Kudos for April 2011

Recognizing significant contributions and achievements from the members of the Department of Medicine in the form of awards, grants, media mentions and publications.


Dr. Nahid Azad recognized as one of the “Extraordinary Women at the University of Ottawa.” Allan Rock declared that “through their active and creative engagement , these women have been instrumental in bringing forth vital progress at the University of Ottawa and are strong role models. As an important part of both our heritage and our future, their achievements serve as an inspiration to all, and particularly to women everywhere.”

Dr. Melissa Forgie appointed Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education effective June 1, 2011.

Dr. Anna Byszewski, Division of Geriatrics, 2011 CAME Certificate of Merit Award winner.

Dr. Louise Laramée, Division of Cardiology, 2011 CAME Certificate of Merit Award winner.

uOttawa Research Chair awards to: Dr. Shawn Aaron (Tier 1 Research Chair in Obstructive Lung Disease) and Dr. Marc Carrier (Tier 2 Research Chair in Venous Thromboembolism and Cancer)


Dr. Mark Clemons has been awarded 2 clinical trial grants from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, worth more than $300,000. One trial involves a mathematical model that could help personalize anti-emetic therapy, which is used to reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The other trial will compare two different palliative treatment strategies for breast cancer patients who have a high risk of bone metastases.

Dr. Rashmi Kothary has been awarded a grant worth $360,000 from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. The grant will help advance Dr. Kothary’s research on the role of the integrin signalling pathway in parts of the brain involved with MS.

Dr. Ajoy Basak received grant from HSFO. Grant focuses on developing novel approaches to lower cholesterol by targeting the enzyme PCSK9.

Dr. Xiaohui Zha has also received a grant from HSFO. Her grant focuses on characterizing non-traditional cholesterol-rich particles that are released into the bloodstream by certain kinds of white blood cells.

Dr. Jean-Simon Diallo, post doc Fellow working with Dr. John Bell, short-listed for a grant from Grand Challenge Canada’s Rising Stars program. Dr. Diallo proposes to use viral sensitizers to enhance the production of egg-free vaccines for developing countries. The two have also received a Proof-of-Principal grant from CIHR to advance this area of research.

Dr. Al Forster received CIHR grant to expand the testing of his patient safety surveillance system at TOH, Queensway Carleton Hospital and McGill University Health Centre.


Dr. Michael Schlossmacher interviewed by Postmedia News about using a medicine that is already used for another disease to treat patients with Parkinson’s Disease. He was also interviewed by CTV in regards to his research shedding light on how some mutated proteins in the brain can increase risk factors for Parkinson’s Disease.

Dr. Gonzalo Alvarez’ new Taima TB program started in Iqaluit on April 5th. Taima TB aims to raise awareness about the illness through town hall meetings, social media outreach and door-to-door screening and treatment. Details appeared in Nunatsiaq Online.

Dr. Curtis Cooper interviewed by Ottawa Sun about two new drugs which will hopefully get approval by US Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada very soon. Both drugs offer hope for hep C patients.

Dr. Frank Molnar recently interviewed on CBC radio and TV and CPAC pertaining to issues on Geriatrics and the ALC crisis.

Dr. Malcolm Man-Son-Hing interviewed about programs like DriveABLE, computerized testing to determine whether people are medically fit to drive. Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) saying that program is biased against seniors. Details published in CMAJ.

Papers of Note

Dr. Michael Schlossmacher’s research on a link between mutations in the GBA gene (most common genetic risk factor for Parkinson’s) and the accumulation of a protein called alpha-synuclein within the brains of people with Parkinson’s recently published in Annals of Neurology.

Dr. Jonathan Angel’s group shedding light on how HIV weakens the immune system. Dr. Angel’s research shows for the first time that HIV disrupts the IL-7 signalling pathway that is crucial for T-cell development, function and survival. Paper and editorial published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

Dr. Curtis Cooper and colleagues found that liver transplants are just as beneficial in people with AIDS as they are in people without AIDS. They also found that people with HIV who required a liver transplant because of Hep B virus co-infection fared eight times better than those who required transplant for another reason. Details in journal AIDS.

Dr. Rhian Touyz has published new research showing that a fatty molecule found in cell membranes plays a crucial role in promoting inflammation in blood vessels. Dr. Touyz’s research has important implications for the development of new therapies for hypertension and other diseases that involve inflammation in blood vessels. Her research is published in Hypertension.

Dr. Fraser Scott and his team have made an important discovery regarding the infamous Prion protein, which can cause the rare brain-wasting disease Creutzfeldt-Jacob when it adopts a misfolded conformation. They found that the normal, properly-folded version of this protein may be involved in DNA packaging in the brain and in insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Study can be found in European Journal of Cell Biology.

Dr. John Bell and his group have shown for the first time that the oncolytic virus VSV directly infects tumour blood vessels and collapses the tumour blood supply without affecting normal blood vessels. See Molecular Therapy for details.

Dr. Dennis Bulman and colleagues have identified a rare mutation in a gene called PARL that may contribute to Parkinson’s Disease. The new work, published in Human Molecular Genetics, explains the link between PARL and two well-known Parkinson’s genes and the mitochondria. The discovery provides new insight into Parkinson’s and could help with the development of new treatments.

Dr. Al Forster’s patient safety surveillance system shows promise in a pilot study at TOH. The system involves a nurse observer who regularly monitors units and records details about potential patient safety events in a novel web-based form. See BMJ Quality & Safety for details.