About Us

Steering Committee

Dennis M. McNamara, MD


Dr. Dennis McNamara is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also the Director of the Center for Heart Failure Research at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. McNamara received his undergraduate/graduate education at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, respectively. He completed his internship, residency, and cardiology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

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McNamara’s current research interests include etiology and pathogenesis of dilated cardiomyopathies; inflammatory syndromes of cardiovascular disease; myocardial recovery in recent onset non- ischemic primary cardiomyopathy; etiology and management of peripartum cardiomyopathy; and genetic modulation of outcomes in cardiovascular disease.

Leslie T. Cooper, Jr., MD


Dr. Leslie T. Cooper, Jr., is a general cardiologist and the chair of the Mayo Clinic Enterprise Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, as well as chair of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Florida. Dr. Cooper’s clinical interests and research focus on clinical and translational studies of rare and undiagnosed cardiomyopathies, myocarditis, and inflammatory cardiac and vascular diseases, such as giant cell myocarditis, cardiac sarcoidosis, eosinophilic myocarditis, and Takayasu’s arteritis. He has published over 130 original peer- reviewed papers, as well as contributing to and editing books on myocarditis.

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In addition to his clinical and research work, Dr. Cooper is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association, the European Society of Cardiology Heart Failure Association, the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, and the Society for Vascular Medicine and Biology. He is also the founder and former president of the Myocarditis Foundation and continues to serve on its Board of Directors.

Arvind Bhimaraj, MD

Dr. Arvind Bhimaraj is a specialist in Heart Failure and Transplantation Cardiology and is Assistant Professor of Cardiology, Institute for Academic Medicine, at Houston Methodist and at Weill Cornell Medical College, NYC. He has been Co-Director of the Heart Failure Research Laboratory at Houston Methodist since 2016. His area of focus is anti- fibrotic mechanisms and how to promote recovery of a damaged heart. Dr. Bhimaraj was a Heart Failure Fellow at the Cleveland Clinic from July 2010 to September 2011.

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Dr. Bhimaraj also specializes in Interventional Cardiology, is board certified in Cardiovascular Disease, and the author of numerous cardiovascular publications.

Barry Trachtenberg, MD

Dr. Barry H. Trachtenberg is a cardiologist specializing in heart failure and cardiac transplantation. He is also the director of the Michael DeBakey Cardiology Associates Cardio-Oncology program, an evolving field devoted to prevention and management of cardiovascular complications of cancer therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation. His clinical experience includes heart failure and heart transplantation, mechanical support pumps, and cardio- oncology. He has contributed to multiple publications related to advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation, regenerative therapies, and ventricular assist devices.

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Dr. Trachtenberg is a member of the American Heart Association, the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, the Heart Failure Society of America, and the International CardiOncology Society of North America.

Wai Hong Wilson Tang, MD

Dr. Wai Hong Wilson Tang is the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology specialist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Tang is also the Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Clinical Genomics; Research Director, and staff cardiologist in the Section of Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Medicine in the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. He attended and graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1996, having over 23 years of diverse experience, especially in Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology.

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Dr. Tang is affiliated with many hospitals including the Cleveland Clinic and cooperates with other doctors and physicians in medical groups including The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Peter Liu, MD

Dr. Peter Liu is the Chief Scientific Officer and Vice President, Research, of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, and Professor of Medicine and Physiology at the University of Toronto and University of Ottawa. He was the former Scientific Director of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the major federal funding agency for health research in Canada. Prior to that role, he was the inaugural Director of the Heart & Stroke/Lewar Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research at University of Toronto. Dr. Liu received his MD from the University of Toronto, and postgraduate training at Harvard University.

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His laboratory investigates the causes and treatments of heart failure, the role of inflammation, and the identification of novel biomarkers and interventions in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Liu has published over 300 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals and received numerous awards in recognition of his research and scientific accomplishments.

Carsten Tschöpe, MD

Dr. Carsten Tschöpe is Professor of Medicine and Cardiology. Vice Director of the Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Charité Hospital, Freie Universität Berlin. He received his doctorate in medicine in 1993 and has over 140 peer – reviewed publications, including overview and book articles, and 120 international original articles. His research interests include inflammatory cardiomyopathy, diabetic cardiopathy, and ischemic cardiopathy. He also includes diastolic dysfunction, endothelial dysfunction, peptide systems, and experimental and clinical studies in cardiology and stem cells in his research studies.

