Virtual Mini-Symposium: June 1st, 2022

8am – 12pm EST

Funded by:

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Personalized Genomics for CHD (PROCEED): What have we learned?

On behalf of the SickKids Labatt Family Heart Centre and the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, the ERA-PerMed/CIHR funded PROCEED (PeRsOnalized Genomics for CongEnital HEart Disease) consortium is pleased to host a scientific and patient symposium on personalized medicine in congenital heart disease with a special focus on tetralogy of Fallot and transposition of the great arteries. The mini symposium will bring together patient partners and collaborators from Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia to discuss exciting new approaches to applying genomics and AI to the care of children with congenital heart disease.

Learn more about the PROCEED project here and here.

Symposium Chair: Dr. Seema Mital       Symposium Coordinator: Jade Bouwmeester

Symposium Schedule

Meet the Faculty

Connie Bezzina, PhD

Amsterdam University Medical Center

Connie Bezzina, PhD

Connie Bezzina is Professor of Molecular Cardiogenetics at the Amsterdam University Medical Center. She conducts genetic studies in patients with inherited cardiac disorders, considering the broad spectrum of genetic complexity, ranging from monogenic to polygenic.

Jade Bouwmeester

The Hospital for Sick Children

Jade Bouwmeester

Jade Bouwmeester is a clinical research project coordinator for the Heart Centre Biobank Registry at SickKids Hospital. She facilitates the recruitment and sample collection of cardiac patients and their families for research. Jade provides clinical research support for congenital heart disease research studies which are run in collaboration with Heart Centre Biobank.

Jeroen Breckpot, MD PhD

Leuven University Hospital

Jeroen Breckpot, MD PhD

Jeroen Breckpot works as a clinical geneticist in the Center for Human Genetics with a special interest in prenatal diagnostics, syndromology and cardiogenetics. Since October 2019, he is appointed as a Tenure Track Professor at the Catholic University Leuven (KUL) where in 2011, he obtained his PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences with a thesis entitled ‘Copy Number Variation in Congenital Heart Defects’. His current research program at the Department of Human Genetics in Leuven targets the genomic background of CHD  and developmental disorders, and focuses on the identification of genetic modifiers underlying phenotypic variability of these disorders.

Gregor Dombrowsky

University Hospital Oldenburg

Gregor Dombrowsky

Gregor Dombrowsky studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Christian-Albrechts-University in Kiel, Germany. In 2018, Gregor started his PhD in the lab group of Prof. Marc-Phillip Hitz at the University Medical Center Schleswig Holstein where he has been working on the genetic contribution to congenital heart defects. In the beginning of this year, Gregor transferred along with Prof. Hitz to the University Clinic in Oldenburg, Germany where he works as a molecular geneticist.

Lindsay Freud, MD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Lindsay Freud, MD

Lindsay Freud, MD, FASE, FAHA is the Associate Director of Fetal Cardiology at the SickKids and an Associate Professor of Paediatrics at UofT. Her research centers on understanding the natural history of cardiac disease in utero and investigating fetal therapies to improve outcomes. She also explores the intersection between genetics and fetal cardiology, particularly as it relates to prognosis and counseling. Dr. Freud is currently leading an international effort to understand the impact of a prenatal diagnosis of 22q11.2 microdeletion syndrome on perinatal outcome. She is also exploring genetic variants that impact neurodevelopment in non-syndromic CHD.

Marc-Phillip Hitz, MD PhD

University Hospital Oldenburg

Marc-Phillip Hitz, MD PhD

Prof. Dr. Marc-Phillip Hitz is a paediatrician and clinical geneticist. Marc is the director of the University Institute of Medical Genetics at Oldenburg Hospital as well as the Professor of Medical Genetics at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg. His research focuses on the application of innovative technologies for improving the diagnosis and treatment of structural heart defects.

Robert Lesurf, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Robert Lesurf, PhD

Robert Lesurf is a Senior Bioinformatician and Data Scientist with the Mital lab at The Hospital for Sick Children. He uses genome sequencing and machine learning approaches to investigate causes of childhood heart disease. His goals are to understand how genetic variants influence disease severity and outcome, to use this knowledge to inform the clinical care of children with heart disease, and ultimately to discover new therapies for pediatric heart failure.

