Our Team

Senior Physicians:

Alexandra Popma, MDExecutive Director of the CRF Clinical Trials Center (CTC).
As Executive Director, she is responsible for the strategic direction, management, and operational aspects of the CTC. A distinguished researcher with over 20 years of experience, Dr. Popma comes to CRF from The Baim Institute for Clinical Research, a full-service nonprofit academic research organization in Boston, where she served as Chief Operating Officer. Prior to CRF, she was also the Director of the Cardiovascular Imaging Core Laboratory at Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Under her leadership, the core laboratory developed innovative methods for the analyses of cardiovascular imaging to better understand the outcomes of patients undergoing new device therapy. She received her medical degree from University del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia.

Ziad A. Ali, MD, DPhilDirector, Angiographic Core Laboratory , CRF Clinical Trials Center
He is Associate Director of Translational Medicine at the Center for Interventional Vascular Therapy at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. He is also the Victoria and Esther Aboodi Cardiology Researcher at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He received his medical degree from the University of Sheffield and doctorate in cardiovascular medicine from the University of Oxford. Dr. Ali fulfilled a residency in internal medicine and fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. He also served as Chief Fellow in cardiovascular intervention at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Daniel Burkhoff, MD, PhDDirector, Heart Failure, Hemodynamics and MCS Research, CRF Clinical Trials Center
He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University. A world-renowned expert in heart failure and hemodynamics, Dr. Burkhoff collaborates on heart failure research initiatives across all divisions of CRF. Dr. Burkhoff is author of Harvi, an interactive simulation-based application for teaching and researching many aspects of ventricular mechanics and hemodynamics. Dr. Burkhoff works with the CRF Center for Education to develop novel curricula using Harvi in educational programs for practicing physicians, fellows, and medical students around the world.

Dr. Burkhoff’s interests include cardiovascular modeling and research in basic and clinical aspects of ventricular mechanics, cardiovascular monitoring, heart failure, device and pharmacologic treatments for heart failure, including left ventricular assist devices. He was instrumental in the creation of the CRF Skirball Center for Innovation, and served as Director when it opened in 2005. Before returning to CRF, he was Vice President of Medical Science for HeartWare International. Previously, he served as Medical Director of CircuLite. He received his medical and doctor of philosophy degrees from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and completed his cardiology fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dan may be contacted at dburkhoff@crf.org.

Jose M. Dizon, MD is Director of the ECG Core Laboratory at the CRF Clinical Trials Center. He is a practicing cardiologist and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Dr. Dizon's area of clinical expertise is cardiac arrhythmia management, including ablation of arrhythmias and device therapy. He received his medical degree from Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Dizon completed his internship and residency at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and cardiology and electrophysiology fellowships at Columbia University Medical Center.

Rebecca T. Hahn, MDDirector, Echocardiography Core Laboratory, CRF Clinical Trials Center
She is currently the Director of Interventional Echocardiography at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center and is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Hahn is a leading authority in the field of echocardiography. For the last 15 years, she has served as Course Director for the Annual State-of-the-Art Echo Course which trains and educates health care professionals on established and new recommendations of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). Previously, she directed the Echocardiography Lab at North Shore University Hospital and prior to that, was the Director of Clinical Echocardiography at Cornell University. Dr. Hahn received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and completed her internship, residency, and fellowship at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.

Omar K. Khalique, MD, FACC, FASE, FSCCT, FSCMR - Director, Structural CT Core Lab
Dr. Khalique is the Director of Multimodality Cardiac Imaging in the Structural Heart and Valve Center and an assistant professor in medicine at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons specializing in non-invasive imaging of valvular and structural heart disease.

Dr. Khalique is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, echocardiography, and cardiac computed tomography.

Dr. Khalique attended Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA. He did his internal medicine residency and his Cardiology fellowship at Westchester Medical Center of New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY. Following this, he did an advanced echocardiography and computed cardiac tomography fellowship, followed by further training in interventional and valvular echocardiography at Columbia University Medical Center. He received additional training in cardiac magnetic resonance at NYP/Cornell Hospital.

