medical degree at the University of Calgary followed by orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Toronto with Masters of Science degree in the Surgeon Scientist Program. He is a graduate of the Upper Extremity Reconstruction and Trauma Fellowship at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and the Mayo Shoulder and Elbow Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.


Special Thank You...

... to Dr. Rod Davey, Orthopaedic surgeon at TWH, for his valuable role as Interim Chief of Orthopedics in the past year. Dr. Davey brought his experience, sound judgement, and wisdom to this transition year and thus has made a major contribution to the Arthritis Program. Dr. Davey will stay on as Lead for Quality and Safety.

Dr. Rod Davey
Samra Mian

Director of Strategy and Transformation

Samra Mian will be joining the Arthritis Program at UHN to take on the role of Director of Strategy and Transformation. Samra will be working closely with the Arthritis Program and broader UHN leadership to drive the integration between clinical care, innovation, and education to develop models of collaboration that improve care delivery for musculoskeletal conditions. Samra has extensive strategic planning experience across the health system, and more recently supported the Arthritis Program with implementing the new Hip and Knee integrated bundle care model. Samra has a Master's in Clinical Epidemiology from Memorial University in Newfoundland, and an MBA from the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.


Physician Assistant

Brittany Belair recently joined the Arthritis Program as a physician assistant (PA) within the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery. Brittany completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and worked for five years as a nurse in orthopaedic surgery until she decided to pursue further education as a PA. She graduated from the University of Toronto’s Consortium of PA Education program operated in conjunction with the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and the Michener Institute of Applied Health Sciences in 2016. From there she worked for 2.5 years in Internal Medicine/ICU before returning to Orthopaedics as a PA.

Brittany Belair


Dr. Angela Cheung

New Chair in Integrative Medicine and Mentor of the Year

Dr. Angela Cheung, Director of the Osteoporosis Program, is the KY and Betty Ho Chair in Integrative Medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Cheung is a Senior Scientist at Toronto General Research Institute and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is currently holding a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Musculoskeletal and Postmenopausal Health. She recently received the SHS/UHN Michael Hutcheon Mentor of the Year.


New Canada Research Chair

Dr. Mohit Kapoor now holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Mechanisms of Joint Degeneration. Dr. Kapoor is the Director of Arthritis Research, and a Senior Scientist at Krembil where he studies osteoarthritis, a progressive joint disease that can lead to significant pain and disability. His team aims to identify new therapeutic strategies to counteract this disabling disease.

Dr. Mohit Kapoor



Advanced Clinician Practitioner in Arthritis Care (ACPAC) Program

The ACPAC Program is a unique post-licensure academic and clinical inter-professional education program, accredited by Continuing Professional Development, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto. The Arthritis Program at UHN has recognized the need for educating heath care professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and chiropractors to assume extended roles, optimize respective professional scopes of practice, and improve access to care for patients with rheumatologic and musculoskeletal disorders in both urban and rural regions. Therefore, the Arthritis Program is assuming responsibility for operationalizing the ACPAC Program, in collaboration with The University of Toronto. The medical leads will be from Rheumatology and Orthopedic Surgery. The UHN Arthritis Program is world-renowned for its research and clinical care related to arthritis. Expanding the scope of the UHN Arthritis Program to this high impact education initiative will enable UHN to share and translate knowledge related to arthritis on a wide scale, furthering the reach of its expertise.


Dr. Nigil Haroon Dr. Joan Wither

New CFI Funding

Dr. Nigil Haroon, a Scientist at Krembil and a rheumatologist at TWH, and Dr. Joan Wither, a Senior Scientist at Krembil and a rheumatologist at TWH, secured funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). The CFI announced funding for advanced research infrastructure for three investigators at UHN two of which are part of the Arthritis Program.

Dr. Joan Wither Dr. Zahi Touma Dr. Murray Urowitz

Lupus Canada Catalyst Grant

Dr. Joan Wither and Dr. Zahi Touma have been awarded for the project titled “Using CyTOF to dissect the interplay between Type I interferon and autoantibody production in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus”. Dr. Touma is a Clinician Investigator at Krembil and a rheumatologist at TWH. Dr. Murray Urowitz, a Senior Scientist at Krembil and a rheumatologist at TWH, has been awarded for his project titled "Identifying antimalarial-induced heart damage in systemic lupus erythematosus"

Dr. Vinod Chandran

National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF)

Dr. Vinod Chandran won the Diagnostic Test Grant from the NPF, an award renewable for further 4 years, for the project titled "Multi-omic diagnostic test for psoriatic arthritis in psoriasis patients". Dr. Chandran is a rheumatologist at TWH, an affiliate scientist at Krembil, and co-directs the Psoriatic Arthritis Program.