Seema Mital, MD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Seema Mital, MD

Dr. Seema Mital is a Staff Cardiologist & the Head of Cardiovascular Research at SickKids, Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto, and a Senior Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute. She is the Program Lead for PROCEED, is the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada / Robert M Freedom Chair of Cardiovascular Science, and the Scientific Co-Lead of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research.

Tanya Papaz

The Hospital for Sick Children

Tanya Papaz

Tanya Papaz is program manager for the Ted Rodgers Centre for Heart Research Cardiac Precision Medicine Program, where she is involved in managing the many activities of the program. Tanya is responsible for managing the Heart Centre Biobank Registry at SickKids Hospital, which fuels many of the research activities of the Cardiac Precision Medicine Program.

Rochelle Peer

The Hospital for Sick Children

Rochelle Peer

Rochelle Peer is a cardiac mom with almost 13 years experience in the SickKids world.  Her daughter, Annika was diagnosed with hypo-plastic right heart syndrome shortly after birth and in the last 6 years was complicated by a diagnosis of protein losing enteropathy. Rochelle is an avid supporter of ongoing research with complex cardiac diagnoses. She advocates for medical collaboration, and is always open and willing to share her insight and experiences on what life is like caring for a medically complex child.

Alex Postma, PhD

Amsterdam University Medical Center

Alex Postma, PhD

Alex V Postma is an assistant professor at the departments of Medical Biology and Clinical Genetics of the Amsterdam UMC, the Netherlands. His aim is to identify the underlying genetic causes in rare (congenital) diseases in order to better understand the pathophysiology of the disease and help improve genetic counselling and therapy. Recent work focused on congenital heart disease, specifically the genetics of tetralogy of Fallot and the transposition of the great arteries.

Doris Škorić-Milosavljević, MD

Amsterdam University Medical Center

Doris Škorić-Milosavljević, MD

Doris Škorić-Milosavljević is a M.D. and PhD candidate at Prof. Bezzina’s lab in the Amsterdam University Medical Center and studies the genetics of congenital heart disease, by performing both genome-wide association studies in large patient cohorts as well as family based sequencing studies. In January 2021 she started her training to become a clinical geneticist at the department of Human Genetics of the Amsterdam University Medical Center.

Rachel Vanderlaan, MD, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Rachel Vanderlaan, MD, PhD

Dr. Rachel Vanderlaan completed her medical training as part of a combined MD/PhD program at the University of Toronto with a PhD in Molecular Genetics. After completing her residency training in Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto, she she completed fellowship training in Congenital Cardiac Surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children. She completed an additional year as a Clinical Instructor in Congenital Cardiac Surgery at Morgan Stanley
Children’s Hospital at Columbia University in New York City before joining SickKids as a staff cardiovascular surgeon.

David Winlaw, MD

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

David Winlaw, MD

Dr. David Winlaw is a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and Professor in Surgery at University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA with an interest in the genetic contribution to structural heart disease and its impacts on early and late outcomes after neonatal surgery.

Ryan Yuen, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children

Ryan Yuen, PhD

Dr. Ryan Yuen is a Scientist in Genetics & Genome Biology Program at The Hospital for Sick Children, and an Assistant Professor in Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on exploiting whole genome-scanning methodologies to dissect the underlying genetic architecture in complex diseases.

Laura Zahavich

The Hospital for Sick Children

Laura Zahavich

Laura is an ABGC certified genetic counsellor who completed her M.Sc. in Genetic Counselling at the University of Toronto (U of T) She joined the Department of Genetic Counselling at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in 2009.  Since 2013, Laura has worked as a cardiac genetic counsellor in the Labatt Family Heart Centre. Laura provides counselling and support for families as well as leadership for other health professionals around genetic testing and diagnosis of pediatric inherited cardiac conditions. Laura is a Lecturer, clinical supervisor, and course coordinator in the M.Sc. Genetic Counselling Program at the University of Toronto and holds a Project Investigator appointment in the Research Institute at SickKids.

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