Alberta Digestive Disease Summit

2019 Speakers




Alan Barkun

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Dr. Alan Barkun is an academic gastroenterologist, Director of Therapeutic Endoscopy, and Chief Quality Officer of the Division of Gastroenterology at McGill University and McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, Canada. He is the first and current recipient of the DG Kinnear Chair in Gastroenterology at McGill University.Dr. Barkun’s research focuses on assessing  effectiveness and costs of emerging and established  techniques that provide diagnosis and allow therapy  for patients afflicted with digestive conditions such as  ulcer bleeding, colorectal cancer, (including  screening), and both biliary and pancreatic diseases.  Dr. Barkun also studies the development of guidelines to incorporate these techniques in everyday practice and monitor how these are taken up and applied to enhance contemporary standards of care.


Rahima Bhanji


Rahima A. Bhanji, MD, MSc, FRCPC went to medical school at the University of Alberta. She received her training in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and hepatology at the University of Alberta. Her training in Hepatology was supported by Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver Clinical Fellowship.  She then completed  an advanced Transplant Hepatology Research Fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA. Rahima Bhanji also holds a master’s degree in Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. In January 2018, she was appointed as the Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta. She is a consultant in gastroenterology and hepatology.

Dr. Bhanji provides clinical care for patients with chronic liver disease and end-stage liver disease needing liver transplantation and post-transplant care.

Michelle Buresi


Dr. Michelle Buresi is a clinical Gastroenterologist at the South Health Campus in Calgary, where she has been practicing since 2012.  She completed an MD/Ph.D. in Intestinal Physiology in Calgary in 2006.  Her Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology fellowships were completed at the University of British Columbia.  She has since undergone further training in gastrointestinal motility, capsule endoscopy and double balloon enteroscopy.  She is the current medical lead for capsule endoscopy in Calgary. 

Timothy Caulfield


Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. His interdisciplinary research on topics like stem cells, genetics, research ethics, the public representations of science and health policy issues have allowed him to publish over 350 academic articles. He has won numerous academic and writing awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Trudeau Foundation and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He contributes frequently for the popular press and is the author of two national bestsellers: The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012) and Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash (Penguin 2015). Caulfield also has a strong social media presence and is the host and co-producer of the documentary TV show, A User’s Guide to Cheating Death.

Stephen Congly


Stephen Congly is a transplant hepatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Alberta in 2006 and completed internal medicine and gastroenterology training at the University of Calgary from 2006-2011. Subsequently, Dr. Congly completed additional fellowships in Hepatology at the University of Calgary in 2012 and in 2013, in Transplant Hepatology at Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN. Dr.

Congly is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Internal Medicine, Gastroenterology and Transplant Hepatology. He has a Master of Science in Health Economics, Policy and Management from the London School of Economics. His areas of clinical interest are advanced liver disease, liver cancer and liver transplantation. From the research perspective, he is interested in health technology assessment, liver cancer and access to care.

Brian Feagan

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Brian G. Feagan completed a medical degree at the University of Western Ontario (Western University) in London, Ontario, Canada. His postdoctoral training included residency in the Department of Medicine and a fellowship in Gastroenterology at the University of Western Ontario.

A Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Dr. Feagan holds membership in the Canadian and American Association of Gastroenterology, the American College of Gastroenterology, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (CCC) and the European Crohn’s & Colitis Organization (ECCO). He is the recipient of the 2013 Senior Achievement Award from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Dean’s Award of Excellence in 2013 from the University of Western Ontario. He has authored over 200 articles, book chapters and has also given over 900 invited presentations, at national and international scientific meetings.

In 1997, Dr. Feagan became Director of Robarts Clinical Trials at the Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario. His research efforts focus on the design and implementation of randomized controlled trials of therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. He has been the principal investigator on numerous large-scale randomized clinical trials.

Chris Fung


Christopher Fung is a radiologist with Medical Imaging Consultants and Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of Alberta.

