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Shoo Lee, MBBS FRCPC, PhD Director, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Toronto, ON

Dr. Shoo Lee is a neonatologist and health economist. He is the Scientific Director of the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; Professor of Paediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and Public Health at the University of Toronto; and Paediatrician-in-Chief and Director of the Maternal-Infant Care (MICare) Research Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital. He founded the Canadian Neonatal NetworkTM, and is the Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Team in Maternal-Infant Care. His research focuses on improving quality of care, patient outcomes and health care services delivery. He has received many awards for his work, including the Knowledge Translation Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Aventis Pasteur Research Award and the Distinguished Neonatologist Award from the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Premier Member of Honour Award from the Sociedad Iberoamericana de Neonatologia, and the Magnolia Award from the Shanghai government.

 

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Katharina Staub, President, Canadian Premature Babies Foundation / Fondation pour bébés Prematurés Canadiens, Edmonton, AB

Katharina’s professional training  is in language education. She holds a B. Ed. from the University of Alberta in Edmonton and a B.A. in Primary Education from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Katharina has worked in an international setting for many years and has expertise in the areas of international recruitment and communications. She speaks German, French and English.

Most importantly though, Katharina is the mother of preterm twins born at 27 weeks gestation in 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta. This is when Katharina became convinced that there needed to be an increase in public awareness about prematurity and better information and education of parents during pregnancy. In 2009, Katharina met Silke Mader, the founder of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants, EFCNI. After having seen what great work was done by EFCNI across Europe, Katharina knew there was a need for a national Canadian organisation for Premature Babies. In Canada, Québec was the only province that had a professional association for premature babies, Préma-Québec led by Ginette Mantha, has supported families for 10 years across the province.

CPBF- FBPC was founded in 2012 by Katharina together with experts and stakeholders. Many staff, families and industry have helped along the way and have supported the creation of this foundation.

 

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Diane Kalina, BSc, CDir, Principal, Biocatalyst 4 Development, Toronto, ON

Diane Kalina is a Managing Director of the consulting firm BioCatalyst4Development. Previously she was President and Managing Director of PDC Biotech GmbH, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Vienna Austria. The company is developing a pipeline of novel compounds which target the prostaglandin F2 alpha receptor for the treatment of preterm labour and primary dysmenorrhea.

Prior to the establishment of PDC, Diane was President and Principal Consultant at BioCatalyst Yorkton Ltd, a company consulting in partnerships and licensing in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. A founding member of the Canadian Healthcare Licensing Association, she established its practical licensing and partnership course “Architects of Alliances”.

 

Other executive experience with biotech companies includes: President of York Medical (YM BioSciences now divested) and CFO of BCY LifeSciences (divested). She has also served on the board of directors for several publicly traded companies including ARIUS Research, Dimethaid (now Nuvo Research), York Medical and BCY LifeSciences.

 

Diane also spent 17 years with Glaxo (now GSK) as head of marketing and Director of Business Development and Licensing.

 

Diane is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, B.Sc. (Physiology) and has attained the designation of Chartered Director (C. Dir.) from the McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.

 

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Mark Johnson, PhD, MRCP, MRCOG Professor and Clinical Chair in Obstetrics, Imperial College, London, UK

I run a research group that focuses on translational research. The group does basic laboratory based research and moves the ideas through appropriate models before starting human studies. My group includes 3 post-doctoral scientists and 10 higher degree students (1 MDres and 9 PhDs). 2012-14, the group published 18 papers and 2 PhD and 1 MD students were awarded their degrees. The group works in 2 areas: preterm labour and the care of pregnant women with heart disease. Preterm labour is commonly associated with maternal infection and an excessive activation of the maternal immune system. Babies born after preterm labour are at greatest risk of an adverse outcome, including cerebral palsy, chronic lung and bowel damage. This work is part of a larger project investigating the impact of pregnancy on the maternal immune system. This work is essential to our understanding the reasons for the increased risk of maternal death from flu, malaria and overwhelming sepsis. This important work is an ongoing collaboration between our group and the groups of Professor Masoa Takata, Head of Anaesthetics, and of Dr Nesrina Imami, Reader in Immunology, both based at Chelsea and Westminster. The only agent that currently reduces the risk of preterm labour in high-risk women is progesterone. Despite many studies showing its efficacy, we still do not know whether it improves perinatal outcomes nor do we know how it works. Over the last 3 years my work has shown that all the established theories are incorrect, we have identified several potential mechanisms of action, but much work remains to be done to be actually fully understand not only how it works, how we can enhance its action and to define the potential adverse effects on the maternal immune system associated with its use.

Cardiac disease is the leading cause of maternal death in the UK. This is an area in which the Chelsea and Westminster can become dominant in the UK. At the Chelsea and Westminster, we care for one of the largest groups of pregnant women with heart disease in Europe. We have a highly active clinical and research collaboration with Professor Michael Gatzoulis, Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, Dr Lorna Swan and Dr Anselm Uebing of the Royal Brompton Hospital and Professor Jolien Roos-Hesselink of Erasmus Hospital, Rotterdam. In addition, we have a basic science collaboration with Dr Ken MacLeod, Reader in Cardiac Physiology, NHLI). Currently, we have a funded clinical research fellow, who is co-ordinating an ongoing ECHO study through pregnancy.

