Kudos for December 2012



Kumanan Wilson in news discussing an iPhone app called ImmunizeON which he developed. The app is designed to keep track of children’s vaccinations and can be downloaded from iTunes.  Details in Toronto Star, Metro, and Ottawa Citizen (November 28).

Kumanan Wilson also in news for his comments on the issue of models used to determine annual flu deaths. See details in Kelly Crowe’s article – “Flu deaths reality check: Credibility of flu models disputed” at cbc.ca.

Shawn Marshall who studies the driving abilities of older people commented that to paint all seniors as bad drivers is unfair. “ The vast majority, no question, of older drivers are very safe to drive, but probably health, and the effects of health over time can affect one’s functional ability to drive.” Details in Windsor Star.

Jonathan Angel asked for comment in Toronto Star in regards to Canadian-developed HIV vaccine that showed promise in a Phase 1 trial.


Michael Rudnicki and Julia von Maltzahn have discovered that injecting a novel human protein, Wnt7a,  into muscle affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy significantly increases its size and strength by almost two-fold. As the muscle fibre increased in size, there was less muscle damage. Dr. Rudnicki commented that “This is very exciting because we think it’s a therapeutic approach that could apply to other muscle-wasting diseases.” Details in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jeremy Grimshaw, Monika Taljaard and Charles Weijer published the world’s first guidance addressing ethical considerations of cluster randomized trials, including ethical design, conduct and review.  Paper is entitled: “Ottawa Statement on the Ethical Design and Conduct of Cluster Randomized Trials.” Details in PLoS Medicine.

Dean Fergusson and colleagues published paper entitled: “Fresh blood failed to improve outcomes in infants who received transfusions.” Study showed that transfusion of older red blood cells had similar outcomes to fresh blood transfusions.  Details in JAMA 2012;308:1443-1451.

Lauralyn McIntyre collaborating with Duncan Stewart to publish the first comprehensive review looking at the safety profile of adult stem cells (mesenchymal stromal cells or MSCs) in clinical use. The systematic review found that, based on current clinical trials, MSC therapy appears safe, but that future trials should employ rigorous reporting of adverse events to gain further understanding of the MSC safety profile.  Details in PLoS One.


Jonathan Angel and Paul MacPherson visited by Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq in their labs the same day that she announced government and CIHR support for two community-based HIV / AIDS research centres. Dr. Angel chairs and Dr. MacPherson is a member of the CIHR HIV/AIDS Research Advisory Committee. Photos and details are on CIHR’s Facebook page.

 The Pallium Project, a national program to help educate doctors and nurses about palliative care, has relocated from Calgary to Ottawa. Since moving operations to Ottawa, several hundred healthcare professionals have taken the Pallium Project’s two-day workshop. Dr. José Pereira started the project. “We often think of palliative care as what can no longer be done and that’s not the case”, he said, “It’s what can still be done……….there’s still lots of living and how can we maximize that.”

Peter Liu, new Scientific Director of University of Ottawa Heart Institute, gave keynote address entitled: “ Innovation through Collaboration: Research Lessons from studying heart disease” at OHRI’s 12th Annual Research Day.

Michael Sharma, Ray Saginur and David Moher asked for input on report by Senate Committee studying clinical trials in Canada. Report is titled: Canada’s Clinical Trial Infrastructure: A Prescription for Improved Access to New Medicines. Report calls for mandatory registration in order to make the reporting of data a more open and transparent process.


John Bell was one of the first recipients of the Order of Ottawa, a civic award established by City Council to recognize exceptional citizen contributions to life in Ottawa.

Phil Wells, David Picketts and Vahab Soleimani were honoured at the 2012 Ottawa Hospital Gala on November 17th. Dr. Wells received the Dr. J. David Grimes Research Career Achievement Award. Dr. Soleimani, who works in the regenerative medicine lab of Dr. Rudnicki, received the Dr. Ronald G. Worton Researcher in Training Award. Dr. Picketts received the Dr. Michel Chretien Researcher of the Year Award.

Rashmi Kothary has new role in OHRI – Deputy Scientific Director. He will serve as a member of all OHRI review and recruitment committees. He will also represent OHRI internally and externally as an alternate for Dr. Duncan Stewart.