Who We Are
SunnyStroke is a communication platform connecting neurointerventional physicians to facilitate bleeding edge endovascular stroke therapy to patients across Ontario and Canada. Started in 2014 at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, SunnyStroke is helping deliver treatment when time matters most.
Modern stroke treatment is a team effort! Performance from our "athletes" - Neurology, Neuroradiology, Neurosurgery, Anesthesia, and the nursing and angio technician are all required to optimize patient outcomes. SunnyStroke acts as the training, gathering statistics and reporting team performance for each case.
Dr. Avery Nathens, MD PhD FRCSCDr. Nathens is currently the Chief of Surgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. He is an attending trauma surgeon and intensivist with a clinical interest in surgical infection. He is chair of the Ontario Trauma Advisory Committee and Director of the American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program. His research interests include trauma system effectiveness and quality of trauma care. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Systems of Trauma Care and has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers focusing on trauma system design and implementation.
Dr. Leo da Costa, MDDr. da Costa received his MD from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1995 and finished his neurosurgical training in 2000, also in Brazil. He worked as a staff neurosurgeon at the Benjamin Guimarães Foundation and João XXIII State Trauma Hospital for three years before coming to Toronto for his fellowship training. He completed four years of fellowship training at the University of Toronto in Cerebrovascular Surgery, Interventional Neuroradiology and Spine Surgery and joined the Division of Neurosurgery as an Assistant Professor in September 2008. His clinical practice is mostly focused on patients with Cerebrovascular and Spine diseases.
Dr. Victor Yang, MD PhD PEng FRCSCDr. Yang earned a Masters degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto in 1998 and completed the MD-PhD (Medical Biophysics) program at the University of Toronto in 2006, for which he was recognized by a Governor General’s Gold Medal award for highest academic standing at the University in Sciences and Engineering. He then entered the Neurosurgery residency program at the University of Toronto while continuing his engineering focus at Ryerson University, where he managed a very productive laboratory focusing on ultrasound imaging, endovascular Doppler optical coherence tomography and medical devices design. In 2007, he was appointed as an Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Ryerson, where he was awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Bioengineering and Biophotonics the following year. Dr. Yang completed his neurosurgical residency training in June 2012 with an in-folded clinical fellowship at St. Michael’s Hospital. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2012, as well as completing the European Examination in Neurosurgery with an Outstanding Performance Prize. In 2013, he was recruited to the Division of Neurosurgery with a staff appointment at Sunnybrook Hospital. He is currently an Associate Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto and at Ryerson University. His interests lie in high-resolution neurosurgical navigation, multimodality intraoperative imaging guidance, endovascular imaging and minimally invasive therapeutics for carotid disease, ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr. Aaron Izenberg, MDDr. Izenberg is a lecturer in the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto. He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Queen’s University in 2007, and completed a Neurology residency in Toronto in 2012. After completing a fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hopsital and Massachusetts General Hospital, he returned to be on staff at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Dr. Izenberg’s academic interests are in the areas of clinical neurophysiology/electrodiagnosis, and the management of neuromuscular conditions, including motor neuron disease, myopathy, peripheral neuropathy and disorders of neuromuscular transmission. He is actively involved in the Neurology education program at SHSC and the University of Toronto.
Dr. Andrew Lim, MD FRCPCAndrew Lim is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Toronto and is a neurologist with a practice focusing on disorders of sleep and circadian biology. He completed an MD and residency in neurology at the University of Toronto, a clinical sleep fellowship at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a Master’s Degree in clinical investigation at Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Brian Murray, MD FRCPC D ABSMBrian Murray is an associate professor at the University of Toronto in neurology and is the director of the sleep laboratory at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Murray completed undergraduate medical training from the University of Toronto (1995), and proceeded to undertake Neurology residency training at Harvard University. He has obtained board certification in Neurology, and Sleep Medicine. His major clinical and research interests are in neurological aspects of sleep medicine, and the relationship between sleep and behaviour. He is currently the Director of Integrated Medical Education for the University of Toronto Department of Medicine, and Chair of the Sunnybrook Research Ethics Board.
Dr. Murray's major clinical and research interests are in neurological aspects of sleep, and the relationship between sleep and behaviour. Some clinical conditions of particular interest include narcolepsy, REM sleep behaviour disorder, and restless legs syndrome. We are also studying the effects of sleep and sleep disorders in a number of other medical conditions.
