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REACTION Lab Community

Our extended team consists of a diverse and passionate group of trainees, clinicians, researchers, and community partners committed to improving cardiovascular health and reducing mortality in cancer survivors.

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Scott Adams, RKin, CSEP-CEP, PhD

Director

Scott Adams is an exercise scientist within the Ted Rogers Cardiotoxicity Prevention Program with >13 years of experience developing, and testing the effects of, exercise-based interventions for people living with and after cancer.

Current Appointments

1. Assistant Scientist1,2 & Exercise Lead2

     (1)  Cardiology Department, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network

     (2)  Ted Rogers Cardiotoxicity Prevention Program, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network

2. Assistant Professor
     (status only)  Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto

Education

  1. Fellowship: Mental Health & Physical Activity Research Centre; Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education (University of Toronto)
  2. Fellowship: Exercise Oncology Service (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
  3. PhD: Behavioural Medicine Laboratory; Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation (University of Alberta)
  4. MSc: Department of Exercise Science (Concordia University); Autonomic Reflex Laboratory (Jewish General Hospital)
  5. BSc: Clinical Exercise Physiology; Department of Exercise Science (Concordia University)

Clinical Affiliations

  1. Ted Rogers Cardiotoxicity Prevention Program, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network
  2. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, University Health Network
  3. Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Program, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network

Professional Memberships

  1. The College of Kinesiologists of Ontario (2020)
  2. Peri-Operative Exercise Testing and Training Society (2019)
  3. American Heart Association (2017)
  4. American Society of Clinical Oncology (2015)
  5. American College of Sports Medicine (2014)
  6. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (2012)

Research Interests

My research focuses on characterizing the (1) pathogenesis of cancer-related cardiovascular toxicity and cardiovascular disease and (2) impact of exercise therapy to prevent, mitigate, and treat organ-specific and systemic cardiovascular dysfunction in cancer survivors. To this end, I adopt diverse assessment techniques (e.g., cardiopulmonary exercise testing, vascular imaging, autonomic function testing), intervention designs (e.g., high-intensity interval training, non-linear training schedules, multi-modal treatment strategies), delivery approaches (e.g., in-person and technology-enhanced remote supervision), and research methods (e.g., feasibility/pilot testing, prospective randomized controlled trials and cohort studies, knowledge translation) to optimize the safety, efficacy, and implementation of my work across academic, medical & community settings.

Clinical Experience

I was the senior Exercise Physiologist and a founding member of Hope & Cope’s ActivOnco Program (formerly Rehabilitation & Exercise Oncology Program) and a Research Associate within the McGill Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Program at the Jewish General Hospital (2008-2013; Segal Cancer Centre, QC). I was also the AYA Program Coordinator for Hope & Cope where I (1) co-led the development of a collaborative multi-site care system within the McGill University Health Network (Hope & Cope, Cedars CanSupport, VOBOC) that addressed the physical, emotional, educational and cognitive support needs of AYA cancer survivors, and (2) founded a comprehensive online support platform for AYA cancer survivors and their supporters (CancerFightClub.com) – for which I received multiple personal- and team- awards / distinctions.

I am currently a member of the Ted Rogers Cardiotoxicity Prevention Program (Peter Munk Cardiac Centre) and the AYA Oncology Program (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre) and remain committed to knowledge translation through my regular community engagement as a speaker and professional facilitator at national, provincial, & regional patient support events for leading cancer care organizations (e.g., Young Adult Cancer Canada).

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Meet Our Team

Leanna Lee, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Leanna is a postdoctoral fellow in the REACTION lab of the Ted Rogers Cardiotoxicity Prevention Program (Peter Munk Cardiac Centre), supervised by Drs. Scott Adams (primary) and Dinesh Thavendiranathan (co-supervisor). She completed her doctoral studies in the Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto in 2019, under the supervision of Dr. Dina Brooks and Dr. Paul Oh. Her doctoral research focused on optimizing exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation for women with heart disease and capturing the women’s experiences surrounding exercise training modalities. Her recent fellowship at West Park Healthcare Centre with Dr. Crystal MacKay expanded her research training to include exploring the factors influencing physical activity and exercise among individuals with lower limb loss, to inform the development of health interventions for this population. Leanna’s current research interests include: 1) optimizing risk screening and management for cancer-related heart failure and heart disease across the spectrum of adolescent to older adult cancer survivors, 2) developing personalized cardio-oncology rehabilitation interventions to prevent and treat these cancer-related sequelae, and 3) improving survival in vulnerable groups of cancer survivors at high-risk of developing heart disease. 

Marc Sicova, MSc(c)

PhD Student

Marc is an incoming doctoral student in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto, co-supervised by Drs. Daniel Santa Mina and Scott Adams. He is completing his master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences, also at the University of Toronto, examining how genetic variability in caffeine metabolism or response, modifies caffeine’s effects on maximal exercise. Prior to his master’s, Marc completed an undergraduate research project in personalized medicine and cancer treatment. He is a strong believer that ‘exercise is medicine’, and is excited that he has the opportunity to combine his two research interests together. Marc’s goal in the doctoral program is to further investigate the effectiveness of exercise therapy to improve cardiovascular function in cancer survivors.

