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Executive Board

Dr. Talat Bessissow, MDCM MSc FRCPC, CIRC President

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

Talat Bessissow earned his medical degree at McGill University where he then completed post-graduate training in Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. In 2012, he trained in inflammatory bowel disease and advanced endoscopic imaging at the Gasthuisberg University Hospital, Leuven, Belgium under the supervision of professor Severine Vermeire. He also competed a Master in experimental medicine and epidemiology from McGill University in 2016. Since 2012, he is a full time Associate Professor to the Division of Gastroenterology and Attending Staff at the McGill University Health Center. He is a member of the McGill IBD group as well as the McGill small bowel program. His current research focuses on the role and outcomes of mucosal healing in inflammatory bowel disease as well as early detection of neoplastic lesions in ulcerative colitis. His research has led him to publish over 30 peer-reviewed full papers. He has served as a reviewer for multiple national and international journals and is currently on the editorial board of the Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.

Dr. Neeraj Narula BSc, MD, FRCPC, MPH, CIRC Past President

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, McMaster University; Staff Gastroenterologist, Hamilton Health Sciences, Hamilton, ON

Dr. Neeraj Narula is the director of the IBD clinic at McMaster University and staff gastroenterologist in Hamilton Health Sciences. He completed the Present-Levison advanced IBD fellowship in Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York, NY, in 2015. He trained to be a Chartered Accountant at the University of Waterloo and has worked at Ernst & Young and KPMG. He subsequently attended medical school at the University of Alberta. He completed internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship training at McMaster University. He obtained a Masters of Public Health at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. His research interests are predominantly in clinical epidemiology, nutrition, and pharmaceutical trials in IBD.  He has published over 90 peer reviewed publications and 4 book chapters in the field of IBD.

Dr. Christopher Ma, MD, MPH, FRCPC, CIRC Vice President

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Community Health Sciences. Division of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB

Christopher Ma is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. He received his MD from the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary and completed residency in internal medicine at the University of Alberta. He trained in gastroenterology and advanced clinical IBD in Calgary and then completed the Robarts Clinical Trials IBD Fellowship at Western University. He also completed his Masters of Public Health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. His primary interests are in research methods in IBD, endpoint evaluation, and clinical epidemiology.

Dr. Farhad Peerani, BA, MD, FRCPC, CIRC Treasurer

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, University of Alberta

Farhad Peerani graduated from the University of British Columbia’s medical program and completed residencies in internal medicine and gastroenterology at the University of Alberta. He pursued an advanced two-year clinical research Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Fellowship at both the University of Alberta and Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. He was subsequently appointed Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta on July 1, 2016 and leads the IBD clinical trials unit. His primary research interests are in real-world effectiveness of biologic therapies, IBD in the elderly and the primary sclerosing cholangitis-IBD phenotype.

Dr. Harminder Singh, MD MPH, CIRC Director of Research

Associate Professor of Medicine, Dept. of Internal Medicine and Community Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba

Dr. Harminder Singh received his MBBS and MD from All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Masters of Public Health from the University of Manitoba. He received training in gastroenterology, IBD, gastrointestinal oncology and health outcomes research at University of Manitoba. He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine, Dept. of Internal Medicine and Community Health Sciences, College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. He is a former member of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, an organization developing and disseminating clinical practice guidelines for primary care. He is a clinician scientist, epidemiologist and practicing gastroenterologist.

Dr Singh is a member of the Canadian Gastro-Intestinal Epidemiology Consortium (CanGIEC), and a co-author on the Steering Committee of the 2018 Burden of IBD Report for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (Journal of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology 2019). He has expertise in using administrative health care datasets to answer a variety of questions, including assessment of outcomes among individuals with inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr. Singh’s research interests have been varied and include clinical epidemiology, pharmaco-epidemiology and health services research. Dr. Singh has lead studies on epidemiology and prevention of colorectal cancer. He has lead studies assessing health care outcomes among individuals with IBD, including skin cancers, cervical cancer precursors, colorectal cancer, screening for cancers, risk of clostridium difficile infections, educational outcomes among those with IBD and care of elderly with IBD. He has lead knowledge translation studies to improve processes around colonoscopy, an essential test to diagnosis and manage those with IBD.

