top of page

Western Sites

Dr. Andrew Mason
Project Lead

Andrew Mason.png

Dr. Mason is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta, where he is Director of the Applied Genomics Core and Director of Research for the Division of Gastroenterology. He trained at King’s College London Liver Unit and was a Gastroenterology Fellow at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. He set up his research program at the Ochsner Clinic Foundation, New Orleans Louisiana in 1994, where he served as Medical Director of the Liver Transplant program. He relocated to Canada in 2002 as an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scholar and an Associate Professor of Medicine.


He is the Western Canada lead investigator for the Canadian Network for Autoimmune Liver Disease studying the demographic and prognostic features of PBC and AIH. He takes part in clinical trials assessing anti-retroviral therapies for the treatment of primary biliary cholangitis. His other research interests includes: investigating viral discovery in samples from transplant recipients with recurrent liver disease and other idiopathic disorders; betaretroviral induction of autoimmune biliary disease; and diagnostic assay development to detect immune responses to betaretrovirus infection in patients with autoimmune liver disease.

PubMed citations

Dr. Aldo Montano-Loza

Aldo Montano-Loza.jpg

Dr. Montano-Loza obtained his undergraduate training at the Universidad de Guadalajara, in Mexico, where he graduated with an MD degree in 1998.  Then, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology & Endoscopy training at the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion, in 2005, and obtained a Master Degree in Medical Science at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico.  He went to obtained further training in Autoimmune Liver Diseases under the mentorship of Dr. Albert J. Czaja at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota in 2008, and in 2009, he finished another Fellowship in Advanced Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at the University of Alberta.  He obtained his PhD in Medical Science in 2013. He was the recipient of the International Travel Training Grant from the American College of Gastroenterology in 2006, the Clinical Research Awards from the American College of Gastroenterology in 2011 and 2018, the Canadian National Transplant Research Program Innovation Grant Award in 2018 and the Canadian Liver Foundation designated liver transplant research grant for 2019.

PubMed citations.

Dr. Mark Swain

Picture - Mark Swain-274 1.jpg

Dr. Swain is Professor of Medicine and Head of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the University of Calgary, Canada. He currently holds the Cal Wenzel Family Foundation Chair in Hepatology. Dr. Swain is a clinician-scientist with a basic science research interest focused on two main areas: (i) deciphering how inflammatory liver diseases cause symptoms such as fatigue, impaired cognition (“brain fog”) and altered mood (depression and anxiety), and (ii) delineating the role of the innate immune system in regulating hepatic inflammation . His clinical research interests are focused in the areas of fatty liver disease (NAFLD), autoimmune liver disease and viral hepatitis.

PubMed citations.

Dr. Hin Hin Ko

Hin Hin Ko.jpg

Dr. Ko is a Clinical Associate Professor affiliated with the UBC Division of Gastroenterology. She is part of the Pacific Gastroenterology Associates and based at St. Paul’ Hospital.

She completed her medical degree at the University of Toronto, Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology fellowship at UBC.  In addition, she completed a year of fellowship in Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Toronto.  She has special interests in viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver diseases and fatty liver disease.  Besides clinical work, she also does clinical research and teaching.

PubMed citations.

Eastern Sites

Dr. Gideon Hirschfield
Project Lead

Gideon Hirschfield.jpg

Dr. Gideon Hirschfield holds a Lily and Terry Horner Chair in Autoimmune Liver Disease Research and is an internationally trained clinician scientist committed wholly to discovery and translational sciences in liver disease. With undergraduate and clinical training, and practice, spanning the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London, Birmingham and Toronto, his drive is for the identification and implementation of effective, personalised therapies for patients with immune and inflammatory mediated liver diseases, delivered through innovative platforms and based on cutting-edge laboratory science.


He is recognised globally as a thought leader in liver medicine and recognised by his patients as being a patient centred clinician expert. With experience in tertiary Hepatology care (pre, peri-, and post-transplant) for already nearly 15 years. He provides world class opinion and direction on the management of patients with liver disease. He has published nearly 200 times on Pubmed and has papers spanning basic science, clinical science and clinical trials. He is recognised leader in Hepatology and well respected speaker and educator.

PubMed citations.

Dr. Bettina Hansen

Bettina Hanssen 0612-027.jpg

Dr. Hansen studied statistics and mathematics at the Institute of Mathematical Statistics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Next, she completed her PhD entitled 'Statistical models of treatment effects in chronic hepatitis B and C' in the Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC) in the Netherlands.

