Strength in diversity

CDIC proudly brings together a multidisciplinary team of physicians, biostatisticians, health economists, nutritionists, researchers, project managers and more. The diverse skills and training of our staff give us a uniquely comprehensive and holistic approach to our work, which includes using big data to inform best practices in a clinical or business operations setting, exercise trials and implementing innovative healthcare strategies, to name a few.

Our clinical scientists are the anchors of the CDIC. They work collaboratively to apply next-generation disease prevention, supportive technologies, and related medical advancement into health care practices and chronic disease management for patients. Read more about them below.

Dr. Paul Komenda, MD, MHA, Founder, completed his Masters in Health Administration at the Sauder School of Business, in addition to a research fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He is the Research Director at SOGH and is currently the Chief Medical Officer of Quanta Dialysis Technologies.

Since 2008, Dr. Komenda has published over 140 peer-reviewed articles in health services research and clinical nephrology. Having completed the EXTRA (Executive Training for Research Applications) program funded by the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, he has obtained provincial and national level grants in excess of 4 million dollars.

Learn more about Dr. Komenda’s research

Dr. Claudio Rigatto, MD, MSc, Founder, received his medical training at the University of Manitoba, including a BSc. in Medicine, and at Memorial University in Newfoundland, where he received his MSc. in Medicine.

The recipient of numerous major research grants, Dr. Rigatto is currently a lead investigator for the Canadian Study of Prediction of Risk and Evolution to Dialysis, Death and Interim Cardiovascular Events Over Time.

Learn more about Dr. Rigato’s research

Dr. Navdeep Tangri, MD, PhD, Founder, is working on a clinical research program that is also translational, focusing on the improvement of clinical decision making for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease. He developed and validated the Kidney Failure Risk Equation (KFRE) to predict the need for dialysis in patients with chronic kidney disease, and is currently engaged in multiple validation and implementation exercises to increase the uptake of the KFRE.

Learn more about Dr. Tangri’s Research

Dr. Clara Bohm, MD, MPH, attained her medical degree at McMaster University and her Masters of Public Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is also a chair of the Organizing Committee of the Global Renal Exercise Network (GREX). Dr. Bohm’s research focuses on characterizing the effects of exercise and physical activity on functional status, quality of life, and adverse outcomes in individuals with all stages of chronic kidney disease.

Learn more about Dr. Bohm’s research

Dr. Rebecca Mollard, PhD, completed her PhD in Human Nutritional Sciences in 2005, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto in 2011. Over the past decade, Dr. Mollard has conducted and published multiple acute and long-term clinical trials investigating the acute and long-term effects of foods and food components on satiety, glycaemia, and cardiometabolic outcomes. Her current areas of research interest include nutrition, diabetes, obesity, clinically managed weight loss, and chronic kidney disease.

Learn more about Dr. Mollard’s Research

Our highly specialized and motivated team work together in a vibrant corporate culture to improve health care delivery. CDIC has attracted a new generation of millennial scientists – a world-class group of curious, talented, and inspired young professionals.

Carrie Solmundson, MSW, President and Chief Executive Officer of CDIC
Carrie Solmundson is President and CEO of the Seven Oaks Hospital Chronic Disease Research Innovation Center. Prior to CDIC, Carrie served as President and COO of Seven Oaks Hospital (SOGH) for over ten years, and in this role was responsible for several regional and provincial clinical programs.

Carrie began her career at Seven Oaks General Hospital as Executive Director of the Wellness Institute. Under Carrie’s leadership, the Wellness Institute expanded its model of chronic disease prevention and management to hospitals in China. In 2018, Carrie led the development of a joint venture to bring a new model of preventive healthcare to China. Carrie is a recipient of the Manitoba Woman of Distinction Award for her leadership and achievements in health and wellness. Carrie holds a MSW in Organization Policy and Administration from the University of Manitoba.

Michelle Di Nella, MA, Research Manager, holds a Master of Arts in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Manitoba, Department of Psychology. As the Research Manager, she provides general administrative oversight and management of the overall program, including research projects, contracts, finances, business development and CDIC personnel.

Sara Anderson, Administrative Assistant, completed the Legal Administrative Assistant Program at CDI College, and is a current student at the University of Manitoba. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (200H training) and holds a Prenatal Yoga Teacher Certificate (85H training). As the Administrative Personnel for CDIC, she is responsible for providing effective and efficient administrative support for the GFT Physicians and the CDIC research staff.

Ryan Bamforth, MSc, Data Analyst, holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Science in Community Health Sciences from the University of Manitoba. He works as a data analyst at the CDIC with a focus on cost-effectiveness analysis.

Ranveer Brar, MSc, Statistician and Research Coordinator, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology, and a Master of Science degree in Community Health Sciences. He works on a longitudinal prospective cohort study exploring trajectories of physical activity, physical function, and mental health in people with late-stage Chronic Kidney Disease. He is also working on multiple other projects that utilize administrative health data to assess long-term health outcomes and patterns of healthcare utilization at the population-level.

