Our Team

Electrophysiologists

Dr Richard Leather

Investigator

 

Dr Paul Novak

Investigator

Dr Michael Thibert

Investigator

Dr Markus Sikkel

Investigator

Dr Martin van Zyl

Investigator

Dr Laurence Sterns

Investigator

Electrophysiology Fellows

Dr Jovita Dwivedi

EP Fellow

Dr Catherine O’Shea

EP Fellow

Clinical Research Coordinators

May Woodburn

Office Manager

Jake Gray

Clinical Research Coordinator

Matthew Coxon

Clinical Research Coordinator

Rona Herzog

Clinical Research Coordinator

Andrea Green

Clinical Research Coordinator

Dr Richard Leather

Dr Richard Leather

BSc., MD, FRCPC, FCCS

 

Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials
Director, Pulse Complete Cardiac Care
Department of Cardiac Services, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Vancouver Island Health Authority
Adult Heart Rhythm Specialist, BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program, Royal Jubilee Hospital

Dr Leather began his medical training in Ontario at Queen’s University in 1980; he has since established himself as a distinguished cardiologist, with appreciable contributions to the progression of the field of Electrophysiology.  He completed his medical residency in London, Ontario, and his cardiology residency in Vancouver, British Columbia, with subsequent research fellowships in both BC and Ontario.  Since 1995, Dr Leather has been affiliated with Island Health and the Royal Jubilee Hospital, where he served as Head of the Pacemaker Clinic as well as Electrophysiology for several years.  He also has worked with the BC Inherited Arrhythmia Program (BCIAP) as the Adult Heart Rhythm Specialist alongside Dr Laura Arbour (Medical Geneticist) since 2016.  Research has always been a central focus in Dr Leather’s career, leading him to found Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials (VCAT) in 2005 along with Dr Laurence Sterns.

Throughout his career, Dr Leather has been involved with over 100 multi-centre trials and registries focused on cardiac abnormalities and conditions and has more than 100 publications to his name.  Results from these studies have had profound impacts on Canadian and international cardiac care.  Dr Leather has also been a member of multiple provincial and national cardiac committees both in the past and currently, including the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society, Cardiac Services BC, and the BC Cardiac Registry: Steering Committee.  From 2005-2008, he was Chief of the Division of Cardiology at the Royal Jubilee Hospital; from 2006-2008 he was Acting Medical Director of the Heart Health Program for the Vancouver Island Health Authority.  Dr Leather has been a recipient of a number of awards and grants for his work during this time, including the Magdy Basta Award from the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society in September 2021, granted to a CHRS member who has made great efforts to support the research of others.

Specific research certifications include Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 (Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects), and Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).

Credentials and Affiliations:

1973-1974 – Bachelor of Science Program, University of British Columbia

1974-1977 – Bachelor of Science (Honours), University of Guelph, Ontario

1984 – Doctor of Medicine, Queen’s University, Ontario

1984 – Licensure Medical Council of Canada (LMCC)

1984 – College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario

1984-1985 – Medicine Internship, University of Western Ontario

1986 – Max Walters Prize in Cardiology

1987 – Max Walters Prize in Cardiology (shared)

1987 – American Board of Internal Medicine – Internal Medicine

1987 – College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia

1987-1989 – Cardiology Resident, University of British Columbia

1988 – Joseph J Diamond Memorial Prize

1988 – Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – Division of Medicine, Internal Medicine

1989 – American Board of Internal Medicine – Cardiovascular Disease

1989 – Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – Division of Cardiology

1989 – Certificate of Competence Cardiology, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

1989-1990 – Clinical Research Fellow Cardiology, British Columbia and Yukon Heart Foundation, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, University of British Columbia

1990-1991 – Clinical Research Fellow Cardiology, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, University of Western Ontario

1991-1994 – Clinical Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

1991-1994 – Director, Cardiac Electrophysiology; Medical Director, Pacemaker Clinic; Assistant Director, Coronary Care Unit; Vancouver General Hospital

1995-2005 – Head, Pacemaker Clinic Royal Jubilee Hospital

1997 – UBC (Victoria) Department of Family Practice – Postgraduate Teaching Award (Teacher of the Year)

2001-2005 – Section Head, Electrophysiology, Royal Jubilee Hospital

2002-2003 – Professional Exchange with Dr Glenn Young, Adelaide, Australia

2004 – Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Vancouver Island Health Authority

2005 – Director, Western Cardiology Associates

2005 – Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials

2005-2008 – Chief Division of Cardiology, Royal Jubilee Hospital – Vancouver Island Health Authority

2006-2008 – Acting Medical Director, Heart Health, Vancouver Island Health Authority