Akiko Maehara, MDDirector, Intravascular Imaging Core Laboratory and MRI Core Laboratory, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Dr. Maehara is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City and has authored numerous papers related to cardiovascular interventions and the use of intravascular ultrasound. She received her medical degree in 1993 from Yamaguchi University School of Medicine in Yamaguchi, Japan, and is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology by the Japanese Society of Internal Medicine and Japanese Society of Cardiology. Dr. Maehara completed her clinical fellowship at the Toranomon Hospital in Tokyo, Japan, and a cardiovascular fellowship at the Cardiovascular Center at Toranomon Hospital. In 2000, Dr. Maehara finished a research fellowship in cardiovascular interventions at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California, with an additional fellowship year at the Cardiovascular Research Institute of the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC.

Abdellaziz Dahou, MD, PhDMedical Director, Echocardiography Core Laboratory, CRF Clinical
Trials Center

Dr. Dahou is currently the Medical Director of the Echocardiography Core laboratory at Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF) and he served previously as the Associate Medical Director of the Echo lab at the same institution. He was also member at Echo Core lab at Quebec Heart and Lung Institute (Quebec, Canada) for many years where he participated in several clinical trials including Partner 2 - Sapien 3 registry and Partner 3. Dr. Dahou received his medical degree from University of Algiers (Algeria) and completed his residency in cardiology at Strasbourg University Hospitals (France) where he obtained his diploma in Cardiology and cardiovascular diseases and his certification in echocardiography, followed by 2 years of clinical cardiology (staff cardiologist). Dr. Dahou obtained also a Master’s Degree (MSc.) and a Doctorate (Ph. D.) in Experimental Medicine/Clinical Research from Laval University (Quebec, Canada) focused on valvular diseases.

David J. Cohen, MD, Msc – is currently Director of Clinical and Outcomes Research at the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (New York, NY) and Director of Academic Affairs at St. Francis Hospital (Roslyn, NY). Previously, he was Professor of Medicine at the University of Missouri–Kansas City and Director of Cardiovascular Research and Medical Director of Health Economics and Technology Assessment at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, where he continues to direct the Health Economics and Technology Assessment Group. Dr. Cohen earned his M.D. at Harvard Medical School and his Masters degree in Health Policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. He did his clinical training at Brigham and Women's Hospital and was a clinical and research fellow in cardiology at Beth Israel Hospital for five years. Dr. Cohen is a practicing interventional cardiologist with a focus on structural and valvular heart disease. His research focuses on the application of formal cost-effectiveness methodology to novel interventions for cardiovascular disease (CVD), the extension of traditional cardiovascular outcomes research to include patient-centered outcomes, and the development and evaluation of instruments for assessing CVD patients’ health status and preferences. Dr. Cohen has published more than 500 original articles in leading journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, JAMA, Circulation, and the Journal of the American College. Dr. Cohen serves on the editorial board for the American Heart Journal, JACC Interventions, and Circulation and reviews for the American Journal of Cardiology, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and Medical Decision Making.

Ioanna Kosmidou, MD PhD, EP services at the CRF Clinical Trials Center. She is a practicing cardiologist and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr Kosmidou received her medical degree from Patras University School of Medicine and PhD from Athens University School of Medicine, Greece. She completed cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology fellowships at Emory University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

CTC Management

Ovidiu Dressler, MDAssociate Director of Clinical Programming, CRF Clinical Trial Center
Ovidiu Dressler oversees the SAS programming group and construction of internal databases for the Angiographic and Intravascular Imaging core laboratories. Prior to joining CRF he worked as an associate professor of pathophysiology at the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Timisoara, Romania, where he also received his medical degree. During his teaching career, he specialized in the field of basic cardiovascular research and completed his residency in nuclear medicine.

Katharine GarciaDirector, Administration, CRF Clinical Trials Center 
Katharine joined CRF in 2005 and is responsible for all operational activities in the Administration and Data Entry department, including resource allocation, budget review, and strategic planning. She is responsible for the direct oversight of all incoming medias and data entry for all departments under the Clinical Trials Center. Prior to joining CRF, Katharine worked at NYC Physical Therapy and Pain Management, which treated more than 200 patients a day, where she oversaw 15 employees. She received a bachelor of arts degree in forensic psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Cecilia Jade (CJ) Hart Manager, Data Management, CRF Clinical Trials Center, Cecilia is responsible for the daily oversight of the progress and quality of all data management deliverables and activities. Cecilia earned a bachelor of science degree in public health and has been with CRF since July 2007.

