Meet the fellows

Meet the Lupus Ontario Geoff Carr Fellows!

30+ fellows & counting

30+ Years of the Lupus Ontario Geoff Carr Fellowship means, 30+ years of lupus research by our amazing fellows! Learn more about them below.

Fellow Spotlight!

Dr. Amanda Steiman

Assistant Professor, Rheumatologist at Sinai Health/University Health Network, Toronto

Dr. Amanda Steiman received the Fellowship in 2011.  She is currently a staff rheumatologist at Sinai Health/University Health Network in Toronto, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her clinical niche continues to be lupus, and she has developed a Young Adult SLE Clinic, in collaboration with pediatric rheumatologist/lupologist, Dr. Earl Silverman.  Her academic interest is in Quality Improvement, and she continues to be involved in lupus research in this domain. 


Dr. Steiman states,

 ‘The Geoff Carr Fellowship was invaluable to my current clinical and research activities, allowing me to hone my lupus acumen and develop my clinical and research foci, as above.  It allowed me to work with world leaders in the field of lupus (Drs. Gladman and Urowitz). 

Dr. Zahi Touma

Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto; Clinician Scientist, Krembil Research Institute

Dr.  Zahi Touma was awarded the Fellowship in 2008 and 2010.  He came to Canada from Lebanon.  After his Fellowship years Dr. Touma stayed on as a Clinician-Scientist, Rheumatology, University Health Network.  He continues to perform lupus research.  He has completed many research projects.

Some of the key ones are:

  • Improving the assessment of lupus disease activity – this resulted in the validation of SLEDAI-2K 30 days against 10 days; and the development of S2K RI-50 to measure partial improvement in disease activity
    Development of a new tool to account for the dose of prednisone when assessing disease activity – SLEDAI 2KG
  • Validation of ANAM to facilitate cognitive function test in SLE patients
  • Studying the role of LupusQoL – an SLE specific quality of life questionnaire
  • Studying time to improvement of proteinuria in the management of lupus nephritis in addition to several studies focused on the prognostic value of proteinuria in term on other comorbidities (advanced chronic kidney disease, dialysis, etc.)
  • ECG changes in SLE patients.
  • Improving the assessment of anxiety and depression in SLE

Geoff Carr Fellowship Recipients

Meet all of the Lupus Ontario Geoff Carr Research fellows, and learn about their research and area of study! 
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Teresa Semalulu

Exploring racial disparities in disease-related activity and damage in SLE.

2022 - 2023
SickKids Hospital
Dr. Stephanie Wong

Therapeutic drug monitoring of HCQ is feasible in the cSLE population, allowing for individualized HCQ treatment with optimal efficacy and prevention of long- term toxicity.

2021 - 2022
SickKids Hospital
Dr. Tala El Tal

Research focuses in neuropsychiatric (NPSLE), specifically examining the longitudinal prevalence of cognitive impairment and relationship to disease and health-related quality of life in cSLE.

2020 - 2021
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Ambika Gupta

Determination of the clinical subtypes of cognitive impairment in SLE patients to facilitate precision health care and better outcomes.

2019 - 2020
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Laura Whittal Garcia

The potential role of serum HMGB1 from NETs as a biomarker to predict residual renal inflammation and subsequent flares in patients with lupus nephritis.

2018 -2019
SickKids Hospital
Dr. Anita Dhanrajani

The potential role of serum HMGB1 from NETs as a biomarker to predict residual renal inflammation and subsequent flares in patients with lupus nephritis.

Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Konstantinos Tselios

Prolonged antimalarial treatment may increase the risk for subclinical heart damage in systemic lupus erythematosus.

SickKids Hospital
Dr. Julie Couture

Depression in paediatric SLE patients.

2015 - 2016
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Jorge Medina Rosas

Prolonged antimalarial treatment may increase the risk for subclinical heart damage in systemic lupus erythematosus.

2014 - 2015
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Konstantinos Tselios

The management of Arterial Hypertension and Hypercholesterolemia in patients with SLE. Are the current treatment guidelines adequate for lupus patients?

2013 - 2014
McMaster University
Dr. Kim Legault

Pathophysiology of cognitive dysfunction in patients with antiphospholipid antibodies and lupus.

2012 - 2013
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Barry Sheane

Cardio vascular risks in patients with SLE.

2011 - 2012
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Amanda Steiman

Predicting flares in patients who are serologically active and and clinically quiescent.

2010 - 2011
Dr. Zahi Touma

SRI-50 Index which is used to measure disease activity.

2009 - 2010
McMaster University
Dr. Derek Haaland

Lupus Nephritis.

2008 -2009
SickKids Hospital
Dr. Satish Kumar

Long term outcome of children with SLE with emphasis on the Central Nervous System 

2008 -2009
Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Zahi Touma

Outcome measures used in clinical trials in SLE in order to find an optimal measure.

Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Desiree Tulloch-Reid

Lupus Nephritis.

Dr. Mandana Nikpour

Atherscerlosis in SLE

Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Zhaleh Shariati

Definition of thrombitis risk associated with anticardiolipin antibofy in SLE

Toronto Western Hospital
Dr. Mandana Nikpour

Vascular disease in systemic Lupus Erythematosus

SickKids Hospital
Dr. Susanne Benseler

Methods to improve paediatric Lupus treatment.

Toronto Lupus Clinic
Dr. Adrienne Williamson
Dr. Marie Feletar

Impact of the updated 1997 revised criteria for classification of SLE, Prolonged remission in SLE

Toronto Lupus Clinic
Dr. Dana Jerome

The effective of menopause on disease activity in SLE

Dr. Anna Jaroszynska

Bone mineral density in premenopausal females with SLE

Toronto Lupus Clinic
Dr. Santiago Aguero
SickKids Hospital
Dr. Stefan Hagelberg

Pathogenic mechanisms in lupus patients with CNS involvement

University of Toronto
Dr. Ian Bruce

Assess the prevalence of ischemic heart disease in patients with SLE, current management of risk factors for coronary artery disease

McMaster University
Dr. Sergio Toloza
The Wellesley Hospital / University of Toronto
Dr. Vandana Chaudry

Osteonecrosis in SLE

The Wellesley Hospital / University of Toronto
Dr. Mahmood Abu-Shakra
  • Anticardiolipin Antibodies in SLE: Clinical and Laboratory Correlations
  • The Significance of Anticardiolipin Antibodies in patients with Lupus Nephritis
The Wellesley Hospital / University of Toronto
Dr. Julie Kovacs

Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) in Neuropsychiatric SLE

The Wellesley Hospital / University of Toronto
Dr. Rachel Pauzner
  • Prolactin in SLE
  • Anti-neutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies (ANCA) in SLE
  • Evaluation of predictive factors for neurocognitive dysfunction in patients with SLE
The Wellesley Hospital / University of Toronto
Dr. Barbara Walz-Leblanc

Serologically Active Clinically Quiescent Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) - Predictors of Clinical Flares

Posted by Hajra Batool

Geoff Carr Fellowship

Lupus Ontario Geoff Carr Fellowship

30 Fellows Trained

The annual Geoff Carr Fellowship has trained over 30 fellows in best practices in diagnosing and treating lupus. Each fellow has participated in critical lupus research. 

Improving Quality of Life

It currently takes an average of 6 years for a patient to get a proper diagnosis of lupus.  The education received by these fellows is changing the quality of life and outcomes for many lupus patients.  The Fellowship is open to applicants from around the world with preference given to Canadians.   

Geoff Carr

Geoff Carr Fellows contributing to improving the lives of lupus patients

MD, Tala El Tal

The Hospital for Sick Children
Current Lupus Ontario Fellow

Area of study/focus while completing the Fellowship?

Neuropsychiatric lupus or NPSLE

How will the Geoff Carr Fellowship impact your future career? 

The Fellowship has provided me with the funding to be able to do my fellowship and pursue my research. 

Why should people donate to the Geoff Carr Fellowship/lupus research campaign?

There are 51 people per 100,000 of population in Canada have SLE, approximately 20% of this population occurs during childhood.  Typically  adolescence is a critical time period for neurodevelopment. There continues to be a number of unanswered questions in SLE and donations will help us address this. 

What are your hopes for lupus research if adequate funding is available? 

Neuropsychiatric SLE (NPSLE) was recently ranked one of the highest prioritized yet understudied research domains and continues to be a grey area. It remains one of the most challenging manifestations of SLE owing to the broad spectrum of syndromes that it encompasses, and our limited understanding of the underlying pathophysiology. NPSLE is associated with reduced patient quality of life and functioning. It affects approximately 30-50% of patients with childhood SLE (cSLE), of which up to 60% have cognitive dysfunction, ranging from mild to severe. It may adversely impact school and psychosocial functioning, treatment adherence, and quality of life for children with cSLE. My hopes are that more funding could help us understand this domain better.

Dr. Ambika Gupta

Trillium Health Partners
2021-2022 Lupus Ontario Fellow

Area of study/focus while completing the Fellowship?

Neuropsychiatric SLE and diagnosis of SLE

How  does the Geoff Carr Fellowship impact careers? 

I worked with and leaned from extraordinary mentors, such as Dr. Murray Urowitz, Dr. Dafna Gladman and Dr. Zahi Touma. I had the opportunity to develop sub-specialty expertise in diagnosing and treating patients with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). I learned  to listen carefully to the patient’s story, be detail oriented, call patients in for an in-person exam when needed even during a pandemic, and not to be afraid to ask other specialists for advice!

