CREF Speakers

The 2021 CREF speakers include experts in the field of cardiothoracic surgery, cardiovascular anesthesia, extracorporeal perfusion, health service research and quality, critical care, and more. View the brief biographies of this year's confirmed CREF faculty below. More will be added soon.

The 40th Cardiothoracic Surgery Symposium is dedicated to providing quality continuing medical education for the entire cardiac OR team. Recurring topics include the science and techniques of cardiopulmonary bypass, cardiac surgery, and extracorporeal life support (ECLS/ECMO). For regular updates about CREF speakers, faculty, abstract presenters, and more, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Speakers & Faculty



Joanna Chikwe MD FRCS

Jo Chikwe is the George Schaefer Distinguished Professor of Surgery and founding Chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery at the Smidt Heart Institute, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Her research interests include using big data to address questions unanswered by clinical trials, and she has authored 100+  publications in peer reviewed journals including NEJM and JAMA. She serves on the editorial boards of JACC and JTCVS and is Deputy Editor of Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Dr. Chikwe specializes in advanced and less invasive heart valve repair, and previously served as the Cheng Endowed Professor of Surgery at the State University of New York, and professor of cardiovascular surgery at Mount Sinai New York.



David C. Fitzgerald DHA MPH CCP

Perfusionist David Fitzgerald serves as a Staff Perfusionist, Clinical Coordinator, and Assistant Director of the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program at the Medical University of South Carolina. As an instructor in the perfusion training program, Mr. Fitzgerald coordinates clinical rotations and oversees the hi-fidelity perfusion simulation program. Past President of AmSECT, David Fitzgerald remains actively involved in research, with key interests including transfusion, inflammatory response, and patient safety.

CREF Speakers Keynote Gottesman Rebecca


Rebecca F. Gottesman MD PhD

Dr. Rebecca Gottesman serves as Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg  School of Public Health. She is also a core faculty member of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research. Her primary clinical interest is stroke, and her main research interests include the vascular contribution to cognitive impairment and dementia, with evaluation of not only stroke as a potential risk factor for cognitive change but also vascular risk factors such as hypertension. She works with the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study to evaluate long-term associations between vascular risk factors and vascular disease.

CREF Speaker Michael C. Grant MD Faculty 2020


Michael C. Grant MD

Dr. Michael Grant, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, works clinically as a dual fellowship-trained surgical critical care intensivist and cardiovascular anesthesiologist. He also serves as the Director for Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) for the ACCM Johns Hopkins Hospital and is actively engaged nationally through the ERAS Cardiac Society and is the inaugural chair of the ERACS Taskforce at the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists. Dr. Grant's research interests include quality improvement, implementation science, and the design and maintenance of complex perioperative programs.

CREF Speaker Serdar Gunaydin MD PhD


Serdar Gunaydin MD PhD

Dr. Serdar Gunaydin, a cardiac surgeon, serves as Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery at the Numune Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey. Dr. Gunaydin’s research interests include the clinical evaluation and biomaterial confirmation of novel CPB-related technologies designed to prevent the inflammatory response. He is also on the Steering Committee for MiECTiS, an organization dedicated to promoting minimally invasive perfusion.

2018 CREF Speakers Robert Kramer MD


Robert S. Kramer MD FACS

Since 1980, cardiac surgeon Dr. Robert S. Kramer has served as a specialist in thoracic and cardiac surgery at the Maine Medical Center, where he actively participates in the Northern New England Cardiovascular Disease Study Group. At the Maine Medical Center, he currently serves as the Director of Research and Quality Improvement in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. He is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Kramer's research interests include coronary artery bypass grafting, acute kidney injury, hemodynamics, quality improvement, and more.
2019 CREF Speaker Keynote David Mazer MD


C. David Mazer MD FRCPC

CREF Co-Director Dr. Mazer is a Professor in the Departments of Anesthesia and Physiology at the University of Toronto. His research interests include cardiac physiology and perioperative blood conservation and organ protection. Dr. Mazer has co-authored 100+ peer-reviewed publications, including practice guidelines and position statements related to perioperative transfusion and hemostasis from the STS, SCVA, and the CCS. Dr. Mazer, a lead investigator in the BART trial, is the principal investigator for TRICS III, a global study of transfusion triggers in cardiac surgery.

