Knowledge Synthesis Group

Group Director

Brian Hutton
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Dr. Hutton is a Senior Scientist with the OHRI's Clinical Epidemiology Program, Director of the Knowledge Synthesis Group and an Assistant Professor within the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Epidemiology and Community Medicine. His primary research interests currently lie in the realm of network meta-analysis, systematic reviews and other forms of evidence synthesis. He is a leader in the OHRI's CIHR-funded knowledge synthesis group which conducts network meta-analysis research projects for the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Network, and also holds several current research grants as Nominated PI involving evaluations of therapies for opioid use disorder, chronic rhinosinusitus, Meniere’s Disease, Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss, and Prevention and Treatment of Delirium in the ICU. Dr. Hutton was a 2013 recipient of a 5-year New Investigator Award from CIHR for his plans to expand applications of network meta-analysis in the area of drug safety. He has also led the development of the extension of the PRISMA extension statement for reporting of network meta-analyses, published in 2015. Dr. Hutton also contributes time to the Ottawa Hospital Methods Center and Ottawa Regional Cancer Center in the roles of methodologist and biostatistician. His past research includes works in the realms of oncology, transfusion medicine, infectious diseases, mental health and a variety of other clinical fields.

The Research Team

The Knowledge Synthesis (KS) group is comprised of a talented group of professionals with expertise in various disciplines including epidemiology, medicine, pharmacology, statistics, and other health and behaviours sciences.  Dr. Hutton and the KS Group team have published more than 60 knowledge syntheses and more than 50 articles concerning knowledge synthesis methodology over the past five years. Thus, the KS Group has been instrumental in generating empirical evidence to inform the appropriate conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and is recognized around the world for their work.

Come meet the team......

Our Team

Pauline Barbeau
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Pauline Barbeau joined the Knowledge Synthesis Group as a Clinical Research Associate in 2014. She received both her Honours Bachelor of Health Science (HBSc.) and her Master of Science (MSc) in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. Pauline has interests in the methodological aspects and conduct of systematic reviews as well as the topic of reporting guidelines. Most recently, Pauline’s work has focused on systematic reviews of drug safety and effectiveness, and she also recently helped lead the KS Group’s efforts in helping to update the Canadian guideline for Parkinson’s Disease.

Andrew Beck
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Andrew is a Research Associate with the Knowledge Synthesis Group, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is currently working as a Review Coordinator for the Evidence Review Synthesis Centre of the Public Health Agency of Canada. He earned his MA in Health & Aging from McMaster University in 2013, where he completed a qualitative research project exploring housing and health. In 2013, Andrew was a trainee with the Population Health Intervention Research Network, a Canadian Institutes for Health Research funded training initiative in health research. He received his BA (Hons) from the University of Toronto in Sociology and Criminology. Andrew has led systematic reviews, clinical trials, and qualitative projects in a broad range of topics with the Clinical Epidemiology Program and clinician researchers.
Dr. Wei Cheng
Dr. Wei Cheng
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Dr. Wei Cheng completed his Ph.D. in Biostatistics under the supervision of Drs Constantine Gatsonis, Thomas Trikalinos, and Christopher Schmid at Brown University. He is a senior methodologist with the Knowledge Synthesis Group. During his period as a post-doctoral fellow, Wei worked on evidence synthesis projects with Dr. Brian Hutton focused in the area of network meta-analysis, while also being involved in collaborative projects of other topics within the Ottawa Methods Centre. His research interests include evidence synthesis methods (especially network meta-analysis), systematic reviews of diagnostic accuracy studies, health economic evaluation, clinical trial designs, and various statistical topics such as Bayesian inference and computation, generalized linear mixed models and validation of prediction models.
Kelly Cobey
Kelly Cobey
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Kelly Cobey serves as the OHRI Publications Officer. In this capacity she provides one-on-one consulting to researchers internal and external to the organization on topics including: open science, scientific writing, peer review, and publication metrics. She obtained her PhD in Psychology (University of Groningen, The Netherlands), and has an MSc in Biology (University of Liverpool, England), and BSc in Psychology and Biology (McMaster University, Canada). Kelly has an Adjunct Professor appointment within the School of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Ottawa. Prior to her current post she worked as a Lecturer at The University of Stirling (Scotland) and held a Fyssen Research Fellowship (France).

Raymond Daniels
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Raymond Daniel has been an Assistant Information Specialist with the Knowledge Synthesis Group (UO-EPC) since 2004. He supplies support in database management and document procurement for knowledge synthesis projects. Raymond holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature from Carleton University as well as a Library and Information Technician Diploma from Algonquin College. As well as providing database and document retrieval services, Raymond’s past work also includes assisting with Evidence-Based Librarianship investigations regarding database search sources, and updating of systematic reviews.
Leila Esmaelisaraji
Leila Esmaelisaraji
Leila Esmaeilisaraji joined the knowledge Synthesis Group as a Clinical Research Assistant in 2016. She earned her degree in Medicine from the Azad University in Iran and worked as physician in family medicine for four years. While in Iran, Leila contributed to several studies, contribution to her passion for research. After immigrating to Canada, she continued to train and develop her skills in research methodology at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. In April 2016, her longitudinal study on Levothyroxine dosage requirement during pregnancy in well-controlled hypothyroid women was published in the Global Journal of Health Science, Canadian Centre of Science and Education. Leila has been involved in several of the KS Group’s ongoing systematic reviews including an overview of systematic reviews regarding preventable adverse drug reactions as well as systematic reviews related to different forms of hearing loss (currently funded by CIHR). She is also currently working on a large systematic review studying the benefits associated with different forms of psychosocial therapy for treatment of opioid use disorder.