Katrina Cachero, BSc RD MSc, Research Coordinator, completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba in May 2017, the Manitoba Partnership Dietetic Education Program in June 2018, and her Master of Science in Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba in June 2021. As a practicing Registered Dietitian, she is passionate about weight management interventions. The main focus of her Master’s thesis involved conducting an evaluation of a weight loss program at the Wellness Institute, aiming to ensure the program is based upon the most current scientific literature in addition to providing data for future research applications.

Kathy Cherepak, BSc, Research Coordinator, holds a Bachelor of Science in Statistics and comes to CDIC with many years of experience as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the areas of gynecology, rheumatology, dermatology, and oncology. As a Research Coordinator at CDIC she is involved in multiple studies with a focus on nutrition, healthy aging and diabetes.

Dianna Dandeneau, MSc, Research Coordinator, completed her Master of Science degree in Human Nutritional Science at the University of Manitoba. The main focus of her Master’s thesis was extruded pulse flour and fractions effects on glycemic response, satiety and exercise endurance. She previously worked in Patient Engagement before coming to CDIC. She believes greater involvement of patients in health research will lead to better outcomes and an improved healthcare system. Dianna works on various nutrition-related studies.

Thomas Ferguson, MSc, Health Economist and Biostatistician, completed his Master of Science at the University of Manitoba, Department of Community Health Sciences. His role at CDIC is to supply expert advice on cost effectiveness for many academic projects and commercial collaborations.

Emilie Ford, MPH, Research Coordinator, completed her Masters of Public Health at the University College of Dublin in Ireland with a focus on chronic disease in older adults. As a Research Coordinator, she is involved with multiple studies evaluating the effects of exercise rehabilitation programs in adults on hemodialysis.

Ruth Getachew, Research Assistant, is currently working towards her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba. As a Research Assistant, she is involved with various studies at the CDIC, including the CannaCKD study that is looking at the effect of cannabis on symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease, as well as the Renal Rehab study that is examining how exercise effects symptom burden in adults on hemodialysis.

Oksana Harasemiw, MSc, Research Coordinator and Data Analyst, completed her Master of Science in Community Health Sciences with a graduate specialization in aging from the University of Manitoba. As a Research Coordinator at CDIC, she oversees a multi-provincial randomized trial that aims to improve the quality of care provided to people with chronic kidney disease in the primary care setting. She also works as a data analyst primarily on retrospective cohort studies using provincial administrative health databases, examining health outcomes in the areas of nephrology as well as urologic oncology.

Yasmin Iman, BSc, Research Coordinator, has a degree in Human Nutritional Sciences from the University of Manitoba. As a Research Coordinator she is involved in leading multiple nutritional studies that look at the benefits of dietary interventions in relation to chronic diseases.

Silvia Leon, MD, MSc, Data Decision and Support Analyst, has a medical degree from Rosario University in Colombia, where she worked as an emergency department physician, as well as a graduate diploma in Clinical Epidemiology from McMaster University. She completed her Masters of Science in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. For her Masters, she evaluated the impact of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor (ACE inhibitor) prescription discontinuation after an episode of hyperkalemia in people with chronic kidney disease. Her current research is focused on pharmacoepidemiology using administrative health databases.

Sepideh Mahboobi, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, holds a PhD in Nutrition from Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran. Since November 2022 she has been working at the CDIC as a postdoctoral research fellow contributing to the ReDACKD trial, a dual center feasibility trial evaluating the feasibility of delivering fruits and vegetables to people living with chronic kidney disease and metabolic acidosis as a treatment. 

Russell Malabanan, BSc, Research Assistant, completed his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Winnipeg. He aspires to become a physician involved in clinical research. His current project involves an investigation on the relationship between certain occupations and occupational diseases. He is looking forward to work on future projects at CDIC.

Hazel Manacsa, BSc, Research Assistant, holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with Honours from the University of Winnipeg. Hazel works as a Research Assistant on various prospective and retrospective studies in CKD and dialysis. Prior to starting with the CDIC, she worked as a Quality Control Analyst at Genvion Corporation.

Neil Pandit, BSc, Research Clerk, completed a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba. His role at the CDIC is to collect and update patient information to the Electronic Kidney Health Record (eKHR) and Canadian Organ Replacement Registry (CORR) to improve access to patient records. He is also involved in assisting with other active research studies.

Tess Peter, DHRM, Business Office Manager, completed the Human Resource Management program at Red River College and brings three years of industry experience to her position at CDIC. Her role includes the management of financial and human resource activities for the Research Division.

Zahra Solati, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, holds a PhD degree in Physiology and Pathophysiology from the University of Manitoba. She works on a clinical trial evaluating the effects of a tele-monitoring platform on minimizing adverse outcomes in high risk Chronic Kidney Disease patients (VIEWER study). She is also involved in another clinical trial that is looking at the effects of polyphenols on glycemic index and gut microbiota in prediabetic patients.

