Academic Facilitators

Alan Silman


Alan Silman is an epidemiologist and a rheumatologist. He was Director of the UK’s Arthritis Research Epidemiology Unit in Manchester from 1988-2006 and published over 500 articles in the broad field of arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases. His research interest’s spanned inflammatory joint diseases, connective tissue disorders especially scleroderma and Behcets Disease, chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions and osteoporosis and fracture. His methodological interests included pharmaco-epidemiology and the use of drug register, genetics and disease outcome research. He then became Arthritis Research UK’s first Medical Director, a post he held from 2007 until the end of 2014. In that role he was responsible for the strategic direction of the Charity’s research activities as well as leading on both health care professional and patient education initiatives. Currently he is Professor of Musculoskeletal Health at Oxford University. His current research interests are mainly in the field of comorbidities and their relation to health care and health care outcomes and the use of ‘big data’ to address these issues. He also is collaborating with Mr Dominique Rothenfluh, spinal surgeon at the NOC (Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre), to develop a research programme in the surgery of adult degenerative spine disease. He is extending this interest to outside the UK and has a particular interest in developing research in musculoskeletal disorders in low and middle income countries. Amongst his other roles, he chairs Appeal Panels for NICE, is the Research Lead for the Global Musculoskeletal Alliance and with collaborators at Green Templeton College leading on a programme on how to enhance the use of patient-lead technologies to improve health. He is one of the editors of the leading international postgraduate textbook, Rheumatology (7th Ed Elsevier due 2017) and is jointly authoring the third Edition of Epidemiological Studies: A Practical Guide, OUP, due 2017/18. He has a particular commitment to supporting younger investigators in developing their scientific writing skills and learning how to succeed in achieving research grant awards.

Anushka Soni


Research: Anushka Soni is a Rheumatologist with a research interest in musculoskeletal pain mechanisms. During her DPhil, she studied the impact of abnormal central pain processing in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. She showed a relationship between the presence of neuropathic pain and central sensitization pre-operatively, and that this modified the patient’s response to knee replacement surgery. Moving forwards, her work will use a combination of techniques, including neuroimaging and clinical pain quantification, to investigate pain related predictors of response to treatment in inflammatory arthritis. Background: Anushka completed her medical degree at Magdalen College, Oxford in 2003 having obtained a BA Hons (Cantab) in Natural Sciences in 2000. She then completed her general medical training at the Oxford Deanery and moved to the North London Deanery in 2007 to commence specialist training in Rheumatology. Anushka returned to the Oxford Deanery in 2008 and took up a Clinical lecturer post in 2009. During specialist training she secured an NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowship in order to complete a DPhil (Oxon) entitled “Pain Characterisation in Osteoarthritis”. She has now completed her specialist training in Rheumatology and has been awarded a four-year Oxford-UCB Prize fellowship, which started in September 2017, to advance and translate her work on pain mechanisms to inflammatory arthritis.

Gillian Hawker



Dr. Gillian Hawker is the Sir John and Lady Eaton Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute. She is a rheumatologist and health services researcher whose research has focused on advancing care for people with osteoarthritis (OA) along three broad themes: 1. Elucidating the determinants and consequences of care for people with painful hip and knee OA, with a particular interest in appropriateness of use of total joint arthroplasty; 2. Understanding – and improving the measurement of – the OA patient experience, including the downstream effects of OA pain on sleep, mood, fatigue, activity limitations, and quality of care; and more recently 3. The inter-relationship of OA with other common chronic conditions which commonly co-occur in people with OA, e.g. diabetes and cardiovascular disease, on OA care and outcomes. I am also a passionate advocate for advancing the academic careers of women in medicine. She has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles and in 2020 was the recipient of the OARSI Award for Clinical Research.

Lihi Eder


Dr. Eder is Clinician-Scientist and staff rheumatologist at the Women’s College Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada. Dr. Eder has a broad background in rheumatology with specific training and expertise in clinical and genetic epidemiology of psoriatic arthritis and cardiovascular diseases in rheumatic patients. She is Director, University of Toronto, Cardio-Rheumatology Program, an interdisciplinary program that aims to improve the management of cardiovascular morbidities in rheumatic patients by developing novel models of care and through research and educational activities. Dr Eder’s research is supported by grants from national and international agencies including the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Rheumatology Association, The Arthritis Society and the National Psoriasis Foundation (US). Dr Eder’s research efforts have resulted in over 110 peer-reviewed publications in medical journals, book chapters and editorials. She is frequently invited to present the result of her studies in national and international conferences in the fields of rheumatology, dermatology and cardiology. As a recognized emerging expert in rheumatology she received a New Investigator Salary Award from the Arthritis Society (2016) and Early Research Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research Innovation and Science (2018).