Presently, she is a Senior Biostatistician in the Toronto Centre for Liver Disease at Toronto General Hospital and an Associate Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. She also holds an academic appointment at Erasmus MC.

Together with the clinical research team, Dr. Hansen leads high-quality clinical research projects related to liver disease. The overall goal of her research program is to develop tools that can accurately identify patients who are at highest risk of experiencing disease progression or most likely to respond to treatment. To achieve this goal, she is developing individualized prediction models and dynamic scoring methods that can be applied in the daily medical practice.

PubMed citations

Dr. Julian Hercun


Dr. Hercun completed his medical training as well as his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology fellowship at the Université de Montreal. After completing additional training at the Liver Diseases Branch of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases he will be joining the Liver Unit of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) in 2021. His clinical and research interest include auto-immune liver disease as well as hepatic involvement in systemic diseases.

Dr. Aliya Gulamhusein

Steering Commitee

Steering Committee

Centre Investigators

Centre Lead Investigators


Dr. Lawrence Worobetz

Dr. Worobetz graduated in 1977 from the University of Saskatchewan.  Further training in Edmonton (Rotating internship), Vancouver (Internal Medicine), London (Gastroenterology).  Practiced as Lecturer, Division of Gastroenterology in New Zealand. Returned to University of Saskatchewan to eventually achieve status as Professor, Department of Medicine and Head of Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Saskatchewan.  Although trained as a Gastroenterologist, his practice has evolved into a purely outpatient hepatology practice.  His research interests have evolved to include drug-induced liver disease, hemochromatosis as well as autoimmune liver disease.  His main interest currently is to widen the profile of liver disease in which is currently woefully underrepresented and promote comprehensive multidisciplinary care of patients with liver disease.

Flemming_headshot_may 2018.jpg

Dr. Jennifer Flemming

Dr. Flemming is a hepatologist and clinician scientist at Queen’s University at the rank of Assistant Professor. She completed Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at Queen’s University from 2006-2011. She then completed an advanced fellowship in Clinical Hepatology and received a Master’s Degree in Advanced Clinical Research at the University of California San Francisco from 2011-2013. Her research program focuses on Health Services and Outcomes research related to cirrhosis and primary liver cancer using the databases holdings at ICES-Queen’s. Her program is currently funded by a Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Association New Clinician Scientist Award and an American Association for the Study of the Liver (AASLD) Foundation Clinical, Translational and Outcomes Research Award.

KQ- Picture.jpg

Dr. Karim Qumosani

Dr. Qumosani is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Western University. He is also the Program Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program and the Director of the Advanced Hepatology and Liver Transplantation Fellowship program at London Health Sciences Centre. He completed his MD at King Abdulaziz University and his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology fellowship at Western University. Dr. Qumosani trained in Advanced Motility and Advance Hepatology and Liver Transplantation at Western University. Clinically, his expertise is in Liver Transplantation, Cirrhosis related complications and Immune mediated Liver Disease. His research focuses primarily on Chronic Hepatitis C, Cirrhosis and Hepatocellular Carcinoma. Dr. Qumosani has a strong passion for teaching and mentoring in the area of medical education. His passion for continued medical education stems mainly from the huge steps forward in respect to learning modalities.

Kevork Peltekian.jpg

Dr. Kevork Peltekian

Dr. Peltekian is the head of Division of Digestive Care & Endoscopy at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre and Professor of Medicine and Surgery at Dalhousie University. He has been practicing as a specialist in liver disease and transplantation in Nova Scotia since 1995. Over the years, Dr. Peltekian has been frequently recognized for excellence in undergraduate and postgraduate education as well as research. He has over 80 peer-reviewed publications in high impact journals.

Over the years, he has held major leadership roles with:

  • Chairman and chief executive officer of the Canadian Liver Foundation 2005-2009

  • President of the Canadian Association for Study of Liver 2012-2014

For his volunteer work and contributions to the fight against liver disease, Dr. Peltekian was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He also received the CASL Distinguished Service Award for his significant contributions to the practice of Hepatology in Canada.

Marco Puglia Headshot.jpg

Dr. Marco Puglia

Dr. Puglia is a Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist at McMaster University. He graduated from medical school at the University of Ottawa.  He completed Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at McMaster University. He then completed a fellowship in Hepatology and Liver Transplant at the University of Toronto.  His clinical interests include the management of viral hepatitis, fatty liver disease, immune liver diseases, hepatocellular carcinoma and pre- and post-liver transplant patients.  His academic interests include teaching and participation in clinical trials.