Chantelle Garritty
613-737-8899 x73931 (
Chantelle Garritty is the Scientific Lead of the Rapid Reviews Program as part of the Knowledge Synthesis Group at OHRI. Chantelle has several years of experience managing national and international research endeavours, and has been involved in guiding various knowledge syntheses and related methods projects. In her role with the Rapid Reviews Program, she has worked closely with several health care decision-making organizations providing rapid evidence synthesis services in addition to providing training and education on the conduct of rapid reviews. Currently, she is Co-Convenor and Administrative Coordinator of the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group. Previous international research involvement includes positions with the University of Ottawa Evidence-based Practice Centre (AHRQ designated), the Cochrane Bias Methods Group (OHRI), the Cochrane Back Review Group (Institute for Work & Health, Toronto), and with the WHO Collaborating Centre Task Force on Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (University of Saskatchewan/ Karolinska Institute, Sweden). Chantelle holds a MSc in Public Health and a graduate degree in Neuropsychological Assessment and Counselling (Institute of Child Study), both from the University of Toronto. She is currently completing her PhD at the University of Split, School of Medicine (Croatia). Present research interests include rapid review methodologies and optimal formats to maximize uptake of evidence by decision-makers; methods related to updating systematic reviews, evidence mapping and scoping reviews; and the use of online collaborative tools in knowledge synthesis production. She is also interested in approaches to patient oriented research and mechanisms for patient engagement.
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Candyce Hamel
613-737-8899 x 73586 (
Candyce Hamel is a Senior Clinical Research Associate with the KS group. Her research interests include health and nutrition, systematic reviews, and childhood malnutrition. She received her Master of Science in e-Business technologies from the University of Ottawa and her Bachelor of Commerce in Decision Science and Management Information Systems from Concordia University, in Montreal. In recent years, Candyce’s research with the KS Group has involved reviews regarding esophageal cancer and depression for the team’s ongoing relationship with the Canadian Task Force for Preventive Healthcare, as well as other initiatives related to both rapid reviews and evaluations of drug safety and effectiveness.
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Mona Hersi
613-737-8899 x 73921 (
Mona Hersi obtained a Master’s of Science (MSc) degree in Epidemiology from the University of Ottawa. As a researcher at the McLaughlin Centre for Population Health Risk Assessment, Mona had the opportunity to lead a series of reviews aimed at identifying etiological and prognostic factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These knowledge synthesis activities were completed as a component of the National Population Health Study of Neurological Conditions. During her time with the Knowledge Synthesis Group, Mona has been involved in rapid review projects as well as systematic reviews related to drug safety and effectiveness.

Tina Hutchinson
613-737-8899 x 70020 (
Tina Hutchinson is a Clinical Research Coordinator with the KS Group. Tina brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in project organization and support. Tina is heavily involved in various grant activities including the pre-award grant process. Tina assists the Institute's researchers that interact with the wider research community in Ottawa and beyond. Tina holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University. She has been supporting researchers and research programs for over 12 years. She has worked at The Ottawa Heart Institute Research Corporation, The Ottawa Hospital Centre for Rehabilitation Research & Development and at The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

David Moher (PhD)
613-737-8899 x79424 (
Dr. Moher is a Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is also an Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa, where he also holds a University Research Chair. Dr. Moher has published more than 600 peer-reviewed articles which have been cited more than 100,000 times; his h-index is 118 (Google Scholar). He has been recognized several times as one of the most highly influential biomedical researchers – Clarivate Analytics Highly Cited Researchers (Medicine and Social Medicine). Dr. Moher is a member of the Advisory Board for the International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication as well as a member of editorial boards of several journals. Dr. Moher is a member of the Knowledge Synthesis Group and directs the Centre for Journalology ( Systematic reviews have been a focal point for much for Dr. Moher’s professional career. The Centre for Journalology works on service, education and research related to open science.
Vera Pečurica
Vera Pečurica
613-737-8899 x 73846 (
Vera joined the KS Group in 2017 as a Research Administrative Assistant. She provides a wide range of administrative support to Drs. Moher and Hutton as well as direction to administrative and financial functions within the KS Group. In addition to her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of New Brunswick, Vera has a college degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Algonquin College. Vera has over 15 years of experience in not-for-profit operations management and has a keen interest in science.