Melanie Talson, MA, Research Project Coordinator, is a medical anthropologist with a background in the social determinants of health research. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Victoria. Melanie is an experienced qualitative researcher who has a passion for patient engagement and participatory research, ensuring patients are co-creators of knowledge. Melanie has spent the past two years working in the field of kidney health research as the Coordinator for Triple I: Improving Information, Interactions and Individualization to improve in-centre hemodialysis care, as a qualitative research consultant and as an independent research consultant for the National Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Haizhou Wang, BSc, Research Coordinator, completed his Bachelor of Science in Food Science at the University of Manitoba. Previously, he has worked on several human nutritional acute studies focusing on glycaemia and insulin response, and projects exploring potential treatments for people with genetic disorders. Currently, he is working on the remote ischemic conditioning study at CIDC.

Reid Whitlock, MSc, Project Manager & Senior Data Decision and Support Analyst, holds a Master of Science in Community Health Sciences from the University of Manitoba. He has authored and co-authored numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, and has led and coordinated various cohort studies and systematic reviews evaluating outcomes in relation to frailty, diagnostic tools, and medication for diabetes and chronic kidney disease. He also assists with building reports, compiling statistics, and data management for the Manitoba Renal Program.

Mentoring the next generation of researchers

We have a successful mentorship program focused on providing a supportive environment for students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels. Our objectives are to provide students with tailored, hands-on training in research methods, epidemiology, and biostatistics. This allows students to obtain the skills necessary to become successful in their future research careers or to work in related industry positions.

Mackenzie Alexiuk, BSc, received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Manitoba, previously researching mitochondrial evolution using lepidoptera as model species. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba under the supervision of Dr. Navdeep Tangri, and her thesis is focused on sarcopenia and if muscle mass can be a predictor for chronic disease diagnosis. She is particularly interested in primary care and women’s health and wishes to pursue Physician Assistant Studies in the future. 

Heba Elgubtan, BHSc, obtained a Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Manitoba. Her capstone project examined cardiovascular disease susceptibility in breast cancer patients undergoing adjuvant therapy. Currently, she is enrolled in the Masters of Science program at the Department of Community Health Sciences, under the supervision of Dr. Navdeep Tangri. Her thesis aims to examine cardiovascular disease risk in patients with primary glomerular disease.  

Priscila Ferreira da Silva, BA, holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Indigenous Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and is currently pursuing a Masters in Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She currently works with Dr. Clara Bohm in the Can-SOLVE CKD Network Triple I project. Her involvement with the project has led her to conduct an ethnographic study for her thesis to identify the constellation of barriers and facilitators particularly influencing the wellbeing and quality of life of Indigenous patients on hemodialysis in Winnipeg. This proposed study also seeks to understand how the structural barriers that Indigenous patients face are connected to a broader history of settler colonialism in Canada.

Tahmina Rahman, BSc, graduated from the Govt. College of Applied Human Science (GCAHS), University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, with a BSc in Food and Nutrition. She is now pursuing her MSc at the University of Manitoba in Food and Human Nutritional Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Dylan MacKay. Her thesis is primarily focused on Type 2 Diabetes Remission (T2DRENu), where she studies different remission strategies and dietary patterns through the experiences of people who have achieved remission. In addition to that, she is also working on the ReDACKD study, which seeks to reduce metabolic acidosis in chronic kidney disease through nutritional intervention. She is committed to applying nutrition to address complex health issues and enhance the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.

Maryam Samsamikor, MSc, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Her Ph.D. thesis focuses on the effects of hemp seed protein and bioactive peptides produced through enzymatic hydrolysis on 24hr ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensive patients. In her role as a Research Coordinator at the CDIC, she is working on a clinical trial looking at the resistant starch prebiotic effects in chronic kidney disease (ReSPECKD). She also assists with a couple of other studies including a clinical trial evaluating the effect of oat beta-glucan in managing blood pressure.

Davide Verrelli, BA, BSc, is currently enrolled in the MD/MSc program at the University of Manitoba. His Master’s thesis is focused on understanding how patients’ uptake and dropout from home dialysis modalities shifted during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the intent of gaining insight into barriers to home dialysis uptake and potential areas for expansion of eligibility, and to inform adaptation to home dialysis training and community care supports in Canada moving forward.

Dr. Sean Armstrong, MD is the Medical Director of Hemodialysis at Seven Oaks General Hospital, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Manitoba Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Chair of the North American Peritoneal Dialysis University and Medical Director, Interventional Nephrologists. Dr. Armstrong is a leader in training physicians in bedside catheter insertion globally, a technique that has dramatically improved access to Peritoneal Dialysis and helped alleviate painful fluid buildup for certain cancer and other patients.

Dr. David Collister, MD, PhD, completed his MD at the University of Manitoba, Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Alberta, Nephrology Fellowship at the University of Manitoba, and his PhD in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. His research focuses on symptom management in patients with kidney disease and, in particular, randomized controlled trials of therapies to alleviate symptoms in chronic kidney disease and dialysis. Learn more about Dr. Collister’s research

Dr. Ricardo Lobato de Faria, MD is the former Medical Director for the Seven Oaks Hospital Emergency Department. As a Family Physician and Process Engineer Dr. de Faria has a passion for process efficiency in Emergency Medicine. He was responsible for the innovative implementation of Patient Order Sets at Seven Oaks Hospital and has collaborated on the creation of a computer model to capture all relevant ER activity for virtual testing of improvements.