After completing an academic trifecta of undergrad, medical school, and residency at the University of Alberta, he spent a year learning about crab cakes, American History, and a different view of healthcare while completing a fellowship in Baltimore, Maryland at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.

When he’s not giving talks at conferences, he’s often chasing around one of his children, playing hockey, or both.


Juan Gonzalez-Abraldes


Dr. Juan G. Abraldes is Professor at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, and director of the Liver Unit. He gained his MD in 1995 from the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and got his Board Certificate in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Liver Unit, Hospital Clinic, University of Barcelona (2000). He did a postdoctoral training at Yale University (2003–2004), gaining experience in pre-clinical models of portal hypertension and cirrhosis. He was a faculty member of the Hepatic Hemodynamic Laboratory and the Liver Unit, at Hospital Clinic Barcelona, until 2013, when he moved to Alberta. He is co-director of the Cirrhosis Care Clinic of the University of Alberta.

He has published over 150 papers on the pathophysiology, diagnosis and management of portal hypertension. He has co-authored the international Baveno guidelines for the management of portal hypertension in 2005, 2010 and 2015. He is the co-author of the American Association for the Liver Clinical Guidance for the management of varices and variceal bleeding in cirrhosis. He is associate editor of Liver International.

Marietta Iacucci


Dr. Marietta Iacucci is a Senior Associate Professor (Reader) and Honorary Gastroenterology consultant at the Birmingham University Hospitals, UK.

Dr. Iacucci received her Medical Degree and Gastroenterology training from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” School of Medicine. After serving as a Gastroenterology Consultant in Rome  for several years   she moved to  the Division of Gastroenterology as a Clinical Associate Professor of Gastroenterology at the University of Calgary in 2011. In 2016 she joined as the senior associate professor(reader )in gastroenterology at the university of Birmingham and honorary consultant.

She spent two years in London and Cambridge ,UK and in Mainz, Germany , Milan, Italy and Tokyo, Japan. During this period she became very involved with management of IBD. She is focused on advanced endoscopic imaging and endoscopic molecular labeling in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal disease  advanced polypectomy (EMR, ESD) and management of inflammatory bowel disease.

She is a fellow and member of American Gastroenterology Society of Endoscopy committee, EduCom  European Crohn’s  and Colitis organisation committee,  Global interventional Inflammatory Bowel Disease Group  committee ,British Society Gastroenterology research group of endoscopy , and ESGE  advanced imaging  in colorectal neoplasia guidelines .

She has designed, validated and published new endoscopic scores in IBD and developed new endoscopic training modules of optical diagnosis lesions characterizations in colonic lesions and IBD .She has published several manuscript and been invited to deliver lectures , live endoscopy at many international and national conferences including ASGE,ESGE, BSG and ECCO.

Jennifer Jin


Jennifer Jin completed her medical school and internal medicine residency training at the University of Saskatchewan. She then trained in Gastroenterology at the University of Ottawa and did a fellowship in Clinical Nutrition at the University of Toronto. She returned back out west where she works in the Division of Gastroenterology at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. She is one the physicians in the Home Nutrition Support Program and Home Parenteral Nutrition Program and is the medical lead for Nutrition Services for the northern zone of Alberta.

Dina Kao


Dr. Dina Kao is a gastroenterologist at the University of Alberta and directs the Edmonton FMT program. Her clinical and research interests are in how modulating intestinal microbiome can improve intestinal disorders.

Gil Kaplan


Dr. Kaplan is an Associate Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. Dr. Kaplan is a gastroenterologist and epidemiologist who is internationally renowned for studying the global epidemiology of digestive diseases. Dr. Kaplan’s research program establishes the global burden of digestive diseases, evaluates environmental determinates of the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), and then translates this knowledge into the improvement of care for patients living with digestive diseases. He holds the Embedded Clinician Research Chair from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is the Scientific Director of Alberta Health Services’ Digestive Health Strategic Clinical Network. He is the Chair of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Counsel of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.