Mohit Kapoor


Canada Research Chair

Dr. Mohit Kapoor is the Co-Director of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute (the largest multidisciplinary Arthritis Institute in Canada) at the University Health Network in Toronto. He is the Tony and Shari Fell Platinum Chair in Arthritis Research. He is also the Canada Research Chair and Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kapoor’s translational research program utilizes high throughput multi-omic approaches directed towards: (1) Understanding the complex cellular and molecular mechanisms associated with joint destruction during osteoarthritis; (2) Identifying reliable biomarkers for early identification of patients with osteoarthritis to enable early intervention; (3) Identifying novel therapeutic targets to stop/delay osteoarthritis and restore joint function. His research program is funded by various organizations including the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Canada Research Chairs Program, Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), The Krembil Foundation, The Arthritis Society, Stem Cell Network, etc. He sits on review panels & boards of various research and funding organizations across the globe. He has over 100 research publications in high ranked scientific journals including Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, Nature Reviews Rheumatology, Annals of The Rheumatic Diseases, etc.

Stephanie Dakin


Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellow

Chair of Directors of the Taught MSc in Musculoskeletal Sciences

Stephanie graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 2003 from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC), University of London. After undertaking an internship specialising in equine orthopaedics, she then spent 5 years in practice as an equine veterinary clinician. In 2008, Stephanie commenced a PhD at the RVC researching the role of inflammation in equine tendinopathy, which was successfully completed in 2012. Stephanie moved to NDORMS (Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences) in 2013 to advance and translate her research from horses to humans. She successfully secured consecutive research Fellowships funded by Versus Arthritis (Foundation Fellowship), an Oxford-UCB Prize Fellowship in Biomedical Sciences and more recently a Versus Arthritis Career Development Fellowship. In 2020, Stephanie was appointed Associate Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences at NDORMS and a Research Fellow at Green Templeton College. Stephanie’s research focuses on identifying the mechanisms underpinning the development of chronic inflammatory fibrosis in soft tissue joint disease. The over-arching goal of her research is to discover novel therapeutic strategies to promote resolution of inflammation and fibrosis in chronically inflamed soft tissues, with a particular focus on tendinopathy and frozen shoulder. Her key collaborators in NDORMS are Professor Andrew Carr and Professor Christopher Buckley. Stephanie is also the Chair of Directors for the Taught MSc in Musculoskeletal Sciences at the University of Oxford. This part time 2-year course integrating orthopaedics and rheumatology delivers an internationally renowned programme.

Zahi Touma


Clinician-Scientist, Schroeder Arthritis Institute and Krembil Research Institute

Staff Rheumatologist, University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital

DR. ZAHI TOUMA, MD, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine, Clinician-Scientist with the University of Toronto (UofT), the Schroeder Arthritis Institute and the Krembil Research Institute, Staff Rheumatologist with the University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital, and adjunct scientist with the Institute for Work and Health. His research is focused on patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and measurement science with a particular interest in the assessment of disease activity, patient reported outcomes and cognitive function. One of his most significant contributions has been the development of the SLE disease activity indices – the SLEDAI Responder Index-50 (S2K RI-50) and SLEDAI-2K Glucocorticoids Index (SGI). Dr Touma is a member of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) subcommittee for the development of classification and response criteria for rheumatic diseases. He is also the coordinator of the measurement in clinical research course at the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation (IHPME), UofT. Another major focus of his research is the assessment of cognitive impairment in patients with SLE. Dr. Touma has established the NeuroLupus Program which consists of a team of experts in psychometrics, neuropsychology, neurology, psychiatry, measurement and bioinformatics with the goal of developing improved methods of identifying cognitive impairment in SLE and understanding its course over time and impact on health-related quality of life and productivity. Dr. Touma’s work has been supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Arthritis Society of Canada, Lupus Canada and Physician Services Incorporated and the Lupus Research Alliance. He is also the recipient of an Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario, Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and salary awards from the Arthritis Society, Canadian Rheumatology Association and the Department of Medicine, UofT.

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