Misty Pratt
613-737-8899 x 73925 (
Misty Pratt graduated with a Master in Environmental Studies (MES) from York University. Her area of research was environmental education, and she completed her thesis in 2006. Prior to her current position with the Knowledge Synthesis Group, Misty worked as a research assistant for Dr. Dawn Stacey, in the field of patient decision aids. Misty’s work of recent years within the KS Group has revolved around the group’s ongoing research has involved systematic reviews and signal detection work related to topics in the field of complementary medicine.

Kusala Pussegoda
Kusala completed her MSc in Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia in 2012. She previously worked with the Canadian Cochrane Centre to develop continuing medical education resources for clinicians. Kusala is currently a Research Assistant/Coordinator with the KS group. Since joining the KS group in 2012, she has been involved with the Cochrane Bias Methods Group and has assisted on several systematic reviews.
Danielle Rice
613-737-8899 x 73930 (
Danielle Rice joined the Knowledge Synthesis Group in 2017 as a visiting fellow. Danielle is currently completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology at McGill University and was awarded a Vanier Graduate Scholarship to support this work. Danielle has experience conducting systematic reviews and scoping reviews focused on individuals with chronic health conditions. Her work with the KS Group has focused on conducting systematic reviews and supporting the development of core outcome sets for research related to mental health and addictions.
Bev Shea
613-737-8899 x 73853 (
Dr. Shea has been involved in the production of more than 40 systematic Reviews. More recently, she has contributed to the creation of new knowledge in the field of quality assessment and qualitative data analysis. This includes the development of quality assessment instruments for assessing systematic reviews, most recently the AMSTAR-2 tool (PMID: 28935701). She is an editor for the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group, and co-convenor for the Cochrane non-randomized methods working group. She is a Clinical Scientist at the Bruyère Research Institute, Senior Methodologist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute, and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Adrienne Stevens
Dr. Adrienne Stevens is a Clinical Research Manager with the Knowledge Synthesis Group and received her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Split School of Medicine, Croatia. She provides methodological leadership, consultation, and training. She serves as the Scientific Lead for the Ottawa Evidence Review Synthesis Centre that supports the development of guidelines for the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care. She is also an active Co-Convenor for the Cochrane Rapid Reviews Methods Group. Activities across her nearly 20-year career include research service to various end users such as guideline developers and policy decision-makers and in leading Cochrane Canada's systematic review training program. Methodological research interests include systematic reviews, rapid reviews, and guideline development. She works remotely from Waterloo, Ontario.

Kednapa Thavorn
613-737-8899 x 72330 (
Dr. Thavorn is a scientist and a health economist with the Ottawa Methods Centre and is also a senior methodologist with the Knowledge Synthesis Group. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Pharmacy from Thailand and completed Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), University of Toronto. She completed two post-doctoral fellowship programs, including Applied Pharmacoeconomics from the Li KaShing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital and Health Services Research from IHPME, University of Toronto. Her research focuses on topics surrounding health economics, pharmacoepidemiology, systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
Micere Thuku
Micere Thuku
Micere Thuku is currently a Research Assistant with the KS group and the Bruyère Research Institute. She has been involved in systematic reviews and community development projects since 2009. Micere's educational background is in Information Systems, and she is currently completing a Masters’ degree in Health Informatics to merge her enthusiasm for both health research and information technology. Her interests lie with community development and empowerment through evidence based interventions, training and technology.
Sasha van Katwyk
Sasha van Katwyk
Sasha van Katwyk is a Junior Health Economist with the Knowledge Synthesis Group. He earned a master’s in public policy, specializing in risk and vulnerability assessment, from Maastricht University, and a bachelor’s in economics at Mount Allison University. He completed a one-year fellowship at the Economic Policy Research Institute where he specialized in social protection’s affect on social determinants of health.
Dianna Wolfe
Dianna Wolfe
Dr. Wolfe is a licenced Veterinarian, with a PhD in Epidemiology, and has been with Knowledge Synthesis Group as a Research Associate for four years. Dianna worked in private veterinary practice for 12 years before returning to the University of Guelph to obtain an MSc and PhD in Epidemiology. Her past research focus has been broad, from infectious disease epidemiology in cattle in Ireland to knowledge translation in the food safety system in Canada. She has experience in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Dianna previously worked with colleagues at the University of Guelph, Iowa State University, and York University (UK), conducting scoping reviews and systematic reviews on topics related to food safety and animal health and welfare for the European Food Safety Authority. With the KS Group her research is focused upon systematic reviews related to drug safety and effectiveness.

Fatemeh Yazdi
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Fatemeh Yazdi is a Senior Research Associate with the Knowledge Synthesis Group since 2004. She has led several EPC reports including CAM Back Pain II, Management of Febrile Infants and Dietary Supplements in Adults taking CV drugs. Ms. Yazdi obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree (Physiotherapy) from the School of Rehabilitation at Tehran University and a Masters (MSc) in Anatomy/Human Kinetics from the University of Ottawa. Fatemeh has extensive experience in gait and motion analysis, and in gait rehabilitation of spinal cord and stroke victims. Much of her work with the KS Group is focused on systematic reviews evaluating drug safety and effectiveness.