Speakers - nova2024

International Keynote Speakers

Dr Charanjit (Chet) S. Rihal, M.D.
Interventional Cardiologist, Chair, Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Dr. Rihal graduated from the University of Manitoba Medical School and completed his post graduate training at Mayo Clinic.

Following his first faculty position at McMaster University he returned to Mayo in 1995, where he has served in several leadership roles including directing the cardiac catheterization laboratory and chairing the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine.

Since 2016 Dr. Rihal has chaired the Personnel Committee in Rochester and has been on the forefront of developing and instituting institutional approaches to sexual and other harassment.

In 2021 he joined the Mayo Clinic Board of Governors and Trustees and now chairs the Institutional People and Culture Committee, which is charged with development and implementation of people, workforce, and cultural strategies in support of Mayo’s strategic plan.

Dr Atta Behfar, M.D. PH.D
Cardiologist, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

The laboratory of Atta Behfar, M.D., Ph.D., uses state-of-the-art technologies developed at Mayo Clinic to understand heart disease at its most elemental level. With this understanding, Dr. Behfar and his colleagues are doing cardiovascular regeneration research with the aim of developing novel therapies to prevent and cure chronic heart conditions.
Specifically, the group led by Dr. Behfar focuses on development and use of both stem cells and protein-based therapies to reverse injury caused by lack of blood flow to the heart.
Goals include:
• Development and application of a ready-to-use protein-based technology to protect the heart at the time of infarction
• Application of highly reparative cardiopoietic stem cell technology to a broad range of heart failure conditions
Focus areas
• Phase III clinical testing of cardiopoietic stem cells in patients with end-stage heart failure
• First-in-human, or Phase Ib, testing of cardiopoietic stem cells in the setting of heart surgery:
o Valvular heart disease with low ejection fraction
o Ischemic and nonischemic heart disease requiring left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implantation
o Ischemic heart disease requiring coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG)
• Development and validation of a rapid diagnostic panel to identify patients at highest risk of heart failure following a heart attack
• Optimization and preclinical testing of protein delivery to the heart following infarction

Joseph Aragon, MD, FACC, FSCAI
Interventional Cardiologist and Structural Heart Disease Specialist Cottage Structural Heart Clinic

Most Outstanding Cardiology Fellow (2003), Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Assistant Clinical Professor (2007-present), Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
Chair (2007-2008), Institutional Review Board, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Staff Physician (2005-present), Interventional Cardiology & Cardiology, Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Consultant (2004-2006), Conor MedSystems
Guest Lecturer (2001-2005), David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California Los Angeles
Cardiology Expert, LiveStrong.com
Recognized by Castle Connolly as among the nation’s Top Doctors

Presenting Speakers

Dr Ben Hunt
Cardiac Electrophysiologist

Ben attended Mt St Patrick College, Murwillumbah for high school. He moved to Brisbane to complete a Bachelor of Science followed by a MBBS at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, from which he graduated in 2002. Ben registered as a Cardiologist in 2009, having completed advanced training at the Princess Alexandra and The Prince Charles Hospitals.

In 2011 Ben completed a two-year fellowship in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, Canada. During this time, Ben performed Atrial Fibrillation/SVT ablations and complex device implantations and extractions.

Ben’s special interests include atrial fibrillation, heart rhythm disorders, ablation of arrhythmias and implantation and management of pacemakers and defibrillators.

Associate Professor Dr Astin Lee
Interventional Cardiologist

Associate Professor Dr Astin Lee is a consultant and interventional cardiologist with a clinic in Wollongong.

Associate Professor Lee graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery in 1997.

He completed his cardiology training in 2004 and an interventional fellowship at Westmead Hospital in 2005.

Associate Professor Lee holds Fellowships from:

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
The Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand
The American College of Cardiology
The European Society of Cardiology
The Royal College of Physicians (London)
The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Intervention.
He is currently the Director of Cardiology at Wollongong and Shellharbour Hospitals. He is also the Head of Cardiac Services in the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District overseeing the delivery of cardiac services from Bulli to Milton-Ulladulla.