Current collaborative projects include a WHO funded study to explore the association of narcolepsy with the H1N1 vaccination, and a Health Canada investigation into the effects of wind turbines on population level sleep using actigraphic measures.
Dr. David Gladstone, MD PhD FRCPCDr. Gladstone completed his PhD in clinical stroke recovery research through the Royal College Clinician-Scientist Training Program and Institute of Medical Sciences at University of Toronto with a CIHR-Heart and Stroke Foundation Fellowship Award. His thesis project earned the McNaughton national neurology research award from the Canadian Neurological Society. He received the Sunnybrook Department of Medicine Young Investigator Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award, and Clinician-Scientist Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.
Dr. Gladstone is interested in practical, clinically-relevant research that can enhance patient care. He is principal investigator of national multicentre clinical trials funded by peer-reviewed grants from the Canadian Stroke Network and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and a local multicentre registry study funded by the Ontario Stroke Network. He leads the EMBRACE study, a randomized trial that aims to improve the early detection of atrial fibrillation in patients with stroke and TIA, and the SPOTLIGHT study, a randomized trial to study an innovative image-guided emergency treatment protocol for patients with hemorrhagic stroke. Dr. Gladstone has also directed projects within the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network to evaluate quality of care, safety issues and practice gaps in stroke management, including publications highlighting the underuse of warfarin in high-risk patients with atrial fibrillation and long wait times for carotid artery surgery for stroke prevention. He has authored or co-authored 99 scientific publications spanning the spectrum of stroke care, including stroke prevention, prehospital care, emergency treatment of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, stroke/TIA epidemiology, clinical trial design, outcome measures in stroke recovery and neurorehabilitation. Dr. Gladstone is actively engaged in medical education and has provided neurological training for over 100 medical undergraduate and postgraduate trainees at University of Toronto. He received the Marotta Award for neurology education in the University of Toronto Neurology Training Program. He is a research supervisor and mentor for fellows, residents, students and junior faculty. He has been an invited guest speaker at local, regional, national and international meetings promoting best practices in stroke diagnosis, treatment and prevention, and has delivered more than 300 lectures to family physicians, internists, geriatricians, neurologists, cardiologists, ER physicians, physiatrists, dentists, nurses, physiotherapists, paramedics, pharmacists, researchers and the public. Dr. Gladstone has been working to develop Sunnybrook as a premier regional stroke centre and has been site principal investigator for several national and international clinical trials of new treatments for acute ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.
Dr. James Perry, MD FRCPCDr. Perry holds the Tony Crolla Chair of Brain Tumour Research. He is the Head of the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where he also is an Associate Professor of Medicine. He is an Associate Scientist in Clinical Integrative Biology at the Sunnybrook Research Institute and a consultant to the Odette Cancer Centre. He has received several awards such as the American Academy of Neurology Preuss Award in Neuro-oncology, the Department of Medicine Leadership Award, and “Best Doctors in Canada”.
Dr. Perry received his medical degree from the University of Toronto, where he also completed his neurology residency and clinical fellowship in neurology and medical oncology. He completed a clinical fellowship in the Duke University Neuro-Oncology Program.
He is the Chairman of the Canadian Brain Tumour Consortium and an Executive member of the Brain site group of the National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group. Dr. Perry has published articles and abstracts in several peer-reviewed journals and is on the editorial Board of the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences. With Dr Christina Meyers he co-edited the new textbook “Cognition and Cancer”. He is a frequent invited lecturer, locally as well as nationally and internationally, and is active as principal and co-investigator for several clinical trials. These include the global randomized phase III PRODIGE trial testing anticoagulant thromboprophylaxis in newly diagnosed patients with brain tumours, the RESCUE trial of continuous dose-dense temozolomide, and the NCIC/EORTC/TROG phase III randomized trial of radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy in elderly patients with GBM.
Dr. Julia Hopyan, MDDr. Hopyan is a graduate of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. She subsequently did her specialty training in Internal Medicine and Neurology, and then completed a two year fellowship in Stroke Neurology with subspecialty expertise in the area of Neurosonology.
