Dr. Baltzer's current research endeavours include biomarker screening in the basal thumb osteoarthritis population, and health costing analysis of hand trauma patients in Ontario.

Dr. Baltzer is currently exploring the possibility of establishing a unique biomarker profile for the patient population suffering from basal thumb osteoarthritis. Systemic markers of inflammation and joint degradation are the present targets of interest, with joint-local markers potentially indicating possible targets for novel intra-articular therapy development.

In Ontario, hand trauma patients substantiate a significant portion of emergency visits, often requiring extensive and multidisciplinary care long after the initial trauma. The frequency and volume of healthcare utilization and resulting costs can be explored to improve the current model for which care is delivered to these patients.

Team Members

  • Daniel Antflek, Clinical Research Coordinator
  • Anusha Ratneswaran, Post-doctoral fellow
  • Helal Endisha, Post-doctoral fellow
  • Helene Retrouvey, Plastic Surgery Resident
  • Adriana Dekirmendjian, Medical Student
  • Isra Hussein, Medical Student/MSc Candidate
  • Celine Yeung, Medical Student
  • Shawn Khan, Medical Student


Basal thumb osteoarthritis; hand trauma; cost analysis; nerve transfer; digit replantation



Dr. Chan is an Orthopaedic Hand and Wrist Surgeon and a Clinical Investigator at the University Health Network.

Her current research focuses the use of advanced wrist imaging techniques for analysis of joint contact forces and the early detection of wrist cartilage biochemical and morphological changes (the “pre-arthritic” state) post-trauma and following surgical joint preservation interventions. This research has the potential to provide surgeons with a better understanding of surgical timing for arthritis prevention, to improve upon current surgical techniques, and determine how such interventions affect and improve wrist cartilage health.


Wrist kinematics and biomechanics; advanced wrist bioimaging; patient-reported outcomes


Barbara Jemec is a Surgeon Educator for Plastic Surgery in the Hand Program at Toronto Western.

Her clinical research interest lies in improving outcomes and tailor-making the treatment for Dupuytren's disease. She is passionate about Global Surgery and established the national plastic surgery foundation for education in plastic reconstructive surgery in the UK. She continues to have strong ties to the Global Surgery community since her re-location and is enormously proud to be on the organizing committee of the international Global Health Bethune Roundtable conference, which in 2023 is held in Toronto. She is visiting Dhaka, Bangladesh in September 2023 to continue her long standing collaboration with local plastic surgeons.

Barbara Jemec was originally born in Copenhagen, Denmark and graduated in medicine from Copenhagen University in 1991, before relocating to England, UK where she trained and worked in the National Health Service for 30 years, including 17 years as a staff plastic surgeon in London, UK, before she moved to Toronto in 2021.


Dupuytren's disease; Small Joint Osteoarthritis; Hand Trauma



Plastic Surgery; Hand Surgery; Global Surgery


Academic Affiliation

Department of Surgery, University of Toronto

Education and Training

  • MD – Copenhagen University, 1991
  • Residency, Pre-requisite surgical residency for specialty training, 1991-1995
  • Speciality Training, Plastic Surgery, 1995-2003 including 2 years of Plastic Surgery research in Dupuytren's disease
  • PhD – London University, Dupuytren's disease, 2000
  • FRCS(Eng), Fellowship of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of England, 1995
  • FRCS(Plast), Fellow of the Intercollegiate Royal Colleges of Surgeons, UK in Plastic Surgery, 2002
  • European Board of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, 2003
  • FRCSC, Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Plastic Surgery Examination, 2019


English; Danish; Slovene

Contact Information

Admin: Tiffany Walford
Phone (admin): 416 603 5220
Fax: 416 603 5392
Email: /


Current publications list in PubMed.


Plastic and reconstructive surgery; hand surgery; carpal tunnel syndrome; arthritis



Dr. Kevin Zuo grew up in Edmonton, AB where he completed medical school at the University of Alberta before embarking on residency training in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto. During residency, he partook in the Surgeon-Scientist Training Program, investigating translational strategies for enhancing peripheral nerve regeneration under the supervision of Dr. Greg Borschel and Dr. Tessa Gordon. He obtained a Master of Applied Science from the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering. He subsequently moved to Boston to pursue subspecialty training in Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston, USA. Dr. Zuo is excited to begin his career in hand, wrist and peripheral nerve surgery with the exceptional team at the Toronto Western Hospital Hand Program. He will also support Dr. Heather Baltzer in expanding the adult Facial Paralysis Program. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son, travelling, practicing Spanish and playing basketball.

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