I am the Chair of the RCOG preterm labour CSG. The group consists of Obstetricians, Neonatalogists, Scientists, Midwives and members of the public. Our remit is to increase funding for preterm labour research in the UK. We advise on project development and will develop our own projects. I aim to increase the science and neonatal input to projects and to increase the number and quality of applications in this subject area. I am a member of the advisory board for Action Medical Research and the JRC (C&W). I am a Trustee for the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust Charity and the Westminster Medical School Research Trust. I am a member of the Research Strategy Board for C&W.

 

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Durlin Hickok, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Sera Prognostics, Salt Lake City, UT

Durlin Hickok is trained in obstetrics and gynecology as well as maternal-fetal medicine. In addition, he received a master of public health degree in as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. Following his fellowship, he joined the faculty of the University of Washington and practiced there and in other settings for the next 15 years.

 

Throughout his career, Dr. Hickok has remained focused on prediction and prevention of preterm birth. As the Senior Vice-President of Clinical Affairs at Adeza Biomedical, he was part of a management team that successfully developed and commercialized Fetal Fibronectin, a FDA-approved product for prediction of preterm delivery. During his tenure with Adeza and Cytyc Corporation, he was responsible for the preparation and submission of a New Drug Application for Makena (17 OHPC), which was eventually approved for prevention of preterm birth in women with a prior preterm delivery.

 

Dr. Hickok is currently a member of the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Society for Gynecologic Investigation, and the Pacific Coast Obstetrics and Gynecology Association.  As the Senior Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer of Sera Prognostics, Inc, he is part of a team developing a early pregnancy, serum-based test for prediction of preterm birth using high dimensional proteomic technologies.

 

Edward Evantash, MD, Medical Director, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Hologic Inc., Marlborough, MA

Dr. Evantash received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  After completing an internship and residency in Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins in 1993, he joined the faculty at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.  As an assistant professor at Tufts, he directed the medical student clerkship and was Division Chief of General Obstetrics and Gynecology.  Dr. Evantash has authored numerous papers in the field of women’s health.  In 2009, Dr. Evantash became the Medical Director and Vice President of Medical Affairs at Hologic.

 

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Kim Kamdar, PhD, Partner with Domain Associates (Venture Capital Firm), San Diego, CA

Kim joined Domain in 2005 and became a partner in 2011.  With a background in small molecule drug discovery, Kim has been involved in cutting edge therapeutic start-ups and has been a major part of the identifying companies with promising molecular and companion diagnostics to support personalized medicine.

 

Present board memberships include Ariosa Diagnostics, Epic Sciences, Neothetics, Obalon Therapeutics, ROX Medical, Sera Prognostics, Syndax Pharmaceuticals and Tragara Pharmaceuticals.  She was also involved with Corthera until the company was sold to Novartis in February 2010 and BiPar Sciences until that company was sold to sanofi-aventis in April 2009.

 

Prior to Domain, Kim was a Kauffman Fellow with MPM Capital.  Prior to joining MPM, she was a research director at Novartis, where she built and led a research team that focused on the biology, genetics and genomics of model organisms to uncover small molecules that modulated signaling pathway networks.  Kim is a founder of Aryzun Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company utilizing protein-protein interaction mapping for small molecule discovery with an initial focus on anti-infectives and oncology.  Kim is the author of ten papers as well as the inventor on seven patents.  She received her B.A. from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry and genetics from Emory University.

 

Kim serves as an advisory board member of Eric Topol’s NIH supported Clinical and Translational Science Award for Scripps Medicine and of Evolvence India Life Sciences Fund, a private equity fund providing growth capital to Indian pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  She is also a board member of San Diego’s CONNECT Foundation and the Hastings Center, a nonpartisan bioethics research institution.

 

Sylvain Chemtob

Sylvain Chemtob, MD, PhD, Professor, Universite de Montreal, Montreal, QC

Sylvain Chemtob is a reputed neonatal pharmacologist and physiologist, with expertise on mechanisms implicated in ischemic retinopathies and other conditions involving inflammation. He has also initiated a new technology to develop peptidomimetic drugs that target membrane receptors; some compounds are licensed to industry, and one which successfully completed Phase Ib clinical trial is Phase II-ready (PDC Biotech). His seminal work also triggered the approval (EMEA [2004], FDA [2006]) of new therapies for closure of ductus arteriosus, which is now standard of care.

Sylvain Chemtob is author of over 230 articles reported in major journals, as well as inventor of 10 patents. He has trained so far 45 graduate students and 28 post-graduate fellows (MDs and PhDs). He has received numerous awards and is a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He holds a Canada Research Chair (Vision Science) and the Leopoldine Wolfe Chair in Translational Research in age-related macular degeneration at Universite de Montreal.

 

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Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Dr. Adams Waldorf is an Associate Professor in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Washington.  She has focused her research on mechanisms of preterm labor, maternal-fetal immune responses, fetal injury and placental innate immunity.  She has worked in a variety of animal models of intrauterine infection and preterm labor including the nonhuman primate (pigtail and rhesus macaques), guinea pig and mouse.  Over the last 10 years, she has refined a unique chronically catheterized nonhuman primate model of pregnancy in order to test new therapeutics and investigate mechanisms of bacterial invasion and fetal injury during preterm labor.  For her studies of preterm birth, Dr. Adams Waldorf has been funded by the NIH, March of Dimes, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and the GAPPS/Gates Foundation.

Laurence Rulleau, PhD, Vice-President, Business Development, Univalor, Montreal, QC

photo and bio profile to come shortly.