2007 – UBC (Victoria) Department of Family Practice – Postgraduate Teaching Award (Teacher of the Year)

2009 – UBC Postgraduate Program in Cardiology – Best Presentation at Academic Half Day by a Guest Speaker

July 2016 – Affiliate Associate Professor, Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria

2016 – Fellow of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society

2016 – British Columbia Inherited Arrhythmia Program, Adult Heart Rhythm Specialist

2021 - Magdy Basta Award, Canadian Heart Rhythm Society

Dr Paul Novak

Dr Paul Novak

BSc., MD, FRCPC

 

Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials
Director, Pulse Complete Cardiac Care

Dr. Novak’s clinical interests include cardiac rhythm and device management, ablation of complex arrhythmias including atrial, ventricular and supraventricular tachycardias, device management for bradyarrhythmias, tachyarrhythmias, and heart failure. He is also interested in stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation including left atrial appendage closure.

Dr. Novak’s education, memberships and highlights are comprised of the following:

MEDICAL SCHOOL/RESIDENCY/FELLOWSHIP

  • University of Western Ontario /Western University from 1989-1997

INTERNAL MEDICINE

  • University of British Columbia from 1997-2000

CARDIOLOGY

  • University of British Columbia from 2000-2003

CARDIAC ELECTROPHYSIOLOGY

  • University of Montreal/Montreal Heart Institute 2003-2005
  • Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • Canadian Cardiovascular Society
  • Canadian Heart Rhythm Society
  • Heart Rhythm Society

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Canadian Cardiovascular Society Trainee of the year 2002-2003
  • Cardiologist at Vancouver Island Health Authority Since 2005
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Cardiology Qualification Exam Board Examiner (2014-2022) and Executive Member (2018-2022)

 

 

Dr Markus Sikkel

Dr Markus Sikkel

BSc., MBBS, PhD, MRCS, MRCP

 

Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials
Physician Manager, Pulse Complete Cardiac Care
Cardiac Electrophysiologist, Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, Canada
Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Cardiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Adjunct Associate Professor, Division of Medical Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada

Dr Sikkel graduated from the Imperial College School of Medicine in 2004 with a distinction in clinical practice and prizes in medicine, surgery, pharmacology, ophthalmology, and public health.  He attained 1st class honours in his intercalated BSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology.

His postgraduate medical training included comprehensive surgical and medical training with full MRCS qualifications achieved in 2006 and MRCP in 2008.  He began cardiology-specific specialty registrar training in 2009 as an NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow.  This allowed him to attain a Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellowship which he took up within the myocardial function section at Imperial College.  During the course of this fellowship and subsequent research he was awarded several prizes, culminating in the HRS Young Investigator Award in 2017.

Dr Sikkel completed his clinical academic training as a Walport Clinical Lecturer and Devices and Electrophysiology Fellow at Imperial College London in 2017.  He began his Electrophysiology Fellowship with VCAT in 2017, after which he joined both Western Cardiology Associates and the VCAT team as an Investigator.

Dr Sikkel has over 50 PubMed listed publications. He has adjunct appointments at the University of Victoria, UBC and Imperial College London and continues to participate in and lead research studies alongside a busy clinical practice.

Specific research certifications include Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 (Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects), and Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).

Credentials and Affiliations:

2002 – Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Medical Sciences with Pharmacology and Toxicology, Imperial College, UK

2003 – A.H. Bygott Scholarship for Public Health Medicine – awarded by the trustees of the University of London, UK

2004 – Bachelor of Medicine-Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS Honours) with Distinction, Imperial College, UK

2004 – Faculty of Medicine Award (one of eight) for best overall performance in finals, Imperial College, UK

2004 – Duke Elder Prize Examination for Opthamology

2004 – Victor Ludorum Llewellyn Prize for Clinical Pharmacology

2006 – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS), UK

2008 – Member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), UK

2010-2013 – Imperial College Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Training Fellow, UK

2013 – Best Poster Prize, Basic Science Category (European Working Group on Cardiac Cellular Electrophysiology) at EHRA/Europace Annual Meeting

2013 – Best Poster Prize, Basic Science Category (BAS/BSCR), British Cardiovascular Society Annual Meeting, London, UK

2013 – Best Poster Prize, Imperial College Academic Trainees Annual Event, UK

2015 – NHLI Thesis Prize, European Cardiac Arrhythmia Society Annual Meeting

2015 – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Imperial College, UK

2017 – Certified Cardiographic Technician (CCT) in Cardiology, General Medical Council, UK

2017 – Imperial College Clinical Academic Trainee Conference Oral Presentation First Prize, UK

2017 – Heart Rhythm Society Young Investigator Award, Heart Rhythm Society Scientific Sessions, Chicago

2017-2018 – Electrophysiology Fellowship, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials Inc.

