In 2018, a group of researchers began discussing the creation of a program that could change the future of cardiology. What we know now and what we can achieve using artificial intelligence can make a difference in how we treat patients in the future.


To use state-of-the-art analytic approaches and deep phenotyping to develop and validate individual signatures to optimize and personalize cardiovascular health.

The team

The Courtois Cardiovascular Signature Program is composed of 4 world-renowned cardiologists from the McGill University Health Centre. The Director Dr. Nadia Giannetti, Dr. Matthias Friedrich, Chief of Cardiac Imaging and scientific Director, Dr. George Thanassoulis, Lead in Genomic, and Dr. Abhinav Sharma, Lead in the Digital Health Initiative.

Dr. Hébert has a long track record in understanding the biology of key signalling proteins in cardiovascular disease. His lab’s new focus on induced pluripotent stem cells iPSCs for DCM disease modelling has opened productive new vistas for their work to understand disease progression in individual patients.

Dr. Terry Hébert
Principal Investigator

Kyla’s research focuses on exploring cellular signalling in health and disease using iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes derived from healthy volunteers and patients diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

Kyla Bourque
PhD Student

Cara’s project focuses on using iPSC-derived heart muscle cells from dilated cardiomyopathy patients and healthy controls to characterize features of disease.

Cara Hawey
MSc Student

Alyson is a Master’s student in the Hébert Lab working on characterizing morphological differences between patient-derived iPSC-cardiomyocytes and enhancing their maturity.

Alyson Jiang
MSc Student

Grace’s project uses iPSC-derived cardiac fibroblasts to examine cellular signalling in the fibrotic response, a key process in dilated cardiomyopathy pathogenesis.

Grace Mazarura
MSc Student

Karima’s  project focuses on generating and testing viral versions of the biosensors in iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes to determine how cell context affects signaling.

Dr. Karima Alim
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Dr. Sonya Hui is a Cardiology resident physician at McGill University. She completed her MSc and PhD at the University of Toronto and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in cardiovascular scientific research. Her academic interests include translational cardiovascular research and personalized medicine.

Dr. Sonya Hui
Junior Clinician Investigator

Dr. Cecere is a cardiac surgeon and Chief of Cardiac Surgery at the McGill University Health Centre.  He trained at McGill University, Loma Linda (California) and Stanford University. His research program focuses on novel device therapies for heart failure including cardiac repair and cardiac replacement therapy. His laboratory’s work involves studying cell-free therapies and bioactive scaffolds, elucidating novel personalized treatments for patients with heart disease, as well as gaining a better understanding of the underlying causes of patient-specific responses to treatments

Dr. Renzo Cecere
Principal Investigator

Jeremy’s research  aims to improve our understanding of the factors secreted by induced pluripotent stem cell derived from cardiomyopathy patients and healthy controls.

Jeremy Zwaig
MSc Student

Ida’s  work investigates patient-specific differences after injury and drug-mediated recovery in iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes from healthy donors and cardiomyopathic patients.

Ida Derish
PhD Student

Patrick is an Honours kinesiology student with a minor in biotechnology at McGill University. He has been a member of the team since 2021 and is currently researching the cardiotoxic effects and unique patient-cardiomyocyte responses to Doxorubicin.

Patrick Young
Undergraduate Research Trainee

Since 2021, David has been training in creating lab-grown cardiomyocytes. His project investigates the role of mitochondria and cell death in hypoxia-mediated cardiac damage, bridging his clinical zeal as a medical student with his lifelong passion for research and discovery.

David Derish
Medical Student

Janice is a student at McGill University, majoring in Pharmacology and minoring in Entrepreneurship. She initiated the iPSC-derived endothelial cells project at the lab and is working on a comprehensive patient-specific hypoxic disease model.

Janice To
Undergraduate Research Trainee

Elise is a detail-oriented and dedicated member of Dr. Cecere’s laboratory, who is responsible for the reprogramming of patient-derived stem cells and heart cells.

Elise Rody
Research Technician

Dr. Kashif Khan is a Vanier Scholar and has published >20 articles about atherosclerosis, cardiac regeneration, and stem cell biology. As a future clinician-scientist, he is passionate about translating research from bench to bedside.