He is a Clinical Associate Professor of the School of Medicine at the University of Wollongong.

Dr Nick Collins

Nick completed his undergraduate education at the University of Newcastle in 1998 and completed cardiology training at the John Hunter Hospital in 2005. Dr Collins then completed Fellowships in Adult Congenital Heart Disease and Interventional Cardiology at the Toronto General Hospital/University Health Network, Toronto, Canada. Particular interests include congenital heart disease, pulmonary hypertension, peri-operative cardiology assessment and interventional cardiology, focusing on complex coronary and interatrial interventions, including atrial septal defect and patent foramen ovale closure.

Dr Collins is currently Director of the Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at the John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle, Australia and conjoint Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle. Nick has been involved in education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as research projects, focusing on congenital heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and interventional cardiology.

Dr Peter Bailey
Specialist Neurologist

Dr Peter Bailey completed my medical degree at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada graduating in 1981. My neurology fellowship was at the Montreal Neurological Institute at Mc Gill University in Montreal Quebec graduating in 1985.

He worked as a general neurologist with an interest in stroke at Saint John New Brunswick from 1985 to 2008 and volunteered in Malawi Africa for 2 years and then moved to the Gold Coast in 2011 where Dr Bailey currently presides.

Dr James Xu
Specialist Interventional Cardiologist

Dr James Xu is a Staff Specialist Interventional Cardiologist and Director of Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratories at Liverpool Hospital, Sydney.

He graduated from the University of Sydney Medical School in 2009. He completed his Cardiology and Interventional training at Liverpool Hospital, Sydney, and was awarded a PhD degree in 2021 before undergoing another year of CHIP/CTO Fellowship at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at Northwell Health, New York, USA. He has a keen interest in CHIP/CTO intervention.

Dr Katherine Lau

Dr Lau completed medical training at the University of Queensland and completed advanced Cardiology training at the Royal Brisbane and Womens Hospital and the Prince Charles Hospitals in Brisbane.

She has completed a two year Echocardiography and Structural Fellowship at the Prince Charles Hospital. She is currently a senior Staff specialist at the Prince Charles Hospital, visits St Vincent’s Private Hospital Northside and St Andrews War Memorial Hospital in Brisbane.

Katherine is a Senior Lecturer in Medicine at The University of Queensland.

Dr Peter Fahmy
Interventional Cardiologist

Dr Peter Fahmy is a Cardiologist with subspecialty training in Interventional and Structural Cardiology working at Norwest Private Hospital, Blacktown and Westmead Public Hospitals.

His medical career started at Otago University, New Zealand graduating in 2004. He moved to Australia to continue his medical career in cardiology, where he completed his internal medicine training at Westmead Hospital then speciality training at Monash Heart. He then undertook a PhD in gene therapy at the University of Sydney.

Dr Fahmy travelled to Vancouver Canada to undertake a Fellowship in Interventional and Structural Cardiology at Vancouver General and St Paul’s Hospitals.
He is team lead for the Norwest Private Hospital Structural Heart Team involved in setting up the transcatheter valve program at Norwest Hospital.

Dr Pankaj Jain
Academic Interventional Cardiologist

Dr Jain is an academic interventional cardiologist with appointments at RPA and MQ Health. His interests include complex coronary and structural heart interventions and interventions for heart failure.

After completing his Cardiology training at St Vincents Hospital, he undertook a PhD for which he won the UNSW Dean’s Award and St Vincent’s Clinical School Prizes for Outstanding Thesis. He then undertook interventional cardiology fellowships at St Vincent’s followed by Tufts Medical Centre, Boston, where he gained experience with a range of cutting-edge technologies.

His career vision is to introduce these devices to Australia to enable treatment for the most critically unwell heart patients.