2019 – Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – Division of Cardiology

Dr Laurence Sterns

Dr Laurence Sterns

MD, FRCPC, FHRS, FCCS

 

Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials
Director, Pulse Complete Cardiac Care
Head, Electrophysiology Program, Vancouver Island Health Authority
President, Canadian Heart Rhythm Society

Dr Sterns has a longstanding history of excellence in research, starting with his early work as an Electrophysiology Fellow in 1991 in Vancouver, BC, and in Heidelberg, Germany in 1992 and 1993.  This ongoing commitment to research and education has led him to different roles across Canada, including as Assistant Professor of Medicine at Dalhousie University (NS), Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (BC), President of the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society, Head of the Electrophysiology Program and Pacemaker Clinic at the Royal Jubilee Hospital (BC), and the founding of Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials (VCAT) in 2005.

During his time as Director with VCAT, Dr Sterns has participated in over 100 clinical trials as both Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator; he also has had many other independent publications in his 30-year research career.  His work has focused directly on the management of cardiac arrhythmias as well as cardiac implantable devices.  Results from these studies have directly helped shape patient care both in Canada as well as internationally.

Specific research certifications include Good Clinical Practices (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 (Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects), and Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS 2).

Credentials and Affiliations:

1983 – Bachelor of Medical Science with Distinction, University of Alberta

1986 – Doctor of Medicine with Distinction, University of Alberta

1991 – Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada – Internal Medicine and Cardiology

1991-1993 – Electrophysiology Fellowship, Vancouver, BC and Heidelberg, Germany

1994-1997 – Assistant Professor of Medicine, Dalhousie University

1997 – Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of British Columbia

1997 – Royal Jubilee Hospital

1997 – Director, Western Cardiology Associates

2005 – Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials

2016 – Chair, Canadian Heart Rhythm Society Device Committee

2020 – President of Canadian Heart Rhythm Society

Dr Michael Thibert

Dr Michael Thibert

Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials
Director, Pulse Complete Cardiac Care
Co-Director, Electrophysiology Fellowship Program, Victoria Site

 

Dr. Michael Thibert is a Clinical Adult Cardiac Electrophysiologist specializing in the diagnosis and management of complex heart rhythm disorders. This includes diagnosis and management of supraventricular arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation/flutter, premature ventricular contractions, and ventricular tachycardia. He has advanced training in complex ablation procedures with specific research and procedural expertise in the management of premature ventricular contractions and ventricular tachycardia. He also has advanced training in complex arrhythmia mapping, ablation of atrial arrhythmias, and the use of intracardiac echocardiography (ICE). Additionally, he performs implantation of cardiac devices including pacemakers, ICDs, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and conduction system pacing.

Dr. Thibert has a clinical research interest in premature ventricular contractions and complex ventricular arrhythmia ablation. He is also passionate about medical education and is currently Co-Director of the Victoria Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship with Dr. van Zyl. He has multiple peer reviewed publications and has presented at national meetings.

Dr. Michael Thibert is originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario where he completed an Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology Degree at Lakehead University (2011) and medical education at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (2015). He then went to Vancouver to complete Internal Medicine (2018) and Cardiology Residency (2021) at University of British Columbia where he served as Chief Internal Medicine Resident and Chief Cardiology Resident. He has completed a two-year Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (2023) where he served as Chief Electrophysiology Fellow and was the Member-in-Training Representative for the Canadian Heart Rhythm Society. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Vered-Beanlands Clinical Research Fellowship. He has an Area of Focused Competence (AFC) in Adult Clinical Electrophysiology certification by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (2023). He moved to Victoria in 2023 to join the Pulse Complete Cardiac Care practice.

Dr Martin van Zyl

Dr Martin van Zyl

MD: Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine & Cardiology

 

Director, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials
Director, Pulse Complete Cardiac Care
Co-Director, Electrophysiology Fellowship Program, Victoria Site

 

Dr. Martin van Zyl is a Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist specializing in the diagnosis and management of heart rhythm disorders. He has expertise in invasive and non-invasive therapy for atrial and ventricular arrhythmias. This includes lifestyle, pharmacological, and complex ablative treatment for atrial fibrillation, supraventricular tachycardia, premature ventricular complexes, and ventricular tachycardia. He has training and extensive experience in using intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) to improve safety and efficacy through real-time catheter guidance during complex ablation procedures. He also performs implantation of cardiac devices including pacemakers, implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs), conduction system pacing, and cardiac resynchronization devices.

