Fellowship Program at McMaster

Welcome to the Stroke Fellowship Training Program at McMaster University.

Dr. Luciana Catanese, Program Director
Dr. Luciana Catanese, Program Director


We aim to offer a vibrant academic atmosphere combined with a focus on clinical excellence in all aspects of stroke care making for an exciting and extraordinary training experience.

Our ten specialty-trained stroke faculty provide a range of expertise and hands-on teaching. The stroke program is the regional referral site for 2.2 million people in Central South Ontario and cares for over 700 acute stroke patients annually at its 62-bed integrated stroke service, consisting of 24 acute stroke beds and 38 rehabilitation beds. There are state-of-the-art neuroimaging and interventional stroke treatment, with ~150 annual mechanical thrombectomies. Over 2500 patients with stroke and threatened stroke are seen annually in our regional stroke prevention and stroke follow-up clinics. Research activities center on our internationally recognized clinical trials, clinical epidemiology, and thrombosis and hemostasis research groups at McMaster University and its affiliated Population Health Research Institute. Fellows will receive closely supervised training in state-of-the-art clinical stroke medicine, and for those fellows undertaking a second year, clinical research training in preparation for an academic career.

There is a full academic schedule, which includes weekly stroke rounds, neuroradiology and neurointerventional rounds, stroke journal clubs, research seminars and neuroscience rounds.

To ensure that upon completion of the fellowship, trainees will be well prepared to lead stroke programs at other institutions, the standardized first year will be comprised of core block rotations, including stroke prevention clinic/neurosonology, inpatient stroke unit care, and stroke consult service. Moreover, we provide supervised exposure to hyperacute stroke and endovascular mechanical thrombectomy decision-making during on-call shifts and an opportunity to pursue dedicated blocks in interventional neuroradiology. Additional electives can be arranged in neurorehabilitation, neurointensive care, or neuroradiology.

Certification Outcome

The successful completion of the fellowship will grant a Fellowship McMaster Certification. Our fellowship is also recognized nationally by the Canadian Stroke Consortium which provides a second certificate of Fellowship completion.

American Society of Neuroimaging Neurosonology Certification 

To date, 4 fellows have taken this the ASN Neurosonology examination with 100% pass rate. 

Fellowship Application Requirements

The fellowship program is designed for current residents or recent graduates of:

  1. Neurology Residency programs (Canadian, American or International)
  2. Internal Medicine Residency programs (Canadian, American or International)

Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in English. Recent graduates are required to submit: 

  • Application Form and other PGME requirements. For details, please go to the Fellowship Application - Postgraduate Medical Education (
  • Updated CV with the chronological order of clinical activities and explanations for gaps in training/clinical exposure.
  • Updated CV with list of publications that can be indexed in PubMed, in chronological order and using this format: Authors. Article Title. Journal Name. Year;Volume(Issue):Pages. DOI. List the first 10 author names, followed by “et al.”
    Example: Hart RG, Pearce LA, Gorelick PB, Connolly BJ, Catanese L. Aspirin Use and Risk of Subdural Hematoma: Updated Meta-analysis of Randomized Trials. Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease. 2021;30 (8): 105911. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2021.105911.
  • 3 Letters of Reference 
  • Personal Statement
Applications Deadline

The deadline for applications' submission is July 1st of the year prior to the commencement of their fellowship. Interviews are performed during the month of August. Final decisions are communicated by the end of August. 

Self-funded fellows can apply no later than 9-months in advance. 

For any questions, please email

Featured Fellows

Dr. Ziad Aljundi, MD, PGY-6 McMaster Stroke Clinical Fellow
Dr. Abhilekh Srivastava, MD, McMaster Stroke Clinical Fellow


Goals of Training

The Stroke Medicine fellowship will prepare trainees to be experts in the continuum of stroke care through exposure to a wide variety of patients with stroke and threatened stroke under the supervision of senior stroke program faculty. Upon completion of the fellowship, trainees will be well prepared to lead stroke programs at other institutions, to continue life­ long learning in stroke management, and to have experience in conducting stroke research.