Dr. Cathy Lu, MSc, MD, FRCPC, CIRC Member at Large

Cathy Lu is a clinical assistant professor of medicine. She completed her internal medicine and gastroenterology residency at the University of Alberta. Dr. Lu completed a joint advanced IBD fellowship with specialization in intestinal ultrasound at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary. She is a member of the STAR (Stenosis, Therapy, and Anti-Fibrotic Research) Consortium and IBUS (International Bowel Ultrasound) scientific committee. Her primary research interests are in fibrostenotic Crohn’s disease, intestinal ultrasound, and biomarkers in diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment response in IBD.

Dr. Peter Lakatos, MD, PhD, DSc, FEBG, AGAF, CIRC Member at Large

Director of IBD Centre, Professor of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital

Dr. Lakatos is professor of medicine and director of IBD Centre at McGill University Health Centre. Until January 2017 he was head of the gastroenterology/hepatology ward, endoscopy unit and outpatient clinic at the 1st Department of Medicine, Semmelweis University in Budapest, Hungary. He is a member of the IOIBD and one of the founders and leader of the Hungarian IBD Study Group. He is associate editor in J Crohn’s Colitis, Digestive Liver Diseases and World Journal of Gastroenterology and section editor in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. During his career he published more than 400 original papers and reviews and 26 book chapters. His primary research interest is the epidemiology, quality of care, outcomes research and optimization of old and new medical therapies in IBD.

Dr. Sanjay Murthy, MD, MSc, FRCPC, CIRC Member at Large

Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa Associate Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Staff Gastroenterologist, The Ottawa Hospital IBD Centre

Dr. Murthy received his M.D. at the University of Ottawa, residency training in internal medicine at The University of Manitoba and residency training in gastroenterology at The University of Toronto. He received further subspecialty training in IBD and clinical nutrition at The University of Toronto and advanced endoscopy at The University of Mainz in Germany. He also received an M.Sc. degree in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research from the University of Toronto. He currently holds a Tier II Faculty of Medicine Research Chair in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases from the University of Ottawa. His research program uses clinical and health administrative data to study the quality and effectiveness of clinical practice methods and to develop clinical prediction models for personalized medicine in the areas of IBD and gastrointestinal cancers

Lori Radke, President & CEO, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

Lori joined Crohn’s and Colitis Canada as President & CEO in May 2021. Lori’s background includes twenty-five years of progressive leadership experience in business development, marketing, and partnership activation across the corporate and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently at Wilfrid Laurier University where she led the campus-wide development strategy and in executive roles at the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

Lori served as the National Vice President of Development and Marketing at the MS Society of Canada, after joining the organization in 2014. She was also the Executive Director of the MS Scientific Research Foundation, where she worked closely with the foundation chair, board members, and others to lead cultivation and solicitation of the current $75 million Acts of Greatness campaign. In addition to her work at the MS Society of Canada, Lori’s career involves leadership roles in corporate strategy, corporate partnerships, marketing and events at organizations such as Baycrest Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Canada, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, and IMG Canada.

Lori resides in Stratford, Ontario and she is an avid fan of the arts and sports. Like many Canadians, Lori is personally impacted by the disease and shares a deep connection to this cause.

Kate Lee, Vice President of Research and Patient Programs, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada

Kate Lee joined Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in April 2017. Before joining our organization, Kate held the role of Vice-President of Research and Career Development at The Arthritis Society. Areas of focus during her tenure at The Society were operational efficiency, patient engagement in research and developing a knowledge translation and exchange program. Prior to joining The Arthritis Society, Kate held the roles of Director of Research and Managing Director at the Canadian Arthritis Network – a Network of Centre of Excellence funded by the tri-council funding agencies of CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC.

Kate holds a PhD in biology from McGill University and an MBA from Rotman School of Management University of Toronto. When not at work, Kate enjoys gardening and researching restaurants to try in the Greater Toronto Area. She also has an amateur appreciation of art and loves attending art fairs. Kate is driven by her passion to make a difference in health and is looking forward to working with the IBD community to make a difference in the lives of those affected by Crohn’s or colitis.