Simran Deo is a Research Assistant and Finance Manager at Hearts In Rhythm – Inherited Heart Rhythm Research at St. Paul’s Hospital. Simran completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, with distinction, at the University of British Columbia in 2022.
Cardiology is a field that Simran has been drawn to from a very young age, and she recalls spending a lot of her childhood at the local pediatric hospital, alongside her family, as they navigated her younger brother’s congenital heart defect diagnosis and related complications. She knew early on that she wanted to be involved in the field of cardiology and help support other patients and families who experienced similar challenges to her own.
While completing her Biology degree at the University of British Columbia, Simran was fortunate to begin her involvement in clinical research through the BC Children’s INSPIRE program – a unique opportunity for students to gain training and practical experiences in clinical research. Here, she was awarded the UBC Faculty of Medicine Summer Student Research Program Award in 2021 to further support her work as a clinical research coordinator for a study in women’s reproductive health, and improving postoperative pain outcomes. These experiences allowed her to hone her clinical research and patient-facing skills, while being able to explore disciplines beyond cardiology.
Upon conferring her Bachelor of Science degree in 2022, Simran had the opportunity to join the Hearts in Rhythm Organization (HiRO) as a Research Assistant and Finance Manager. In this role, Simran has collaborated with a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, nurses, genetic counsellors, researchers, patients & family partners, to improve the detection and care of inherited cardiac conditions (ICCs).
Beyond managing HiRO’s finances, Simran works closely with the Coordinating Centre in Vancouver, led by Dr. Andrew Krahn, to facilitate the distribution of genetic testing kits to BC patients and HiRO sites across Canada, and consolidate the National HiRO Registry & Biobank. The clinical and genetic data collected by the National HiRO Registry drives many retrospective research studies both within Canada and some internationally, to better understand ICCs and improve care practices. Additionally, Simran has been able to work closely with different groups of experts and facilitate venues for knowledge translation as well as support logistics for the annual HiRO Symposium, promoting dialogue amongst researchers, clinicians, and patients!
A recent HiRO project Simran has been involved with, led by Samantha Afonso– a genetic counsellor at Unity Health in Toronto, is the development of a sudden cardiac arrest resource for patient survivors, which outlines general care pathways, care providers, daily-life impacts, and mental health support. This resource is on the cusp of completion and will be shared at several ICC clinics across Canada to support affected patients.
Alongside HiRO, Simran also supports the work of the BC Frequent Premature Ventricular Complexes (BC PVC) Registry, led by Dr. Marc Deyell. In this role, Simran regularly meets with patients experiencing PVCs and connects them with the study to better understand this condition and fill gaps of knowledge.
When discussing what she likes most about being a CHAT Member, Simran shared “being a CANet CHAT member has enriched my journey in inherited cardiac condition research by connecting me with a dynamic and multidisciplinary community of individuals ranging from clinicians and researchers to allied health professionals. The opportunity to attend conferences to learn and network with such diverse groups has allowed me to broaden my perspectives and supported my personal growth as a researcher. There are several invaluable resources & opportunities offered through CANet CHAT, and I have truly enjoyed the ability to explore various facets of cardiology while reinforcing the importance of patient engagement in research practices.”
Simran is a proud recipient of the 2022 CANet HQP Symposium 2nd Place Poster Award in the General Interest/Allied Health Category for her poster analyzing the National Hearts in Rhythm Organization Registry’s knowledge translation efficacy and proposed frameworks to increase dissemination amongst inherited heart condition experts & patients! Simran will be attending the upcoming Expert Knowledge Exchange taking place in Montreal Quebec, where she will present her poster titled “ICC Gene Variant Interpretations in the National Hearts in Rhythm Organization (HiRO) Registry & Biobank”.
Outside of Simran’s professional accomplishments and passions, she is an avid volunteer and has been actively involved in such endeavors since the age of 15! Simran is a Food Insecurity Advocate with Backpack Buddies, an organization that provides children from BC food insecure homes with weekend meals; a Senior Care Facility Physiotherapy & Exercise Volunteer (Brock Fahrni Pavilion); a Volunteer Resources Office Assistant at Surrey Memorial Hospital; a Special Events Volunteer with Make-a-Wish; and an Outreach and Logistics Executive for a Non-Profit that works with students and recent graduates to consolidate an online database of mental health resources available in the lower mainland (British Columbia)!
Additionally, Simran enjoys painting, baking treats for her family and friends, running or weight training, and spending time in nature either through hikes or long walks by the beach.