Ozgu Issever Director, Biostatistics and Data Management, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Ozgu is responsible for managing the statistical and data management functions for sponsored clinical trials. Prior to joining CRF in 2015, she worked as a clinical statistician at Boehringer Ingelheim and taught statistical methods classes during her graduate studies. Ozgu holds a Bachelor of Science degree in statistics from Middle East Technical University in Turkey and a Master of Science degree in statistics from the University of Georgia.

Ivana Jankovic, MDSenior Director, Core Lab Operations, CRF Clinical Trials Center 
Ivana is responsible for managing project portfolios, including maintaining timelines and budgets and achieving target revenue/financial growth objectives, as well as day-to-day operational aspects of many multi-service projects within the CTC. Ivana has several years of core lab and project management experience and has managed multiple phase I-IV clinical studies. Prior to joining CRF, Ivana worked as a project manager for the Yale Cardiovascular Research Group of the Yale University School of Medicine. Ivana holds a medical degree from Belgrade University School of Medicine in Serbia.

Mitsuaki MatsumuraAssociate Director, Intravascular Imaging, Physiology, and MRI Core Laboratories, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Mitsuaki is responsible for managing the activities of the lntravascular Imaging, Physiology, and MRI Core Laboratories. He acts as the point-person for sponsors, reporting project status to physician directors, maintaining proper documents, approving paperwork, assigning work, training new staff, and overseeing trial management from start to end. Prior to joining CRF, he worked as a radiology technician at Japanese Red Cross Kobe Hospital and Hyogo Emergency Medical Center in Hyogo, Japan, and did a fellowship at CRF/Columbia University Medical Center in New York. He is a graduate of Nagoya University School of Health Sciences with a Bachelor of Science degree in radiological technology.

Business Development

Project Management

Ecaterina PrepelitaManager of Project Management, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Ecaterina joined CRF in 2011 and is responsible for a wide-ranging portfolio of projects with the Clinical Trials Center. Previously a manager in the CTC data administration department, she is able to apply that experience and understanding to her project management role by keeping internal and external communications flowing. She tracks progress, benchmarks resources and budgets making sure each project is progressing efficiently and smoothly. Ecaterina earned a combined bachelor's and master’s degree in Philosophy and Political Science from the St. Petersburg State University, Russia.

Hiral PatelSenior Project Manager, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Hiral joined CRF in 2017 and is responsible for leading the development of project related deliverables, manages project budgets and serves as the point of contact for sponsors. Prior to coming to CRF, Hiral worked as a Project Director at Montefiore Medical Center for the Division of General Internal Medicine in which she worked closely with recruitment efforts in an underserved population. Hiral attended Long Island University where she received her undergraduate degree in Biology and her Masters of Public Health.

Austin Westermann, MBAProject Manager, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Austin joined CRF in 2019 and is responsible for managing studies within the CTC and overseeing the development of all project-related deliverables. Prior to joining CRF, Austin worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator for NYU Winthrop in its Cancer Clinical Trials Center. Austin received her BA in communication through McDaniel College and has an MBA in healthcare management from Southern New Hampshire University.

Anima Chowdhury Associate Project Manager, CRF Clinical Trials Center
Anima joined CRF in 2021 and is responsible for managing studies within the CTC and overseeing the development of all project-related deliverables. Prior to coming to CRF, Anima worked as Research Analyst II for Cardiac Imaging Core Lab at Baylor Scott & White Health. Anima earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Pace University and is a Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP) via SoCRA.

Corinne StockmalProject Manager
Corinne joined CRF in 2019 within the Clinical Trials Center. Being responsible for clinical trial success, she manages the development of project-related deliverables, budget, and timelines, and is the main point of contact for clients. Prior to CRF, Corinne worked at Mount Sinai Hospital where she supported trials in patients with worsening heart failure. She earned her Master of Science in Clinical Research at Fordham University and took part in several research projects there, including a mindfulness-based smoking cessation RCT in patients with depression and/or bipolar disorder, and also presented work on interpersonal support experiences in young-adult cancer survivors. Corinne received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University.

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