Kashif Khan
PhD/Medical Student

Dr. Nadia Giannetti trained at McGill and Stanford University. She is an attending Cardiologist and an Associate Professor at McGill. She is the Medical Director of the Heart Failure and Transplant Program at the MUHC. She is a co-author of several Canadian Heart Failure and Heart Transplant Guidelines. She has led multiple clinical trials as a local PI. She is the former Chief of Cardiology and is presently the Associate Physician-in-Chief (Department of Medicine) at the MUHC.

Dr. Nadia Giannetti
Program Director, Department of Medicine

Dr. Friedrich has been a Professor and Chief in Cardiovascular Imaging at the McGill University Health Centre since 2015. He is one of the lead figures for developing contrast-free cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) techniques and protocols. He has created an excellent clinical CMR program at the MUHC.

Dr. Matthias Friedrich
Scientific and Imaging Director

Dr. Sharma is a Cardiologist and Active Researcher at the McGill University Health Centre. His expertise in digital health focuses on how to optimize health behaviours to improve cardiovascular health. He founded a “DECIDE clinic” where he focuses on heart failure and diabetic patients with the goal of optimizing treatment and overall health.

Dr. Abhinav Sharma
Digital Health Director

Dr. Thanassoulis is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Preventive and Genomic Cardiology at the MUHC. His major research interests are in the genomics of aortic stenosis and acute coronary syndrome. He also interested in improving the preventive care of youth with a family history of heart disease or cardiometabolic risk factors.

Dr. George Thanassoulis
Genomics Director

Julie has tremendous leadership skills and is proficient in research. With a background in martial arts, Julie applies this same discipline and dedication to her team and the research community.

Julie Lebel
Program Manager

Filipe possesses a wide range of expertise in biomedical and informatics technology. Reliable, resourceful and eager to find solutions and help others, Filipe is a key member of the team.

Filipe Henriques
Technical Director

Natalie Gendron is the lead research nurse for the Courtois clinical team and project manager for Heart-in-a-Dish project. She is devoted to cardiovascular research, involved in patient recruitment, data collection and the liaison with Dr. Cecere and Dr. Hebert’s teams.

Natalie Gendron
Lead Clinical Nurse

Leila Haririsanati is a clinical research coordinator and MD from Iran. She is passionate about patient care. She approaches people with kindness, recruits patients and collects samples for the protocol.

Dr. Leila Haririsanati
Clinical Research Coordinator – CMR Core Lab Reader

Glenn’s heartwarming and loving approach draws people to him. These qualities are important for his role as a research coordinator. Our project is in good hands thanks to this expert recruiter.

Glenn Dean
Clinical Research Coordinator

Mathieu’s goal is to create a welcoming and safe environment for our research participants. He is passionate and inspired by the innovations the project will bring to improve patients’ lives.

Mathieu Leduc
Clinical Research Coordinator

Abigail Sousa is a Clinical research coordinator, recruits patients with passion and charisma. She ensures all research participants have a good understanding of the protocol, have their questions answered and feel valued by participating in this project.

Abigail Sousa
Clinical Research Coordinator

Maggie’s great MRI expertise, and her soothing voice make the MRI exam a much more pleasant experience for her patients.

Maggie Leo
MRI Technologist

Sylvie has a calming effect on her patients, an important aspect when working in MRI. Her high standards and extensive expertise produce excellent work.

Sylvie Gelineau
MRI Technologist

Barbara, a competitive swimmer, attended the Olympics in London during Summer 2012, she finished 6t! Her exceptional organization and dedication not to forget her wonderful personality bring an important asset to the team.

Barbara Rojas-Jardin
Research Administrative Assistant

Kathleen has excellent organizational skills. Juggling the responsibilities that come with working in a research setting, Kathleen’s detail-oriented qualities provides great support to the team.

Kathleen Amedee
Administrative Assistant

The Courtois Cardiovascular Signature Program provides resources to the MUHC’s outstanding researchers and healthcare professionals to change the way heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Jacques Courtois

About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is one of the world’s foremost academic health facilities. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of its founding hospitals, the MUHC provides exceptional multidisciplinary patient-centric care. Affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, the MUHC continues to shape the course of adult and pediatric medicine by attracting clinical and research expertise from around the world, assessing the latest in medical technology, and training the next generation of medical professionals. In collaboration with our network partners, we are building a better future for our patients and their families; for our employees, professionals, researchers and students; for our community and above all, for life.