Plastic Surgery Foundation Grant

Dr. Heather Baltzer and was successful in the Plastic Surgery Foundation (PSF) Grant Application for the duration of September 2019-2021. The study will investigate potential markers of inflammation, cartilage breakdown and remodeling, subchondral bone changes, pain and metabolism in a large cohort of trapeziometacarpal osteoarthritis patients.

Dr. Heather Baltzer
Dr. Aileen Davis Dr. Anthony Perruccio

Good Life with OsteoArthritis Denmark (GLA:D) Competition

Dr. Aileen Davis, Senior Scientist at Krembil, and Dr. Anthony Perruccio, Scientist at Krembil, represented Canada at the international GLA:D competition held at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark on June 17 - 18, 2019. The goal of the competition was to make use of a large, longitudinal database of patients with osteoarthritis being managed in primary care to develop probing research questions with relevance for clinical practice and to undertake the necessary investigative analyses to answer these questions. Results from their investigation are being assembled for later publication.

Laura Passalent

Canadian Initiative for Outcomes in Rheumatology (CIORA)

Laura Passalent, PT, MSc, is an Advanced Practice Physiotherapist at TWH. Laura recently received funding from CIORA for her project, titled “Physical activity in axial spondyloarthritis: development and implementation of an evidence-based health technology approach to improve adherence to recommended guidelines.”.


CIHR, SPARTAN and SPARCC Fellowships

Dr. Akihiro Nakamura was recently awarded CIHR Fellowship 2018-2019 for his project titled “Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) as a Crucial Regulatory Cytokine and Therapeutic Target in Ankylosing Spondylitis”. In addition, he was one of three spondyloarthritis fellows across North America to be awarded the Spondyloarthritis Research and Treatment Network (SPARTAN) Fellowship Grants 2019. He was also one of three researchers across Canada to receive the Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) Pilot Projects-Seed Grants 2019 award. Dr. Nakamura is a PhD candidate in the Haroon Lab as well as a clinical fellow in rheumatology under the supervision of Dr. Inman and Dr. Haroon.

Dr. Akihiro Nakamura
Dr. Sayaka Nakamura

SPARCC Fellowship

Dr. Sayaka Nakamura was one of three researchers across Canada to receive the Spondyloarthritis Research Consortium of Canada (SPARCC) pilot projects-seed grants 2019 award.


CIHR Fellowship

Dr. Anusha Ratneswaran was recently awarded CIHR Fellowship 2018-2019 for her project titled “Delineating molecular signatures mediating osteoarthritis progression in the synovium by using single-cell RNA sequencing”. Dr. Ratneswaran is a post-doctoral fellow co-supervised by Dr. Kapoor and Dr. Baltzer.

Dr. Anusha Ratneswaran
Rohan Machhar Dr. Remy Pollock Dr. Sara Rahmati Dr. Ashish Mathew

EULAR and NPF Awards

Rohan Machhar and Dr. Remy Pollock received travel awards for the recent European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) Annual Congress in Madrid for their abstracts which were selected for oral presentations. Rohan Machhar is a lab technician and Dr. Remy Pollock is a Scientific Associate both at the Gladman/Chandran Lab. In addition, there were many successful applications to the NPF. Dr. Remy Pollock won the Discovery Grant for one year. Dr. Sara Rahmati, a post-doctoral fellow at the Gladman/Chandran Lab, won the Early Career Research Grant. Dr. Ashish Mathew, a clinical research fellow, won the Psoriatic Disease Research Fellowship.

Helal Endisha

OARSI Young Investigators Award

Helal Endisha, a PhD candidate at the Kapoor Lab, was one of the recipients of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) Young Investigators Award.


Osteoporosis Canada

Three trainees at the Cheung Lab recently received awards from Osteoporosis Canada.

Lindsie Blencowe, a PhD candidate, received an OC doctoral award. She is currently working on examining bone health in spinal cord injury patients, analyzing pentosidine using liquid chromatography followed by mass spectroscopy, analyzing CaMOS study year 10 for comorbid conditions, and analyzing muscle density of AFF patients.

Lindsie Blencowe
Madeline Dwyaer

Madeline Dwyaer, a MSc candidate, received an OC master's award. She is currently working on Prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy study, Cirrhosis study, and estrogen loss on Tubercular Bone Score.

Dr. Ifaz Haider received a Tim Murray travel award. Dr. Haider will be joining the Osteoporosis Program as a research fellow later this summer. He will be working on quantitative CT analyses and patient specific finite element modeling in the Atypical Femur Fracture patient population.