Dr. Hopyan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and functions as a clinician-teacher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Her areas of academic interest are curriculum development, clinical trials regarding stroke and Neurosonology, and extending the indications for transcranial Doppler ultrasound. She is the Co-Director of the Neuro-Doppler Ultrasound Laboratory. As the Stroke Director of Stroke Education, Dr. Hopyan coordinates and participates in teaching the Stroke Seminar Series, and facilitates stroke fellowships and student electives at Sunnybrook hospital. Clinically, Dr. Hopyan serves as a Neurology consultant and accepts referrals for the Stroke Prevention Clinic and High Risk TIA Unit at Sunnybrook.
Dr. Karl Boyle, MDDr. Boyle is an Assistant Professor (Clinician-Teacher) in the Department of Medicine, University of Toronto. He is originally from Ireland and conducted his undergraduate medical training at Trinity College, Dublin, graduating with an honors degree in 2001. He undertook postgraduate medical training in general internal medicine and geriatric medicine before further subspecialty training in stroke medicine, including a Clinical Stroke Fellowship at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a Masters degree in Stroke Medicine, a unique programme directed at improving organized stroke care, conducted by the European Stroke Organization and representing their flagship of scientific education. He has clinical experience caring for stroke patients in several different health care systems including Ireland, Australia, United Kingdom and Canada.
Dr. Liesley Lee, MDDr. Lee is a consultant neurologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the director of the Sunnybrook MS clinic. He completed his training in Neurology at the University of Toronto in 1997 and completed one year of Fellowship training in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). His interests include clinical trials in MS, general neurology, including medicine in the developing world. Areas of interest in MS include quality of life, role of rehabilitative devices and various novel agents in the treatment of MS. He is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine (Neurology) at the University of Toronto, and is actively involved in the Neurology teaching program in both the undergraduate and graduate levels at the university.
Dr. Lorne Zinman, MD MSc, FRCPCDr. Zinman is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto. He graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary in 1998 and completed a Neurology residency at the University of Toronto in 2003. He then completed a 2-year fellowship in Neuromuscular Diseases in Toronto along with a Masters Degree in Clinical Epidemiology. Dr. Zinman then accepted a staff position at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre where he is Head of the ALS/Neuromuscular Clinic, Director of the EMG lab and an Associate Scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute.
Dr. Zinman’s primary academic focus is in the areas of the epidemiology, management and treatment of patients with ALS and neuromuscular diseases. He formed the Canadian ALS Research Network which is a consortium dedicated to finding treatments and improving care for patients with ALS. He also works closely with basic scientists at University of Toronto (Drs. Janice Robertson, Ekaterina Rogaeva and Yana Yunusova) in studies aimed to better understand ALS pathophysiology and to identify novel therapeutic targets for translational research studies.
Dr. Mario Masellis, MD MSc(Pharm) PhD FRCPCDr. Masellis is a clinician-scientist and assistant professor within the Division of Neurology. Clinically, he is a neurologist with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of early-onset dementias, and dementias associated with movement disorders. Dr Masellis has training in four main research areas: cognitive and movement disorders neurology, pharmacology, genomics and neuroimaging. His current research focus is on the characterization of the genetics, neuropsychological, neuroimaging, and pathological features of the atypical neurodegenerative dementias. He is also studying the pharmacogenomics of cholinesterase inhibitors in Parkinson’s disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies and anti-parkinsonian medications in Parkinson’s disease. He has established an ‘OMICS’ research platform using longitudinal clinical, neuropsychological and neuroimaging data to define ‘biomarkers’ of drug responses and of neurodegenerative disease. Other research interests include discovery of genomic and epigenomic factors contributing to the complex etiology of neurodegenerative disease including Alzheimer's, Lewy body disease as well as the frontotemporal dementia spectrum disorders. He is actively involved in clinical trials of novel therapeutic agents in Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body disease.
Dr. Mark Boulos, MD FRCPC CSCN(EEG) MScThe majority of patients who have sustained a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke complain of sleep-related troubles, or are found to have objective evidence of a sleep disorder if evaluated using polysomnography. Dr. Boulos’ research seeks to explore the prevalence and characteristics of sleep disorders after TIA and stroke, as well as the association of sleep disorders with neuroimaging findings, cognition, mood and quality of life.