Fellows will be expected to prepare and submit at least one scholarly article for publication in peer-reviewed journals and/or present at a national/international conference under the supervision of a faculty mentor. These include critical narrative reviews, systematic reviews, or research data (see below). Fellows will present and discuss clinical cases monthly to the weekly stroke rounds conference, with selected cases published on the stroke program website. Fellows will be encouraged to take advantage of opportunities to carry out research projects using the databases available from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network, Population Health Research Institute,
and Regional Health Network. Projects will be developed with and supervised by one of the fellowship co-directors. For selected fellows anticipating a second year of stroke fellowship training, research activities will be expanded and self-initiated projects and grant writing required. Fellows will additionally participate and be trained in the conduct of clinical trials at the site level.

Length of Training

1-2 years. The stroke fellowship program consists of 4 fellows per annum. 2 are fully funded (commensurate) and 2 spots are held for self-funded applicants.


We are very grateful for the generous support of the Marta and Owen Boris Foundation which has been pivotal in the expansion and success of our Stroke Fellowship Program which has trained 18 fellows from 6 countries as of July 2020.

Additional sources of funding: 

  • McMaster University
  • Bayer (2015 - 2019)
  • Boehringer Ingelheim (2015-2017)

Curriculum Highlights

Salient, distinctive aspects of the stroke fellowship program include:

  • Emphasis on evidence-based management, critical appraisal of the literature, and clinical epidemiology.
  • Experienced, expert faculty mentors with diverse interests and expertise with commitment to teaching and the success of fellows.
  • Comprehensive experience in neurosonology allowing for ASN certification.
  • Access to the unmatched research opportunities at the world-renowned Population Health Research Institute (PHRI; at which the fellowship administration and offices are located).Past and present PHRI-led stroke trials include:
    • RE-LY
    • ANNEXA-I
  • Education Rounds
    • Monday 8-9 AM: Fellows Seminar - Research Methodology 
    • Tuesday 12-1 PM: Neuroradiology Rounds 
    • Wednesday 8-9 AM: Challenging Case Discussion 
    • Wednesday 12-1 PM: Stroke Research Bussiness Meeting - Ongoing Clinical Trials 
    • Thursday 8-9 AM: Stroke Grand Rounds  
    • Friday 8-9 AM: Neurology Grand Rounds (optional) 
    • Others: Monthly - Bi-monthly webinars on high yield topics in Stroke Neurology 
  • Elective opportunities
    • Stroke Rehabilitation and Recovery
    • Spasticity in Stroke - Botox Clinic
    • Endovascular Stroke Treatment
    • Neuroradiology - advanced
    • Neuro-critical Care
    • Stroke Research - Clinical Trials
    • Stroke Research - Quality Improvement
    • Neurosonology - advanced
    • Others on demand 

Supervision & Feedback

Verbal and formal evaluations will be provided to the trainee every 3-months. Fellows will meet with the fellowship director every 4 months in order to receive feedback about their progress and to provide comments and criticism of the fellowship program. Minutes of these meeting will be drafted and signed by all parties in attendance. Satisfactory ratings on all quarterly evaluations are required to receive a fellowship certificate.

Luciana Catanese

Medicine, Neurology
Catanese, Luciana
Assistant Professor
Stroke Fellowship Program Director

Ashkan Shoamanesh

Medicine, Neurology
Shoamanesh, Ashkan
Associate Professor, Division of Neurology
Marta and Owen Boris Chair in Stroke Research and Care; Director of Hemorrhagic Stroke Research Program and Investigator, Stroke and Cognition Program at PHRI

Robin Bennett

Placeholder portrait image for Robin Bennett
Administrative Assistant

905-521-2100 ext. 40601

PGME Fellowship Office

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905-525-9140 ext. 26660

Medicine Specialties Central Fellowship Office

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