Kris Kowdley


Dr. Kowdley received his BS in Biology and Anthropology as a member of the Dean's List at Columbia University, and his medical degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at Oregon Health Science University and a Fellowship in Gastroenterology and Hepatology at Tufts University School of Medicine.

 Dr. Kowdley is internationally recognized as a clinician, educator and researcher in the area of liver disease and has presented his research on liver diseases at more than 165 national and international meetings and scientific symposia. He is the author of over 450 articles, book chapters, reviews and commentaries in this area and has been published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Archives of Surgery, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, American Journal of Physiology, New England Journal of Medicine, and among other professional publications.

Adriana Lazarescu


Dr. Adriana Lazarescu is a gastroenterologist and the director of the GI Motility Lab at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton.  She received her medical degree from the University of Toronto. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the University of Western Ontario and her Gastroenterology residency at Queen’s University.  She went on to complete a CIHR-funded clinical research fellowship in Esophageal Motility at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.  Dr. Lazarescu is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Alberta.  Her main clinical and research interests are in GI motility and medical education.


Eddie Liu


Eddie Liu is a PGY 4 GI fellow at University of Alberta. He is originally from Windsor Ontario. He went to Western University for medical school, where he also completed a 1 year Clinical Research Fellowship. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Saskatchewan.

In his spare time he enjoys taking long walks with his dog Molly at the Mill Creek Ravine in Edmonton.

Gregory Lutzak


Dr. Greg Lutzak is a member of the Division of Gastroenterology at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton.  Dr. Lutzak completed his M.D. degree, Internal Medicine residency and Gastroenterology residency at the University of Alberta.  Following completion of his Gastroenterology training he completed a fellowship in Therapeutic Endoscopy at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Washington.  He joined the Royal Alexandra GI group shortly after completing his fellowship.  His clinical interests include endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), pancreatico-biliary endoscopy (ERCP) including cholangioscopy, endoscopic mucosal resection (EMR) and the placement of endoluminal metal stents.  Dr. Lutzak is a member of the AGA, ACG, ASGE, and CAG.  

Rachid Mohamed


Rachid Mohamed is a gastroenterologist at the Peter Lougheed and Foothills Medical Centres specializing in advanced pancreaticobiliary and luminal endoscopy. He completed his medical school at the Universities of Toronto and Alberta, internal medicine residency at the University of Alberta and gastroenterology and advanced endoscopy fellowships at the University of Calgary. He is currently the gastroenterology site lead at the Peter Lougheed Centre and head of Therapeutic Endoscopy for the Calgary region. His clinical interests include pancreaticobiliary endoscopy, interventional endoscopic ultrasound and advanced tissue resection.

Louise Morrin


Louise Morrin is the Senior Provincial Director of the Digestive Health and the Kidney Health Strategic Clinical Networks.  This role involves working with a broad range of stakeholders to identify opportunities to improve the quality of care for those with digestive diseases and kidney disease in all its dimensions across the continuum, develop and implement innovative solutions and create sustainable quality health care for Albertans. Louise Morrin completed her BSc (PT) and MBA at Queens University and has over 30 years experience in health care with a diverse background in clinical practice, administration, teaching and research in the areas of quality improvement and chronic disease prevention, management and rehabilitation.

Yasmin Nasser

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Dr. Yasmin Nasser is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and a clinician-scientist in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. As a clinician-scientist, she is a member of the Gastrointestinal Research Group and an associate member of the Snyder Institute for chronic disease. She completed her MD/PhD (Enteric Neurobiology) in 2008, medical residency at the University of British Columbia and gastroenterology fellowship training at the University of Calgary. Thereafter, she went on to complete both an advanced fellowship in Clinical GI Motility, as well as a postdoctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Vanner at Queen’s University where she studied basic mechanisms of visceral pain and hypersensitivity. She has been the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a CAG/CIHR/CCC Fellowship, the John Alexander Stewart Fellowship, and a Young Investigator Award from the American Neurogastroenterology & Motility Society.