CREF speakers faculty 2020 perfusion meeting cardiac surgery conference san diego california


Erick D. McNair PhD CCP FICA

Dr. Erick McNair is a faculty member of the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Surgery in the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan located in Saskatoon, SK, Canada. His background is in cardiac pathology and clinical perfusion. He is involved in inter-professional teaching, research, and administrative activities. His research interests include techniques in blood conservation following CPB and quantification of novel biochemical injury markers associated with acute kidney injury following CPB, PCI and neuroendovascular procedures.



Linda B. Mongero CCP (emeritus)

Prior to joining SpecialtyCare as VP of ECLS / ECMO, emeritus perfusionist Linda Mongero served as Director of Clinical Perfusion at the New York Presbyterian Hospital / Columbia University Medical Center. She also served as President of the ABCP and the AACP. Linda is a member of the AmSECT Quality Assurance Committee, Director for the Accreditation Committee Perfusion Education, and an advisor to the New York State Board of Health. She has presented more than 200 abstracts and articles in the literature. Clinical interests include ECMO, ventricular assist, and standardization of care.

CREF Speakers Newland


Richard F. Newland BSc CCP (Aust)

Australian Richard Newland is a lecturer at Flinders University and senior perfusionist on the staff of clinical perfusion at Flinders University Medical Center in South Australia. He is also involved in the Cardiac Surgery Research Group at Flinders and has participated in numerous clinical research projects.  His research interests include evidence-based medicine, perfusion registries, and outcomes improvement. Mr. Newland has served on the CREF Program Committee since 2012.

CREF speakers Jacob Raphael cardiac surgery perfusion meeting san diego california


Jacob Raphael MD

Dr. Jacob Raphael is a Professor of Anesthesiology in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Virginia Health Science Center in Charlottesville, Virginia. He specializes in adult and pediatric cardiothoracic anesthesia. In addition, he is involved in basic science research, specifically in myocardial pre- and post-conditioning as well as clinical translational research in topics related to outcomes after cardiopulmonary bypass. His primary research interests include topics related to cardiac anesthesia, including myocardial and renal complications following CABG and management of preoperative bleeding and hemostasis in cardiac surgery patients.

CREF Keynote Speaker Jeff Riley 2020 California perfusion meeting san Diego


Jeffrey B. Riley MHPE CCP (emeritus) LP

Jeffrey Riley is a perfusionist, Research Associate Professor at SUNY, and science officer at Biomed Simulation, Inc. A leader in perfusion and ECMO education, Mr. Riley serves on the ELSO task force for simulation and the EMCO specialist certification exam. He served as AmSECT President-Elect (2012-2014) and President (2014-2016) and was named to its list of 36 Pioneers in Perfusion. Mr. Riley has authored and co-authored 100+ scientific publications, including award-winning presentations, manuscripts, and posters. His research interests include human factors in perfusion simulation and quality management, CPB gaseous microembolic load, and patient electronic data acquisition.

CREF Speakers Stammers


Alfred H. Stammers MSA PBMS CCP (emeritus)

CREF Co-Director Al Stammers serves as Vice President of Clinical Quality & Outcomes Research at SpecialtyCare, Inc. Al established and directed the Masters program in perfusion sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where he was an Associate Professor in the School of Allied Health Professions in the College of Medicine. Mr. Stammers has authored more than 300 publications on perfusion-related topics and is a world-renowned speaker in this area. His research interests include quality improvement, blood management, and outcomes analysis.

CREF keynote speaker Paul Uhlig and faculty


Paul F. Uhlig MD MPA FACS

Dr. Paul Uhlig, a cardiothoracic surgeon, is associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita and medical director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. He is internationally recognized for practice and study of high-reliability healthcare teamwork and patient/family-centered care. Dr. Uhlig’s professional interests concern transforming healthcare practice culture to better meet the evolving needs of patients and society. He has given invited addresses on healthcare teamwork and patient safety at major academic health centers and health systems across the US and internationally.

CREF Speakers - Wahr


Joyce A. Wahr MD FAHA

Dr. Joyce Wahr, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, has served as director of the ICU rotation for residents, director of cardiac anesthesiology, and director of the cardiac research program. Dr. Wahr is the first author on the American Heart Association Scientific Statement “Patient Safety in the Cardiac Operating Room: Teamwork and Human Factors.”