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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Susanne Benseler, MD, PhD

The Hospital for Sick Children
Associate Clinical Staff
Paediatric Emergency Medicine

Research Institute
Adjunct Scientist
Child Health Evaluative Sciences

Other Positions

Alberta Children's Hospital
Pediatric Rheumatologist, Section Chief

University of Calgary
Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine
Associate Professor


Phone: (403) 955-7771
Fax: 416-813-4989
Email: susanne.benseler@albertahealthservices.ca

For more information, visit:

Brainworks Study

Brief Biography

Dr. Susa Benseler is a Staff Rheumatologist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and Associate Professor of Paediatrics and Health Policy Management & Evaluation (HPME), University of Toronto. She is an Associate Scientist in the Child Health and Evaluative Sciences (CHES) Program at The SickKids Research Institute.

Dr. Benseler graduated from Medical School in Freiburg/Germany and completed a PhD thesis focusing on the immunopathology of scleroderma in George Wick’s lab in Innsbruck/Austria. She trained in Pediatrics in Freiburg and Bonn, Germany, focusing on Pediatric Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine and Rheumatology. After completing a Clinical Fellowship in the Division of Rheumatology at SickKids (2001-2003) and a research fellowship in Pediatric Lupus funded by the Geoff-Carr-Lupus Fellowship Award, she joined SickKids on staff in 2005. She completed a Clinical Epidemiology Masters program in HPME at the University of Toronto and subsequently joined the HPME faculty. Dr. Benseler is a staff physician in the Division of Rheumatology and hold a cross-appointment to Paediatric Emergency Medicine. In Rheumatology, she previously served as Clinical Director and is currently the Chair of the Research Council. She established the first Childhood Central Nervous System (CNS) Vasculitis and Inflammatory Brain Diseases Program and recently initiated the Interdisciplinary Childhood Systemic Vasculitis Initiative and Clinic at SickKids.

Dr. Benseler has shared the knowledge gathered in the innovative clinical research programs at Sickkids at international meetings and  invited lectures. She received numerous clinical excellence and teaching awards. She was selected to participate in the Future Leaders in Rheumatology Training (FLIRT). Dr. Benseler has supervised clinical research projects of outstanding former fellows including Clare Hutchinson (Toronto), Jorina Elbers (Stanford), Heinrike Schmeling (Calgary), Gordon Soon (Toronto), Tania Cellucci (Hamilton), more recently Peter Gowdie and Marinka Twilt.     

Dr. Benseler is a clinician and clinical researcher. Her research focus is childhood CNS vasculitis, inflammatory brain diseases and systemic vasculitis. She established international, interdisciplinary SickKids-led networks of clinical and basic science researchers. She led the development and implementation of BrainWorks, an innovative prospective network of children diagnosed with childhood CNS vasculitis and inflammatory brain diseases. BrainWorks aims to improve recognition, diagnostic evaluation, treatment and long-term outcome of children with childhood CNS vasculitis and inflammatory brain diseases around the world. Dr. Benseler and her team are participating in leading national and international studies of childhood rheumatic diseases. She is an active member of the Canadian Pediatric Rheumatology Investigators (CAPRI training committee)), the Canadian Rheumatology Association (CRA scientific committee) and the Ontario Rheumatology Association (ORA board of directors), the international Understanding Childhood Arthritis Network (UCAN), the North American Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA), the German Society for Pediatric Rheumatology and the Pediatric Rheumatology European Society (PRES).  She currently holds peer reviewed grant funding from the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR).