She is an expert in the management of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and upper/lower GI motility disorders. She runs functional GI disorders clinics with the Primary Care Network and the Nurse Navigator initiative at Foothills Medical Centre. She is also co-lead for the High Risk Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) clinic, which sees undifferentiated patients with diarrhea and abdominal pain, many of whom are newly diagnosed with IBD. Dr. Nasser’s laboratory is focused on the role of the microbiome in chronic pain, which pertains to disorders such as IBD and IBS. The overall goal is to develop innovative approaches to the treatment of chronic pain, thus improving quality of life and preventing the use of chronic narcotic therapy in these disorders


Remo Panaccione

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Dr. Panaccione is currently a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic at the University of Calgary and Director of Gastroenterology Research and Director of Medical School Admissions at the Cumming School of Medicine.

 Dr. Panaccione graduated from the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario) with a degree in Medicine in 1993.  He went on to complete his Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology training at the University of Western Ontario and is certified as a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology.

Maitreyi Raman


Dr. Maitreyi Raman is a Gastroenterologist and Physician Nutrition Specialist. She completed Medical School at the University of Ottawa, and Internal Medicine/Gastroenterology at Dalhousie University. She then did an advanced fellowship in Clinical Nutrition at the University of Toronto, and a MSc at the University of Calgary. Presently, she is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

In addition Dr. Raman is the Medical Director for Nutrition Services, Director for AsCEND (Alberta's Centre of excellence for nutrition in Digestive Diseases) and Associate Director for Admissions at the University of Calgary. Dr. Raman's research interests include malnutrition in IBD, nutritional modulation of the microbiome in IBD, and malnutrition in liver cirrhosis. 

Douglas Rex


Dr. Douglas K. Rex is Chancellor's Professor and Professor of Medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine and Director of Endoscopy at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis. He graduated from Harvard College, Summa Cum Laude in 1976 and with highest distinction from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1980. He served as Chief Medical Resident at Indiana University Hospital and joined the faculty at Indiana University in 1985. He is a full-time clinical gastroenterologist at Indiana University Hospital. His major research interests have been in colorectal disease and, in particular, colorectal cancer screening and the technical performance of colonoscopy.

Colin Schieman

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Colin Schieman is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Calgary in the section of thoracic surgery. He completed his residency in general surgery, and his first fellowship in thoracic surgery at the University of Calgary. He then completed an additional fellowship in advanced oncology and minimally invasive surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

His academic interests involve surgical education, research and clinical trials, and clinical innovation. His clinical practice spans the breadth of thoracic surgery but he has a special interest in minimally invasive techniques for lung, mediastinal and esophageal surgery as well as advanced endoscopic procedures.

He is a member of the Alberta POEM working group.

Hemant Shah


Dr. Hemant Shah is an Assistant Professor, Staff Hepatologist and Clinician-Educator at the Francis Family Liver Clinic, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto. His clinical focus is viral liver disease and he maintains a busy teaching practice. In addition to clinical care, Dr. Shah is actively engaged in projects to develop innovative models of care for viral hepatitis and fatty liver, progress interprofessional collaboration and improve knowledge levels amongst primary care and specialty providers. Dr. Shah is a lead for Echo Liver Ontario, a co-principal author of the Canadian Consensus Guidelines for Hepatitis C 2018 published in CMAJ and is widely regarded for his teaching sessions.  He has been honoured for his work as the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Association for the Study of Liver’s Education Excellence Award for contributions to medical education nationally.

Keith Sharkey

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Dr. Keith Sharkey is Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (CCC) Chair in IBD Research at the University of Calgary. 

Keith Sharkey was educated at the University of London (B.Sc. Hons., Nutrition) and the University of Liverpool (Ph.D., GI Physiology).  After postdoctoral training in Hungary, the UK and Canada, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine (1990) and has remained at the University of Calgary for his academic career.