Dr Virag Kushwaha
Interventional Cardiologist

Dr Virag Kushwaha is an interventional cardiologist with special interest in the management of structural heart disease and complex coronary artery disease. He graduated in medicine and surgery at the University of Sydney in 2005.

He completed his postgraduate training in internal medicine and cardiology at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney and the Leeds General Infirmary in the UK.

Dr Kushwaha is a Senior Staff Specialist at the Prince of Wales Hospital and a visiting Medical Officer at the Prince of Wales Private Hospital, Eastern Heart Clinic, Sutherland Heart Clinic and Port Macquarie Base Hospital.

Dr Kushwaha runs an Aboriginal Health Clinic in Sydney and is a volunteer for the East Timor Hearts Fund. Dr Kushwaha is actively involved in clinical research and is a Conjoint Lecturer with the University of New South Wales

Dr Jorge Moragues
Consultant Cardiologist

Dr Jorge Moragues is a Cardiologist specialised in Cardiac Imaging with a special interest in Interventional Echocardiography.

Dr Moragues is a Staff Specialist at Wollongong Hospital and a Senior Clinical Lecturer for the University of Wollongong.

He is the clinical director of the ISLHD Heart Failure Clinic, which specialises in complex heart failure and cardiomyopathies, cardiac amyloidosis and pulmonary hypertension.

Dr Moragues is in charge of most of the imaging diagnosis, patient selection, peri-procedural imaging and follow up for the structural interventional program including ASD and PFO closure, left atrial appendage occlusion and transcatheter edge-to-edge mitral valve repair.

Dr Karen Phillips
Cardiac Electrophysiologist

Dr Karen Phillips is a Cardiac Electrophysiologist in private practice in Brisbane. She is a Clinician and Researcher, and also heads the Brisbane AF Clinic which is dedicated to the comprehensive management of atrial fibrillation. The clinic is based at Greenslopes Private Hospital, Brisbane – the largest private hospital in Australia.

Dr Phillips underwent specialised training at the Cleveland Clinic – America’s Number One rated Cardiac Hospital in 2006-2007. She took this training under the mentorship of Dr Andrea Natale, a recognised world leader in Atrial Fibrillation Ablation.

Since 2008 Dr Phillips has established one of the largest single-operator Atrial Fibrillation ablation services in Australia at Greenslopes Private Hospital. She has emerged as an expert and one of the leaders of Atrial Fibrillation Interventional procedures in Australia, including performing Catheter Ablation for AF and implantation of Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion Devices for stroke prevention.

Dr Phillips has a strong publication record, presents regularly at national and international conferences, is actively involved in clinical trials and has been a vocal patient advocate for new therapies for atrial fibrillation.

Dr Muddassir Rashid
Interventional Radiologist

Dr Muddassir Rashid is a highly skilled interventional radiologist who serves as the Director of Interventional Radiology at Gold Coast University Hospital and is the lead paediatric interventional radiologist at Queensland Children’s Hospital.

He completed his fellowship training in abdominal imaging, paediatric radiology, and interventional radiology in Melbourne, Australia.

Dr Rashid’s areas of expertise include interventional oncology, liquid embolics, thoracic and abdominal aortic interventions, and paediatric interventions. He is also an accomplished educator and researcher, currently holding an adjunct associate professor position at Bond University and Griffith University’s Schools of Medicine.

Dr Rashid is a frequent speaker at national conferences, sharing his knowledge and experience with fellow medical professionals. He is also actively involved in various clinical trials at Gold Coast University Hospital, contributing to the advancement of medical science and patient care.

Prof Chris Hayward
Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney

Prof Hayward is a Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiologist at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, Conjoint Professor of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, and Faculty at Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, Sydney.

Research interests include the haemodynamics of cardiac failure and advanced heart failure management with particular interest in mechanical support devices.

Dr Kiran Shekar
MBBS, FCICM, FCCCM, PhD Director of Research at the Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland.

