Faculty Members

Dr. Sander Veldhuyzen Van Zanten


Department of Medicine

Division of Gastroenterology
    Contact details are for academic matters only.

About Me

Dr. van Zanten is an Academic Gastroenterologist who went to medical school and did his Internal Medicine training in Holland. He did his GI training and a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology at McMaster’s University in Hamilton, Canada from 1986 to 1990. In 1992, he received a PhD in Medicine on the topic of "Clinical Aspects of Helicobacter pylori infection" from the University of Amsterdam. From 1990 to 2006 he worked at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. In Halifax, he served for five years as the Program Director of the Core Internal Medicine Program. In his last three years at Dalhousie University he held the Howard Webster Department of Medicine Research Chair. As of October 1, 2006, he took up the position as Director of the Division of Gastroenterology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He also is the Regional Section Head for Gastroenterology for the Edmonton Zone in Alberta Health Services.

Since arriving in Edmonton, he has concentrated on several areas:

Enhancing the overall academic research activity of the Division.
Developing a cohesive GI Program for the Edmonton Zone.
Developing and testing a triage system for outpatients in luminal gastroenterology and Hepatology.
Starting quality-assurance activities in areas of wait times, patient satisfaction with colonoscopy procedures, and compliance with follow-up recommendations, following removal of polyps in the colon.
Move to full usage of an Electronic Medical Record at the University of Alberta
Continue his research in Helicobacter pylori.
Dr. van Zanten also has an interest in lower GI disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease. Recently he has become interested in Quality Assurance.


His main research interest has been in clinical aspects of upper GI disorders. He has done numerous trials in uninvestigated and uninvestigated dyspepsia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and gastric and duodenal ulcers. This includes many studies on Helicobacter pylori and its role in the upper GI diseases, evaluations of diagnostic tests and studies on treatment and antibiotic resistance. He has also done several trials evaluating management of functional dyspepsia and a series of management trials in uninvestigated dyspepsia in primary care. Up to January 1, 2012, he has published 194 articles in peer-reviewed journals. A special interest relates to research methodology in the conduct of dyspepsia studies. He was chair of the first ROME Committee design of clinical trials in functional GI disorders and was a committee member for the same topic in the ROME III working party on functional GI disorders.

With regard to research, Helicobacter pylori infection of the stomach continues to be a focus of interest. Together with Dr. Karen Goodman, PhD Clinical Epidemiologist in the GI Division and help from others, a comprehensive research program has been developed to look at the health consequences of Helicobacter pylori in the Canadian North. The prevalence of this infection is very height (60%) in Northern Canadian communities. This research program has been very successful in attracting peer-reviewed funding from e.g. CIHR, the Canadian Arctic Network, and local government agencies in the Northwest Territories and Yukon. An interesting component of the research program has been the ability to offer unsedated gastroscopies, which to date has taken place in two small communities: 1) Aklavik, NWT and 2) Old Crow, Yukon. These studies document the frequency of abnormalities, such as stomach ulcers and inflammation in the stomach (gastritis. By obtaining biopsies (tissue specimens taken from the stomach) this project is also able to determine how severe and extensive the inflammation is in infected individuals and for treatment to evaluate which treatment regimens are the most effective in curing the infection.