Dr. Sharkey’s research is focused on understanding the physiology and pathophysiology of the neural control of the gastrointestinal tract and brain-gut interactions in health and disease.  His lab focuses on the impact of intestinal inflammation on the enteric nervous system, the role of the endocannabinoid system in the control of GI function and the role of enteric glia in enteric neural control of GI function.  He has published over 250 original peer-reviewed research articles, reviews, and book chapters.  For his contributions to understanding the neural control of digestive and defensive functions of the gastrointestinal tract, he was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Harneil Sidhu


Started with Medical Imaging Consultants, as staff Vascular and Interventional Radiologist. Currently Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Diagnostic Imaging at the University of Alberta. Currently Royal Alexandra Diagnostic Imaging Site chief.

Completed Medical School at the University of Western Ontario, Residency at the University of Alberta and his Fellowship in Interventional Radiology at the University of Virginia. Current member of Society of Interventional Radiology and Canadian Association of Interventional Radiology.

Melanie Stapleton


MD 1999 University of Calgary; Internal Medicine & GI residency University of Calgary 1999-2004; Clinical Nutrition Fellowship University of Toronto 2005.

Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary

GI Program Director 2013-present


Hillary Steinhart


Dr. Hillary Steinhart is a Professor of Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and holds a faculty appointment at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.  From 2000 to 2015 he was Head of the Combined Division of Gastroenterology at Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network in Toronto and is presently the Medical Lead of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital..  

Dr. Steinhart has a busy clinical practice helping people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease manage their condition and lead normal lives. His research interests include the evaluation of new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, clinical trials methodology, disease severity evaluation and complications of inflammatory bowel disease.  He has published over 150 research papers as well as two books on Inflammatory Bowel Disease for patients and families.

Christian Turbide


Christian Turbide, MD FRCPC is a clinical assistant professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary, and Examiner at Royal College of Physicians. He was voted teacher of the year for endoscopy teaching in 2009 and 2015. Christian is a commentator on Radio Canada and an author featured in Huffington Post.

Erin Wishart


Dr. Wishart completed her medical school at the University of Alberta and Internal Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She completed her GI training at the University of Calgary. Dr. Wishart will be returning to UofA next year for Advanced Therapeutic Endoscopy.

Clarence Wong


Dr. Wong is a gastroenterologist and Associate Professor with the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Alberta. He is an Attending Staff gastroenterologist at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, University of Alberta Hospital and the Cross Cancer Institute. He holds a BSc in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Calgary and a MD degree from the University of Alberta. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology having completed medical residency at McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of Alberta. During his training, Dr. Wong was awarded research fellowships from both the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology for translational research in Experimental Oncology. He has also completed a fellowship in endoscopic ultrasound and is a therapeutic endoscopist focusing on gastrointestinal cancers. He is the medical director of the Edmonton Endoscopic Ablation Program which treats Barrett’s esophagus and early upper gastrointestinal tract cancers. He is also the provincial medical director of the Alberta Colorectal Cancer Screening program (ACRCSP). His research interests include clinical and laboratory innovations in colon cancer screening and Barrett’s esophagus. He received funding from AHFMR and Alberta Innovates. Dr. Wong is a Past-President of the Alberta Society of Gastroenterology. He has received regional and national teaching awards for excellence in medical education including Endoscopy & Teacher of the Year from the UofA GI Residency Training Program, the University of Alberta Medical Students’ Association Teacher of the Year Award, the Canadian Association of Medical Education (CAME) Certificate of Merit, and the University of Alberta Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.


Ted Xenodemetropoulos


Dr. Xenodemetropoulos is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine at McMaster University, and is a consultant gastroenterologist at Hamilton Health Sciences. He completed his B.Sc. at Brock University (2000). Subsequently, he completed his undergraduate medical training at the University of Alberta (2005). He then completed graduate medical training in internal medicine (2008) and gastroenterology (2010), as well as his M.Sc. in e-Health (2012) at McMaster University.

Check back soon for more details on the speakers presenting at the 2019 Alberta Digestive Disease Summit.