Kiran Shekar is a Senior Intensive Care Specialist and Director of Research at the Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He holds academic appointments as Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology and Associate Professor at University of Queensland.

Shekar is passionate about addressing the global variability in intensive care and extracorporeal life support (ECLS) outcomes through innovation, research, and education. His research interests include pathophysiology of cardiorespiratory failure, ECLS and mechanical circulatory support.

His ongoing research program “The No Tube Project” aims to integrate less invasive respiratory supports with ECLS to provide more personalized respiratory support and to minimise the burden of invasive mechanical ventilation.

Shekar is an active contributor to the Extracorporeal Life Support Organisation (ELSO) through his research and educational engagements. He is a member of the Asia-Pacific ELSO Education Committee and is the Course Director of an ELSO endorsed ECMO course.

He is the research lead for ELSO Education Taskforce (ELSOed) and as a member of the scientific committee of the International ECMO Network, he contributes to global collaborative research in ECMO.

Associate Prof Hal Rice
Director of Interventional Neuroradiology at Gold Coast University Hospital

Associate Professor Hal Rice Dr Hal Rice is Director of Interventional Neuroradiology at Gold Coast University Hospital in Queensland Australia. He studied Medicine at the University of Queensland and Specialist training in Radiology at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital before fellowship training in Diagnostic and Interventional Neuroradiology at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

Returning to the Gold Coast in 2002 he founded the Interventional Neuroradiology service at Gold Coast Hospital and subsequently founded Qscan Radiology Clinics which as the Qscan Group has grown to become one of Australia’s largest Radiology group practices with over 85 practices and 1200 staff members. He along with his colleague Dr Laetitia de Villiers hosted the World Federation of Interventional and Therapeutic Neuroradiology 13th Congress in November 2015.

He is dedicated to accelerating innovation in the endovascular treatment of brain vascular abnormalities, aneurysms and acute ischaemic stroke. The service at Gold Coast University Hospital treats patients locally and from throughout Australia with acute stroke patients airlifted up to 2000km from remote locations. The service has been instrumental in developing innovative treatment techniques with flow diversion therapy, Corindus robotic neurovascular procedures and first in human device clinical trials.

He is co-founder of NeuTex Image Guided Therapy Surgical and Robotics Training center at the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct. A facility dedicated to education, training and innovation that utilises state of the art medical imaging equipment and 3D printed anatomic models to precisely replicate surgical treatments for medical specialist training and biomedical innovation. The NeuTex centre regularly hosts visiting specialists from across Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region for hands on workshops fostering international collaboration and introducing new technology that benefits patients with complex neurovascular disorders.

He is a frequently invited keynote speaker at local and international conferences, a published author in major international journals and founding chair of the national neurovascular NeuroExchange annual conference since 2009. He has extensive board experience previously as the national Treasurer of RANZCR and executive board member of Qscan Group. Currently holding board positions with the Gold Coast Titans NRL team and Griffith University Council.

Dr Laila Khan
Staff Specialist Imaging Cardiologist The Canberra Hospital

Dr Laila Khan is a Staff Specialist Imaging Cardiologist currently based in the Nation’s Capital at The Canberra Hospital.

Dr Khan undertook Cardiology Advanced Training at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane and subsequently completed an Advanced Echocardiography Fellowship at Gold Coast Health Service. Dr Khan was the inaugural Advanced Echo Fellow at Gold Coast Health Service and won the 14th Echo Hong Kong Young Cardiologists/Fellow Echo Case Competition in 2023.

Dr Khan has a great interest in both valvular and non-valvular structural interventions, infective endocarditis, pulmonary hypertension and perioperative medicine.

Maggie He
Interventional Cardiology Fellow at Gold Coast University Hospital

Maggie is a current Interventional Cardiology Fellow at Gold Coast University Hospital. She competed Advanced Training in Cardiology in Gold Coast and Brisbane. Maggie is excited to continue pursuing a career in cardiology and plans to support future junior doctors interested in Intervention.