Priya Brahmbhatt, RKin, MSc

PhD Student, Research Associate

Priya is a second-year doctoral student in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Santa Mina. She completed her master’s degree from the same lab in January 2020 during which she examined the role of prehabilitation prior to breast cancer surgery. She is a Research Associate in the REACTION lab and is a Registered Kinesiologist with experience working in various clinical roles in the oncology setting. Her research interests include cancer prehabilitation and understanding the role of exercise in mitigating cancer therapy-related cardiovascular toxicity.

Serena Peck, BKin

MSc Student

Serena Peck is a first-year Masters student at the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Drs. Dinesh Thavendiranathan (primary) and Scott Adams (co-supervisor). She completed her Bachelor of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto where she worked as a research assistant in the Mental Health & Physical Activity Research Centre lab with Drs. Catherine Sabiston and Scott Adams (2019-2020) examining (1) the associations between physical activity and health / quality of life outcomes in breast cancer survivors, and (2) the reporting and methodological quality of cardiac rehabilitation research in cancer survivors. Serena also completed student placement positions at Women’s College Hospital in the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program (2018-19) and at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in the Cancer Rehabilitation Program (2019-20). She also held a research position in Multi-Organ Transplant Student Research Training Program at Toronto General Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Carolina Alba as the Cardiac Transplant Student Research Team Lead (2019-20). Serena’s research focuses on understanding the impact of cancer treatment and exercise therapy on the cardiovascular health of cancer survivors.

Maggie Chen, BKin

MSc Student

Maggie Chen is a Masters student at the University of Toronto, under the supervision of Dr. Daniel Santa Mina and Dr. Scott Adams. Her current project is focused on assessing the feasibility of a pre-operative exercise intervention designed to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and post-operative outcomes in adolescent and young adult cancer survivors with extremity sarcoma. Maggie’s overarching interests include optimizing exercise interventions to mitigate treatment-related cardiovascular toxicity and psychosocial distress in cancer survivors. Maggie’s path to exercise oncology began during her formative years as a competitive figure skater, where successive injuries frequently sent her to the medical clinic and into physical rehabilitation. Having been inspired by the support she received while recovering during a vulnerable time as an athlete, she pursued a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with the goal of one day reciprocating rehabilitative support for those in similar circumstances. This generalized from athletes to cancer survivors after her studies and work in the field of exercise oncology led her to draw parallels between the athletic experiences of training, injury, and recovery, and that of cancer survivors in preparation and recovery from treatment.

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Meet Our Collaborators

(in alphabetical order)

Abha Gupta, MD, MSc, FRCPC

  • Medical Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program
  • Oncologist, The Hospital for Sick Children & Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Amy Kirkham, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto

Catherine Sabiston, PhD

  • Director, Mental Health & Physical Activity Research Centre (MPARC)
  • Professor and Canada Research Chair, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto

Daniel Santa Mina, RKin, CSEP-CEP, PhD

  • Associate Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto
  • Clinician Investigator, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, Toronto General Hospital

Dinesh Thavendiranathan, MD, SM, FRCPC

  • Director, Cardiotoxicity Prevention Program, Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research
  • Cardiologist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre
  • Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute

Husam Abdel-Qadir, MD, PhD, FRCPC

  • Cardiologist, Women’s College Hospital
  • Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Adjunct Scientist, ICES

Iliana Lega, MD, MSc, FRCPC

  • Endocrinologist, Women’s College Hospital
  • Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Jenna Smith-Turchyn, PT, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University

Jessica Scott, PhD

  • Assistant Attending Exercise Physiologist, Exercise Oncology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Linda Trinh, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto
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Meet Our Partners

PAI Health allows organizations to assess, monitor and guide their people to better health to reduce risk and costs, while providing individuals with motivational guidance on recommended physical activity levels for better health. 

PAI Health’s mission is to optimize anyone’s path to better health by making the science-backed Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI) metric available world-wide through partnerships with insurers, employee wellness programs, technology platforms, health care providers and other industry partners. 

For more information, visit www.paihealth.com

Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) helps young adults dealing with cancer in their late teens, 20s, and 30s living with, through, and beyond cancer through its unique and life-changing local, national, and digital programs. YACC’s mission is to support young adults living with, through, and beyond cancer – to be the connection to peers, bridge out of isolation, and source of inspiration.

Every cancer, every stage, YACC’s got your back. YACC is based in St. John’s, NL and focuses on the promotion and evolution of its six primary programs: the online community, Retreat YourselfRetreat Yourself AdventureLocalife, the Big Cancer Hook-up, and the annual Survivor Conference.

For more information, visit www.youngadultcancer.ca