He is also investigating the feasibility of using portable sleep monitors following a TIA or stroke. He is using techniques that assess the largest number of patients possible using simple, convenient and reliable tools.
In future, his research will use linked databases to investigate the impact of various sleep disorders on long-term outcomes such as vascular events and mortality.
His research has been funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Stroke Network, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery.
Dr. Rick Swartz, MD PhD FRCPCDr. Swartz completed his MD/PhD training in 2004 and neurology residency at University of Toronto in 2009. He works as a Stroke Neurologist at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and is appointed as an Assistant Professor, Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto. Dr. Swartz directs the Sunnybrook’s Stroke Research Unit, is the Medical Director of the NE-GTA Regional Stroke Network and is the Director of the University of Toronto Stroke Program.
As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Swartz strives to embed research into clinical care. His clinical expertise lies in the areas of stroke in general, stroke in the young, stroke in pregnancy, intracranial vascular diseases and the functional consequences of stroke. His research focuses on intracranial vascular diseases affecting the medium and small vessels, including a) small vessel disease and the cognitive impact of stroke and b) larger intracranial artery pathologies and their neuroimaging biomarkers. Dr. Swartz is the site PI of many large-scale multi-center research studies for stroke patients and leads his own HSF-funded study screening more than 1500 stroke clinic patients for Depression, Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Cognitive impairment (DOC). He is the Vascular Cognitive Impairment theme leader and serves on the executive committee of a 5-year multi-center, multi-disciplinary, trans-disease study of Neurodegenerative diseases funded by the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI). Dr. Swartz also chairs the Canadian Stroke Best Practice Recommendations Working Group for stroke in young adults, and serves on their Mood and Cognition Working group.
Dr. Sandra Black, MD FRCPCDr. Black holds the Brill Chair in Neurology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is the Director of Research for the Brain Sciences Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and was Head of the Division of Neurology at Sunnybrook from 1995 until 2006. She is Medical Director of the Regional Stroke Program for North and East Greater Toronto Area and Director of the L.C. Campbell Cognitive Neurology Research Unit. As well, she is a Senior Neuroscientist at Sunnybrook’s Research Institute and at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. Since 2001 she has been the Sunnybrook Site Director for the Heart and Stroke Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, serving also as Interim Scientific Director and CEO of the Centre for Stroke Recovery 2009-2010. Dr. Black obtained her medical and neurological training at the University of Toronto and completed her postdoctoral research at the University of Western Ontario in Behavioural Neurology and Stroke prior to taking up her full-time appointment at Sunnybrook in 1985. She also pursued graduate work in the history and philosophy of science at Oxford University.
Dr. Black’s research has focused on the cognitive sequelae of stroke and stroke recovery, the differential diagnosis of dementia, and the use of neuroimaging techniques to elucidate brain-behaviour relationships in stroke and dementia. She has over 314 publications, 63 invited publications, and has been actively engaged in treatment trials for Stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and Vascular Dementia.
Dr. Vincenzo Basile, MD FRCPCDr. Basile has been a practicing physician since 2004 and has been conducting medical genetics research since 1991. His initial training was in elucidating the genetic causes of diseases of the brain and spinal cord. His undergraduate university training includes degrees in computer science (robots & artificial intelligence programming), biology (genetics) and a teaching degree (education). Dr. Basile later attended medical school at McMaster University in Hamilton. He then went on to his Neurology training at the University of Toronto. Additional fellowship training has been in the areas of diseases of the spinal cord, motor neuron diseases such as ALS, electromyography (EMG/NCS) as well as stroke. He currently holds a teaching position at Sunnybrook hospital and is training neurology residents and fellows as well as medical students in the areas of stroke and diseases of the brain and spinal cord. He also trains neurologists in the area of electrophysiology (EMG/NCS). Current areas of interest are stroke as wells as neuromuscular disorders with a focus on motor neuron diseases and diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerve roots, peripheral nerves and muscle. Research interests include genetics of ALS, pharmacogenetics of stroke, and concussion management. Intra-operative electromyography and minimally invasive spine surgery are also areas of expertise. In addition to seeing patients and teaching at Sunnybrook Hospital, Dr. Basile is also the Medical Director of Stroke and Neurology at both Mackenzie Health Hospital (formerly York Central Hospital) and William Osler Hospital. Dr. Basile is also the Chief Medical Officer for the Konkussion management group, a provincial initiative for head injury management and sports based concussions. Dr. Basile is also an active member of the Canadian and American Academy of Neurology. Dr. Basile has also received awards including the University of Toronto John Wherrett Researcher Award and J.T. Marotta Educator Award. He has also received the Bernice Ramsay award for research in ALS as well as the International New England Jornal of Medicine/Pasteur award for his genetics research. His ongoing interests are in education, genetics/pharmacogenetics research, and neuromuscular diseases of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves.