Research Interests

1) Childhood CNS Vasculitis and Inflammatory Brain Diseases

  • Development and implementation of the first worldwide CNS Vasculitis Clinic for Children
  • SickKids Childhood CNS Vasculitis Program Establishment
  • BrainWorks, the Paediatric CNS Vasculitis Outcome Study: Design and implementation of the first international childhood CNS Vasculitis study, database design, review and implementation in collaboration with the Centre for Computational Biology at SickKids, endorsement by CARRA (North American Childhood Arthritis Research Alliance), PRES (European Pediatric Rheumatology Society) and IPSS (International Stroke Registry)

2) Kawasaki disease

  • Epidemiology, risk factors and outcomes of children with Kawasaki disease (KD)
  • Infections at diagnosis of KD
  • Early risk factors for aneurysm formation

3) Outcome research in paediatric SLE

  • Nephritis: Renal failure and long-term outcome in paediatric Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
  • CNS lupus: Recognition and long-term outcome in paediatric SLE

Achievements

  • Paul-Rosen-Award 2003, Canadian Rheumatology Association, Project: Primary CNS vasculitis in children. 2003
  • Orgyzlo Fellowship Award 2003, Rheumatic Disease Unit Toronto, Project: Primary CNS vasculitis in children. 2003
  • Orgyzlo Poster Award 2003, Rheumatic Disease Unit Toronto, Project: Infections and Kawasaki disease. 2003
  • Earl J. Brewer Award 2003, American Academy of Pediatric Fellowship Award
    Project: Primary CNS vasculitis: Predictors of disease progression. 2003
  • Poster Award, The Hospital for Sick Children research Competition 2003, 2. prize, Project: Infections and Kawasaki disease. 2003
  • Geoff-Carr-Fellowship Award 2003/2004, Ontario Lupus Association. 2003
  • Clinical Recognition Award, Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children. 2004-2005
  • Clinical Recognition Award, Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children. 2006-2007
  • Clinical Recognition Award, Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children. 2007-2008

Publications

Benseler S: Childhood CNS Vasculitis: a treatable cause of new neurological deficit in children. Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology 2008: 4:9: pp 460-461. SRI

Hiraki LT, Benseler SM, Tyrrell PN, Hebert D, Harvey E, Silverman ED: Clinical and laboratory characteristics and long-term outcome of pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus. Journal of Pediatrics 2008: 152:4: pp 550-556. C

Avcin T, Benseler SM, Tyrrell PN, Cucnik S, Silverman ED: A follow-up study of antiphospholipid antibodies and associated neuropsychiatric manifestations in 137 children with systemic lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Care and Research 2008: 59:2: pp 206-213. CPA

Elbers J and Benseler SM: Central nervous system vasculitis in children. Current Opinion in Rheumatology 2008: 20:1: pp 47-54. SRI

Benseler SM and Silverman ED: Neuro-psychiatric involvement in pediatric systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus 2007: 16:8: pp 564-571. PA

Aviv RI, Benseler SM, Silverman ED, Tyrrell PN, deVeber G, Tsang LM, Armstrong D: Angiography of primary central nervous system angiitis of childhood: conventional angiography versus magnetic resonance angiography at presentation. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2007: 28:1: pp 9-15. CPA

Benseler SM, Silverman ED, Aviv RI, Schneider R, Armstrong D, Tyrrell PN, deVeber G: Primary central nervous system vasculitis in children. Arthritis and Rheumatism 2006: 54:4: pp 1291-7. PA

Aviv RI, Benseler SM, Silverman ED, Tyrrell PN, deVeber G, Tsang LM, Armstrong D: MR Imaging and angiography of primary CNS vasculitis of childhood. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2006: 27:1: pp 192-9. CPA

Benseler SM, McCrindle BW, Silverman ED, Tyrrell PN, Wong J, Yeung RSM: Infections and Kawasaki Disease: implications for coronary artery outcome. Pediatrics 2005: 116:6: pp e760-66. PA

Benseler SM, deVeber G, Hawkins C, Schneider R, Tyrrell PN, Aviv RI, Armstrong D, Laxer RM, Silverman ED: Angiography-negative primary central nervous system vasculitis in children: a newly recognized inflammatory central nervous system disease. Arthritis and Rheumatism 2005: 52:7: pp 2159-67. PA