Dr. Ifaz Haider
Rohan Machhar Meital Yerushalmi

Skin Research Group of Canada (SRGC)

Meital Yerushalmi, a PhD candidate at the Chandran Lab, won a poster presentation award and Brian Wu, a PhD candidate at the Kapoor Lab won a Travel Award to the 2019 SRGC.

Helal Endisha Dr. Amanda Ali Dr. Poulami Datta

Canadian Connective Tissue Society Conference Awards

Three trainees from the Kapoor Lab received awards from this year’s Canadian Connective Tissue Society Conference. Helal Endisha, a PhD candidate, received a Travel Award. Dr. Amanda Ali, a post-doctoral fellow, received an Oral Presentation award. Dr. Poulami Datta, a post-doctoral fellow, received the 3 Minute Pitch Presentation award.

Dario Ferri Dr. Amanda Ali Dr. Carolina Muñoz-Grajales Dr.  Brain Wu

Krembil Research Day

Dario Ferri, a PhD candidate at the Wither Lab, was awarded second place for his oral presentation. Dr. Amanda Ali, a postdoctoral fellow at the Kapoor Lab, was awarded first place for her poster. Dr. Carolina Muñoz-Grajales, a PhD candidate at the Wither Lab, was awarded second place for her poster. Brain Wu, a PhD candidate at the Kapoor Lab, was awarded the Lab150 Innovation Award for his presentation.


Undergraduate and Summer Students Awards

Anas Samman

Anas Samman, supervised by Dr. Chandran, won the Amgen Scholarship for his summer research project “MicroRNA expression in psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis patients”.

Clare Sheen, supervised by Dr. Gladman, won the CIHR – Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients Summer Studentship for her summer research project “Examining genetic and epigenetic regulation of CXCL10 in the conversion from psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis”.

Clare Sheen
Hosna Sahak

Hosna Sahak, supervised by Dr. Chandran, won the CIHR – Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis Summer Studentship for her summer research project “Proteinase-activated receptor 2 signaling in psoriatic arthritis synovial fluid macrophages”.

Kirubel Goliad, supervised by Dr. Gladman, won the National Psoriasis Foundation Summer Studentship Grant for his summer research project “Examining the role of CXCL10 short and full-length Forms in the conversion from psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis”.

Kirubel Goliad
Laura Tang

Laura Tang, supervised by Dr. Kapoor, won the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award and the Milne Research Award offered by Victoria College at UofT for her summer project “The role of EphB4 in pulmonary fibrosis”.

Matthew Tobis, supervised by Dr. Chandran, won the University of Toronto, Institute of Medical Sciences Summer Studentship for his summer research project “T-Box 3 (TBX3) – A biomarker of psoriatic arthritis disease activity?”

Matthew Tobis

Medical Students Awards

Cameron Taheri

Cameron Taheri, supervised by Dr. Urowitz, won the Canadian Rheumatology Association / Pfizer Studentship for the project titled “Assessment of the value in-home automated BP monitoring against monitoring in the ambulatory clinic setting in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)”.

Jackie Tsang, supervised by Dr. Gladman, won the Canadian Rheumatology Association Research Summer Studentship for the project titled “Exploring cannabis use and perspectives among patients in a large observational psoriatic disease cohort in Canada”.

Jackie Tsang
Jagan Sivakumaran

Jagan Sivakumaran, supervised by Dr. Touma, has been selected to give an oral presentation at the 13th International Congress on Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) that was held in San Francisco in April. Jagan's research project aimed to determine which cardiovascular risk assessment tool most accurately predicts cardiovascular disease development in patients with SLE.

Kimberly Yuen, supervised by Dr. Touma, won the Queen’s University Summer Studentship for the project titled “Can the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics (ANAM) distinguish between cognitive domains compared to a comprehensive neuropsychological battery in patients with lupus?”

Kimberly Yuen
Louis Huynh

Louis Huynh, supervised by Dr. Chandran, won the Canadian Rheumatology Association Research Summer Studentship for the project titled “Dimensional disturbances in depression associated with psoriatic arthritis”.

Orli Silverberg, supervised by Dr. Gladman, won the Comprehensive Research Experience for Medical Students (CREMS) studentship for the project titled “Exploring cannabis use and perspectives among patients in a large observational psoriatic disease cohort in Canada”.

Orli Silverberg


Arthritis Program Meet&Greet

Arthritis Program Meet&Greet

In line with UHN’s campaign to improve the communications level with senior management, and establish a better communication strategy with the Arthritis Program team, a Meet&Greet took place in the BMO Education and Conference Centre on May 21, 2019. Clinical and research staff came together with the Arthritis Program Executive Team. Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN CEO, and Dr. Bradly Wouters, EVP Science and Research, joined the event and delivered the welcoming remarks.