Dr. Gordon Rubenfeld, MD MScDr. Rubenfeld is the inaugural chief of the Trauma, Emergency & Critical Care Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. Dr. Rubenfeld received his undergraduate degree in philosophy and comparative literature at Johns Hopkins University; his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College; his internal medicine training at Duke University; and pulmonary and critical care training at the University of Washington. He received additional research training in clinical epidemiology as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at the University of California, San Francisco. He served on numerous professional society committees for the American Thoracic Society (ATS), including bioethics, critical care long-range planning and health policy, and as chair of the Critical Care Assembly. He directed the advanced clinical research section of the methods in epidemiologic, clinical and operations research course administered by the ATS. He served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Respiratory Care, the Journal of Critical Care, Critical Care, and The Lancet-Respiratory Medicine.
Dr. Rubenfeld's research focuses on the clinical epidemiology and outcomes of critical illness syndromes, the transfer of evidence into clinical practice, and end-of-life care issues in the intensive care unit. His research is funded primarily by the National Institutes of Health. He served on numerous advisory panels and consensus groups in critical care, including the American European Consensus Conference on Acute Lung Injury, the working group that developed the Berlin ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) definition, and the Surviving Sepsis guideline committee. He has served on study sections for the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Ongoing projects include a cluster-randomized trial of interventions to increase use of lung protective ventilation in patients with acute lung injury, and a randomized trial to improve long-term outcomes in survivors of prolonged mechanical ventilation.
Dr. Martin Chapman, MD BM FRCA FRCPC DTM&HDr. Chapman joined Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in 2001. He is a full-time member of the Department of Critical Care Medicine and cross-appointed to the Department of Anaesthesia. He is Assistant Professor of Anaesthesia at the University of Toronto.
Martin was born and educated in the south of England and went to medical school in Southampton. After an early mixed medical training, he became interested in anaesthesia and acute resuscitation. His training was based in London, England and included a year’s fellowship in Toronto, Canada in 1997/8. He completed training in Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine in the UK in 2001, having focused on neurocritical care in the later stages.
Martin’s interests remain in neurocritical care and management of brain injury, and he has several ongoing research projects. In addition to his clinical work, he has roles in medical education and administration.
Dr. Susan Belo, MDDr. Belo has been a staff anesthesiologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre since 2001. Dr. Belo was elected Vice President of the Medical Dental/Midwifery Staff Association in 2002 and then President of the MDMSA in 2004. She was appointed Chief, Department of Anesthesia in 2012 and also serves as Co-Chair of the Operating Room Executive. In 2014 Dr. Belo was elected Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee.
Dr. Belo received her PhD in Pharmacology in 1983 from the University of Toronto, her medical degree in 1984 and anesthesia designation in 1988. Dr. Belo is an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto, Departments of Anesthesia, Pharmacology, Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology. Dr. Belo was a staff anesthesiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital from 1988-2000 including a Fellowship in Cardiovascular Research. Dr. Belo served as the Site Chief at the Holland Orthopedic and Arthritic Centre (2004-2011) and Director of the Kensington Screening Clinic (2006-2012). She is also serving as Investigating Coroner for the Province of Ontario since 2007.
Dr. Belo’s areas of interest/expertise are: Operating Room Process Redesign and Efficiency; Out of Hospital Premises set-up; Quality Improvement and Patient Safety as well as Cardiac Anesthesia and Pharmacology.
Dr. Belo was a member of the Board of Directors of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre from 2002-2005 representing the Medical/Dental Midwifery Staff Association and joined the Board again in 2014 in her role as Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee. Dr. Belo represents the MAC on the Business & Human Resources Committee, Education and Research Committee and the Quality Committee of the Board.