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Who We Are


Maryam Nafari, BA

Maryam is our administrative assistant. She received her B.A degree in Business Administration in 1996 and complemented with a Medical Terminology License from Medix College in Toronto. She has more than 10 years experience in administration and coordination, planning and supporting daily operational and administrative functions in various capacities, as well as 3 years of Medical Administration experience. Maryam joined MHIU team in November, 2016.

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Elena Zvaritch, PhD

Elena received her M.S. degree from Moscow State University, Russia, and her Ph.D. degree from Russian Academy of Sciences. She worked with Dr. Yuri Ovchinnikov (Moscow, Russia), a prominent scientist in the field of protein and bioorganic chemistry; with Dr. Ernesto Carafoli (Zurich, Swizerland), a renowned specialist in Ca2+ binding proteins; and with Dr. Michael Lazdunski (Sophia-Antipolis, France), a leading specialist in ion-transporting systems. From 1995 till 2015, she worked as a scientific researcher at the University of Toronto in the laboratory of Dr. David MacLennan, a leading specialist in Ca2+ homeostasis and muscle diseases. Elena is the creator of the first animal model of the MH/CCD myopathy. In 2016, Elena joined MHIU, where she took up responsibility for the immunochemical and protein analysis of malignant hyperthermia. Together with Dr. Natalia Kraev, Elena works on the analysis of the animal model of MH/CCD and on the development of novel markers for MH diagnostics.

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Natalia Kraeva, PhD

Natalia received her B.S./M.S. (1977) and Ph.D. (1983) degrees from Moscow State University, Russia. She worked with Dr. Eugene Sverdlov, a pioneer in human genetics, and Dr. Ernesto Carafoli, a renowned researcher in Ca2+ signaling. She joined the laboratory of Dr. David MacLennan in 1999, a pioneer in the studies of Ca2+ transport and binding proteins. In 2001 Natalia joined the Malignant Hyperthermia Investigation Unit at the UHN, where she established a world-class molecular genetics facility with an array of genome analysis techniques. Today, Natalia's research focuses on the development and improvement of MH genetic diagnostics, on the studies of gene expression in animal models of MH/CCD (in collaboration with Dr. MacLennan and Dr. Zvaritch, University of Toronto.

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Sheila Riazi, MSc, MD, FRCPC

Sheila received her MD at the University of Tehran, Iran. Following obtaining her M.Sc. at the Hospital for Sick Children/ Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto, she completed her residency in Anesthesia, and a fellowship in regional anesthesia at the University of Toronto. She joined Toronto Western Hospital as a staff anesthesiologist, and became the director of the Malignant Hyperthermia Investigation Unit. She works at MHIU one day a week, where she oversees muscle biopsy and testing and runs the malignant hyperthermia consult clinic.

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