Dr. van Zyl grew up on Vancouver Island where he completed primary school as well as undergraduate training. He obtained his medical degree with first class honours from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in 2014 with prizes in medicine, pathology, pediatrics, and research. His postgraduate medical training was completed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in Internal Medicine (2017), Cardiology (2020), and Cardiac Electrophysiology (2022). He completed his American Board of Internal Medicine specialty examinations and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Cardiology. He moved to Victoria in 2022 to join the Pulse Complete Cardiac Care practice.

During his training at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. van Zyl engaged in basic and translational research focused on cardiac electrophysiology. He has a special research interest in novel ablation energies for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias including pulsed field ablation or electroporation. He has been involved in innovation, catheter/device design, and has filed intellectual property for several inventions. He has over 30 peer reviewed publications and has given multiple presentations at national and international meetings.

Dr Jovita Dwivedi

Dr Jovita Dwivedi

 

Electrophysiology Fellow, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials

Dr. Jovita Dwivedi is a Cardiologist from Brisbane, Australia. She obtained her medical degree with Honours at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. She undertook general Cardiology training in Brisbane at Princess Alexandra and Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospitals. Subsequently, she completed a Pacing and Electrophysiology fellowship at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle.

Dr. Dwivedi is an associate lecturer with the University of Queensland and during her training completed a Master of Medicine in Clinical Epidemiology with the University of Sydney. She has published in several international peer reviewed journals and presented her work at national conferences.

Dr. Dwivedi has a particular interest in atrial fibrillation ablation techniques and was fortunate enough to partake in a pilot randomised control trial for the comparison of Arctic FrontTM Cryoballoon to the PolarxTM Cryoablation system. She has also participated in performing pulsed field ablation (PFA) cases with the FarapulseTM PFA system during her fellowship in Newcastle.

 

Dr Catherine O'Shea

Dr Catherine O'Shea

 

Electrophysiology Fellow, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials

Bio coming soon!

 

May Woodburn

May Woodburn

BComm

 

Manager, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials

May Woodburn is the office manager at VCAT.  She has received training in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 (Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects), and Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2).

Jake Gray

Jake Gray

BSc.

 

Clinical Research Coordinator, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials 

Jake graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science in 2022 with a research focus in organic chemistry, and the synthesis of stable-radical compounds.  Upon graduation he began working at a long-term care facility doing on site COVID-19 testing and screening, before joining VCAT in April of 2022.  His interest in science and the human condition have led him to aspire to a career in medicine.  Jake enjoys cooking, hiking the scenic trails of Vancouver Island, weightlifting, and training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He has received training in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 (Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects), and Tri-Council Policy Statement: Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans (TCPS2).

Matthew Coxon

Matthew Coxon

BSc.

 

Clinical Research Coordinator, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials 

Matthew graduated from the University of Victoria with a Bachelor of Science in 2019 with a focus in organic chemistry, specifically in the synthesis of calixarene molecules to combat cancer.  Matthew also completed a Minor in Applied Ethics and has a keen interest in the ethics of healthcare and how best to support patients in a safe and ethical manner.  Upon graduation, he later went on to pursue his Master of Science with a focus on observing health behaviors among adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  Combining his background and his interest in healthcare, Matthew hopes to provide exceptional care to patients in need.  Matthew enjoys walks and hikes with his dog, biking throughout Victoria, and playing and watching soccer.  Joining VCAT in July 2022 as a Clinical Research Coordinator, he has received training in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 – Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects, and Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans Course on Research Ethics (TCPS 2: CORE).

Rona Herzog

Rona Herzog

BSc.

 

Clinical Research Coordinator, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials 

Rona graduated from the University of British Columbia in May 2021, completing a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a minor in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice. Throughout her undergraduate degree, Rona worked in several clinical and research environments spanning from spinal cord injuries to cardiovascular physiology. Upon graduating, Rona worked as the Instructional Assistant for the Department of Kinesiology at Langara College. These experiences have furthered her interest in working in the community to promote research and patient-centered health care practices. In her free time, Rona enjoys discovering new spots to run and bike on the island. Rona joined VCAT in April 2023 as a Clinical Research Coordinator. She has received training in Good Clinical Practice (GCP), Health Canada Division 5 – Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects, and Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans Course on Research Ethics (TCPS 2: CORE).  

Andrea Green

Andrea Green

RN

 

Registered Nurse
Clinical Research Coordinator, Victoria Cardiac Arrhythmia Trials 

Andrea is currently trained in: Good Clinical Practice (GCP); Ethical Conduct for Research involving Humans Course on Research Ethics (TCPS2: CORE); Part C Div 5 of the Canadian Food & Drug Regulations, and Health Canada Division 5 – Drugs for Clinical Trials Involving Human Subjects.  She is also a registered nurse with the BC College of Nurses and Midwives.