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For his outstanding research work, Dr. Tschöpe was awarded the prestigious Arthur Weber Prize by the German Cardiac Society – Cardiovascular Research.

Matthias Friedrich, MD

Dr. Matthias Friedrich is Full Professor with the Departments of Medicine and Diagnostic Radiology at the McGill University in Montreal and Chief, Cardiovascular Imaging at the McGill University Health Centre. He is also Professor of Medicine at Heidelberg University in Germany. Dr. Friedrich earned his MD at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. He completed his training as an internist and cardiologist at the Charité University Medicine Center, Humboldt University in Berlin. Dr. Friedrich founded one of the first large Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance centres in Germany at the Charité Hospital in Berlin.

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After his move to Canada, from 2004 to 2011, he was Director of the Stephenson Cardiovascular MR Centre at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and Professor of Medicine within the Departments of Cardiac Sciences and Radiology at the University of Calgary, Canada. From 2011 to 2015, he directed the Philippa and Marvin Carsley Cardiovascular MR Centre at the Montreal Heart Institute and was Michel and Renata Hornstein Chair in Cardiac Imaging at the Université de Montréal.

Guilherme Oliveira, MD, MBA

Dr. Guilherme Oliveira is a Professor of Medicine and Chairman of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine. He is also the Executive Director of the Tampa General Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute, located in Tampa, Florida. Dr. Oliveira received his Doctor of Medicine from Universidade Federal do Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and completed the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Mayo Graduate School, Rochester, Minnesota. He achieved Fellowship at the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, and earned an MBA at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Dr. Oliveira’s areas of expertise include advanced heart failure; left ventricular assist devices; onco-cardiology; heart transplantation; and mechanical circulatory support. For his outstanding work, Dr. Oliveira was granted admission into the Fellowship of the American College of Cardiology.

Business Advisors

Steven Grasso

Mr. Grasso began his career on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. He joined Stuart Frankel & Co. as an institutional sales trader in 1999. As Director of Institutional Sales for Stuart Frankel & Co., Steven has worked closely with some of the largest mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, and hedge funds in the world directly from the floor of the Stock Exchange. Over his 27-year career, Steven has actively participated in various Stock Exchange committees ranging from allocating new listings to designated market makers to developing standardized tests that the floor community uses for continuing education. Steven closely follows the Washington D.C./Markets connection, using his extensive Capitol Hill and SEC relationships to better inform his clients on policy changes and regulation.

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Steven is perhaps best known for being a CNBC market analyst and is a regular on CNBC’s popular “Fast Money” show, which airs daily during the business week and has an average daily viewership that currently exceeds 250,000. Mr. Grasso also speaks at many traders’ conferences across the country on a regular basis, as well as business round tables with many influential leaders of industry where he addresses a broad range of market related issues, including the effects of regulation and the political process on equities.

Teri Loxam

Teri is an accomplished professional with a diverse background in Strategy, Investor Relations, Finance and Communications.  Teri joined Kira Pharmaceuticals in November 2021 as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer.  In this role, Teri oversees Finance along with a number of strategic and operational functions for the company.  Prior to joining Kira, Teri served as SQZ Biotech’s Chief Financial Officer where she led the company’s financial operations including financial strategy, accounting, financial planning and analysis, risk management, tax and treasury as well as overseeing the investor relations and communications/public relations functions. In the two years with SQZ, Teri was instrumental in helping the company raise over $200M in funding, including taking the company public through an IPO on the NYSE in October 2020.

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Before joining SQZ Biotech, Teri served as Sr. Vice President of Investor Relations and Global Communications at Merck, a global pharmaceutical company.  In this role, Teri led internal and external communications efforts globally, including corporate and financial media relations, product communications, public affairs and employee communications as well as its investor relations and investment community interactions.  Prior to Merck, Teri was vice president, Investor Relations for IMAX Corporation, where she reshaped the entertainment company’s investor strategy, helping to convert its investor base and helping the company go public in China with an IPO on the Hong Kong Exchange.  Teri also spent over a decade at Bristol-Myers Squibb in a variety of roles of increasing responsibility across Strategy, Treasury and Investor Relations.

Teri started her career as a marine biologist and worked at Sea World of San Diego for several years before making a transition into business.

Teri is a member of the board of directors of Vaxcyte.

Teri holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Victoria, B.C. Canada.