Dr. Dusanka Grbic

Dr Grbic obtained her medical degree in 2007 at Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec. She did her residency in internal médecine and gastroenterology at Université de Sherbrooke. She completed a fellowship in hepatology with Université de Montréal CHUM St-Luc, Montréal, in 2013 and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston in 2014. She is assistant professor in gastroenterology division of  CIUSSS de l'Estrie CHUS since 2014. Her clinical interest is in hepatology. She helped implementing hepatitis C treatment unit in CHUS hospital and in a toxicology clinic in Sherbrooke. 

Nabiha Faisal.jpg

Dr. Nabiha Faisal

Dr. Faisal is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, section of Hepatology at University of Manitoba. She completed Medical School and received her medical training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology/ Hepatology in Pakistan and Transplant Hepatology Fellowship from Toronto. Her research interest includes nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune liver diseases, and database analysis/outcomes.

Tianyan Chen_MUHC.jpeg

Dr.Tianyan Chen

Dr. Angela Cheung

Dr. Jean-Philippe Wallach

Clinical Collaborators

Clinical & Site Co-Investigators

Dr. Marc Bilodeau, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

Carla Burgess, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS

Dr. Catherine Vincent, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

Dr. Hélène Castel, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

Sarah DeCoutere, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS

Dr. Claire Fournier, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

Dr. Jeanne-Marie Giard, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

Dr. Aliya Gulamhusein University Health Network, Toronto, ON

Dr. Erin Kelley, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON

Dr. Tasha Kulai, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS

Dr. Catherine Lowe, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Kingston, ON

Dr. Magnus McLeod, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS

Dr. Alnoor Ramji, St. Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver, BC. A

Surain Roberts, University Health Network, Toronto, ON

Dr. Nazia Selzner, University Health Network, Toronto, ON

Dr. Abdel-Aziz Shaheen, Foothills Medical Centre, Calgary, AB

Dr. Julie Zhu, Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre, Halifax, NS

PhD/ MSc Candidates

Western Sites

Bishoi Aziz

Bishoi Aziz.jpg

MSc  Department of Medicine, CEGIIR

University of Alberta


Bishoi is a co-investigator at CaNAL’s research team, working towards his MSc degree at CEGIIR, University of Alberta. He shares in leading the data construction in the Western centres participating in CaNAL, mainly Edmonton and Calgary. Bishoi focuses in his research on studying new Primary Biliary Cholangitis biomarkers; their significance of the disease biology and potential usage as a prognostic variable.

Bishoi has experience in clinical study design and biostatistics using STATA. He got his medical degree from Egypt, and got his Hepatology training in Assiut University Teaching Hospitals; a large liver transplant center, and plans to take an academic clinical career pathway in Canada.

Eastern Sites

Surain Roberts



University of Toronto 


Surain is a Biostatistician on CaNAL’s research team. He provides functional leadership on CaNAL’s data architecture, data integration, and statistical analyses across study sites. He is a PhD Candidate in Health Outcomes & Evaluations research at the IHPME, University of Toronto and his research focuses on the effectiveness of new therapies in Primary Biliary Cholangitis, treatment response, ethnicity, and quality of life. Surain graduated from the University of Chicago in 2016 with an AB in Biological Sciences specializing in Endocrinology.

Surain has expertise in biostatistics, statistical programming in R, research methodology, and coordination of large multidisciplinary teams. He excels at thinking through problems based on first principles and has specific interests in social determinants of health, longitudinal data analyses, and data visualisation. Long term, he hopes to contribute to decision making in healthcare through generation of data-driven evidence.

Christina Plagiannakos



University of Toronto


Christina is Msc student specializing in Health Services related Outcomes & Evaluation research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on treatment response, quality of life, and long-term outcomes in Autoimmune Hepatitis. Christina graduated from the University of Toronto in 2015 with a BSc. specializing in Mental Health Studies, and utilizes a social inequality and a biopsychosocial lens for inquiry. For the last decade she has worked in clinical research with youth, adult, and geriatric populations in both observational and experimental trial settings. She brings her expertise and knowledge in data-collection, study management, longitudinal and mixed-method methodologies, and statistical programming and analysis.

PhD & MSc Candidates

Project Staff

Project Staff 

Ellina Lytvak

Clinical Fellow

Jonelle Pallotta


Project Coordinator


Autoimmune Liver Teams

University Health Network Autoimmune Liver Team (Toronto, ON)

If you have a site team photo that you would like to submit, please send to

bottom of page