Over the last year, I also had the opportunity to participate in clinical research with Dr Touma, specifically looking at neuropsychiatric SLE. I am currently in the process of finalizing my research manuscript which analyzes clusters of SLE patients according to cognitive function, self-reported outcomes and disease activity, and assesses the stability of clusters over a one-year period. In November 2021, I presented my findings at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting and will be doing an oral presentation at the Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Meeting in February 2022.

What’s next?

I am now starting practice at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga, Ontario, and will also be working at an outpatient clinic in the area. I hope to develop a specialized clinic for patients with SLE locally as well. I am extremely thankful for the Geoff Carr Lupus fellowship and Lupus Ontario, for giving me the opportunity to receive sub-specialty training in SLE.

MD, PhD. Konstantinos Tselios

Assistant Professor, McMaster University -2014-2017 Lupus Ontario Fellow

Area of study/focus while completing the Fellowship? 

Cardiovascular disease in lupus 

How did the Geoff Carr Fellowship impact your future career? 

The Geoff Carr Fellowship was instrumental for my future career. It gave me the support I needed to gain further knowledge in SLE and be able to transfer that expertise to the McMaster Lupus Clinic. 

Why should people donate to the Geoff Carr Fellowship/lupus research campaign? 

Lupus affects primarily young women and its impact on their quality of life can be devastating. Additional training in the very few lupus centres is much needed, even for specialists, in order to understand lupus and the peculiar characteristics of such patients. The Geoff Carr Fellowship is the only dedicated Canadian Fellowship for SLE and, thus, fundamental for the training of physicians in this disease. 

What are your hopes for lupus research if adequate funding is available? 

My true hope is to understand how we can “harness” or “reset” the immune system to correct the disorders that are present in lupus and try to cure this disease once and for all.

Posted by Hajra Batool

Anne Matheson

The Lupus Ontario Anne Matheson Biobank

Your Gift Supports...

The Lupus Ontario Anne Matheson Biobank is located at McMaster University, Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute. Samples for the Biobank are drawn at the Boris Clinic (where lupus patients are treated) within McMaster University Health Sciences.

The Biobank will provide an important bioresource for researchers to study lupus and may help to provide answers, allowing physicians to better diagnose the condition and predict potential problems.

The Lupus Ontario Anne Matheson Biobank is overseen by Dr. Tselios and his research team. The Biobank will include samples of serum, urine, and DNA from consenting lupus patients. Not only will the research team collect samples, but they will also collect information about the patients through quality-of-life indicators, pain and fatigue questionnaires, and anxiety & depression inventories.

Our Contribution

Lupus Ontario has made an annual commitment of $50,000 per year for three years to fund the first year of the start up and next two years of operations at McMaster University in Hamilton. McMaster has agreed to name the biobank the Lupus Ontario Anne Matheson Biobank. This project is being led by one of Lupus Ontario's former Geoff Carr Fellows, Dr. Konstantinos Tselios.

Anne Matheson

Anne Matheson is passionate about the need for support and factual information for lupus patients and their families and has put in years of contribution towards the Lupus Society of Hamilton and Lupus Ontario. While Anne stepped back from her duties with Lupus Ontario in 2014, her legacy will live on through the establishment of the Lupus Ontario Anne Matheson Biobank at McMaster University in Hamilton.
Thank you Anne for all you have done for the lupus community. You are an inspiration to us all!


The objectives of the biobank are: 

  • The major goal of the clinic will be the development of an electronic database along with an automated mode of data entry. The plan is to utilize the same software that is being currently used at the Toronto Lupus Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital (TWH). This will allow for easy access and routine use by physicians , excellent technical support and data storage that will facilitate the merge with other databases for further analysis. 
  • An additional goal is the establishment of a biobank, a storage facility for biological samples that will include serum, urine and DNA samples from consenting lupus patients. The software that will be utilized to monitor the samples will be similar or compatible to that of the Toronto Lupus Clinic (TWH). 
  • The biobank will provide valuable data for use in future Lupus Research Projects


The major milestones for the project are: 

1. Hire a research assistant (part-time) exclusively for the Lupus Clinic Registry and biobank 

2. Define policies, procedures, protocols 

3. Install technical infrastructure – in addition to the computer equipment and software, this also requires a -80 degree freezer.  Initially, the biobank (actual samples) will be hosted in the freezers of the McMaster Immunology Research Centre.

4. Biobank operational and sample collection 

5.  Ongoing target number of samples to be collected each year is 750 – 1000 (assuming 150 to 200 patients)   

*Dr. Tselios will provide Lupus Ontario with quarterly updates as to the progress of the project.

Lupus Samples biobank
Posted by Hajra Batool