Symposium on the Advances in Joint Health and Disease

Symposium on the Advances in Joint Health and Disease

The Arthritis Program at UHN and the Bone and Joint Institute at Western University co-hosted a symposium on the “Advances in Joint Health and Disease”. The symposium took place on May 5 and 6, 2019 at the BMO Education and Conference Centre. The event featured some of the leading international and national experts in basic, clinical and translational research in joint health and disease. The event was a great success with all the Invited international and national speakers, invited guests, faculty members, trainees and industry supporters who contributed to such engaging discussions.


Annual Luncheon for R. Fraser Elliott Society and Legacy for Life Members

The Toronto General & Western Foundation hosted a luncheon on May 27, 2019 at the BMO Education & Conference Centre for donors who are members of the R. Fraser Elliott Society (giving between $1,000-$10,000 annually or $10,000-$99,999 cumulatively) and Legacy for Life Society (future estate gifts committed). Dr. Mohit Kapoor, Director of Arthritis Research, and Dr. Christian Veillette, Orthopaedic Surgeon at TWH, served as the keynote speakers for this event.


GLA:D International Network Meeting

The first GLA:D International Network meeting was hosted this year at UHN on April 30, 2019, bringing together GLA:D clinicians and researchers from all across the world (Denmark, Canada including Ontario/Alberta/BC, New Zealand, Australia, China) to share experiences to date, and foster future clinical and research collaborations.


Chiropractic Arthritis Liaise Initiative (CALI)

Meital Yerushalmi, a PhD candidate at the Chandran Lab, is trying to initiate collaboration by creating the Chiropractic Arthritis Liaise Initiative (CALI). CALI aims to facilitate collaboration between chiropractic and arthritis associations in Ontario for the purpose of advancing inter-disciplinary patient care, arthritis research, and arthritis-related professional training for healthcare providers. She recently developed a Strategic Plan outlining gaps and proposed strategy, which was presented this month to Board members and senior faculty at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College.

(April - July 2019)


Advancing early identification of axial spondyloarthritis: An interobserver comparison of extended role practitioners and rheumatologists. Passalent L, Hawke C, Lawson D, Omar A, Alnaqbi K, Wallis D, Steinhart H, Silverberg M, Wolman S, Derzko-Dzulynsky L, Haroon N, Inman RD. J Rheumatol. 2019 May 1. pii: jrheum.180787. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.180787. [Epub ahead of print]

Click here for publication.


All-cause, cause-specific and age-specific standardised mortality ratios of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus in Ontario, Canada over 43 years (1971-2013). Tselios K, Gladman DD, Sheane BJ, Su J, Urowitz M. Ann Rheum Dis. 2019 Jun;78(6):802-806. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2018-214802. Epub 2019 Apr 16. PMID: 30992296

Click here for publication.


Elucidating the endogenous synovial fluid proteome and peptidome of inflammatory arthritis using label-free mass spectrometry. Mahendran SM, Keystone EC, Krawetz RJ, Liang K, Diamandis EP, Chandran V. Clin Proteomics. 2019 May 30;16:23. doi: 10.1186/s12014-019-9243-3. eCollection 2019.

Click here for publication.


Patterns of Depressive Symptoms Before and After Surgery for Osteoarthritis: A Descriptive Study. Power JD, Kudesia P, Nadeem A, Perruccio AV, Sundararajan K, Mahomed NN, Rampersaud YR, Gandhi R. ACR Open Rheumatology. 2019 Jun 1;1:4.

Click here for publication.


Protein-protein interaction data, their quality, and major public databases. Hauschild, A-C, Pastrello, C, Kotlyar, M and Jurisica, I. Analyzing Network Data in Biology and Medicine, An Interdisciplinary Textbook for Biological, Medical and Computational Scientists, Ed. N. Przulj. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp.151-192, 2019. ISBN 978-1-108-43223-8. DOI: 10.1017/9781108377706.

Click here for textbook.


The Prevalence and Clinical Associations of Subclinical Sacroiliitis in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Kelly OB, Li N, Smith M, Chan J, Inman RD, Silverberg MS. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 May 4;25(6):1066-1071. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izy339.

Click here for publication.


The relationship between patient acceptable symptom state and disease activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis. Fei JZ, Perruccio AV, Ye JY, Gladman DD, Chandran V. Rheumatology (Oxford). 2019 Jun 14. pii: kez202. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kez202. [Epub ahead of print]

Click here for publication.


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