Kudos for January 2014



Kathy Suh interviewed on 1310 Radio about how you can reduce your chances of getting sick after being on a flight. (December 20th) She was also interviewed on January 16th about a spike in C. difficile cases at The Ottawa Hospital.

Greg Knoll was interviewed by CTV news in regards to a story on Craig Dunbar, an Ottawa man who used social media to search for a kidney and had life-saving kidney transplant on January 16th. Dr. Knoll quoted as saying: “Even today in our unmatched donor and recipient pairs, our rejection rates are very low, under 10% now.”

A former professional wrestler from Ottawa was treated with an experimental treatment and it has cured him of Hepatitis C. He has now set his sights on the Olympics. Dr. Mark Tyndall was interviewed by CBC on this new type of drug, Telaprovir. Dr. Tyndall explained that “there has been a recent explosion of new hepatitis C drugs, with 2 new ones approved by US FAA in recent months.” (January 13th)

Shawn Marshall was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen about TOH’s Rehabilitation Centre multidisciplinary clinic for people with lingering concussion symptoms (January 10th). The clinic was highlighted as one of five “revolutionizing health care projects in Ottawa.” It offers diagnostic MRIs, medication therapies, physiotherapy, and a virtual reality platform where patients can work on balance and cognitive abilities.

Rashmi Kothary was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen about changes to the research funding landscape that have increased the amount of time scientists spend writing grants. He commented on the increasingly collaborative nature of biomedical research and the need to leverage funds from multiple sources.

Susan Dent was interviewed by CFRA radio about the Ottawa Cardiac Oncology Program which provides integrated care and research for cancer patients who also have heart risks.

Mark Clemons interviewed by National Post about his research on metastatic breast cancer.

Kumanan Wilson interviewed by Canadian Press the week of January 13th as demand for the flu shot surged in Alberta. The week before, he was interviewed by PostMedia as doctors were being urged to vaccinate patients against H1N1.


Derek Jonker led new research which could help improve a genetic test to predict which colorectal cancer patients are likely to benefit from a targeted therapy called cetuximab. Dr. Jonker’s research was published in British Journal of Cancer and shows that adding another gene called Epiregulin may further improve the test. This is an important step in personalized medicine for cancer.

Hsiao-Huei Chen, after recently discovering a new molecular pathway that controls appetite and weight gain, has taken her research a bit further by using a novel approach to manipulate this pathway and prevent over-eating and obesity in mice. Details can be found in Journal of Neuroscience. Dr. Chen and colleagues showed that a novel gene therapy an designer drug technology targeting a certain part of the brain could cut food intake in half in mice.

Duncan Stewart and his team have discovered a potentially important link between pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and a molecule called MiR-26a. The research could lead to new approaches to diagnose, monitor and possibly treat PAH. Details in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Keith Wilson and team have found that treating chronic pain with an interdisciplinary program can significantly reduce thoughts of suicide. It is estimated that the rate of suicide for those with chronic pain is at least 2-3 times higher than in the general population. The interdisciplinary program includes a fitness module, group psychotherapy, occupational therapy workshops, relaxation training, group discussions and educational sessions. See Clinical Journal of Pain for details.

Michael McBurney’s research is providing important insight into metabolic syndrome which predisposes people to heart disease and diabetes. . When the researchers fed a high-fat diet to mice with a mutated SIRT1 gene, they found that these mice developed insulin resistance and a fat-laden liver much more readily than normal mice. These mice also experienced changes in gut bacteria that have been associated with metabolic syndrome. See FASEB Journal for details.


David Birnie is UOHI co-PI on ‘Canadian Atrial Fibrillation Stroke Prevention Intervention Network (CAF-SPIN)’, part of the June 2013 ICRH Emerging Network Grants Competition. $18 million over 5 years.

Duncan Stewart (PI), UOHI Theme Leader Peter Liu and UOHI co-applicant Rob Beanlands and Thais Coutinho also funded for 5 years from the June 2013 ICRH Emerging Network Grants Competition for ‘Vascular Network across Canada.’ $6.4 million.

George Wells and David Moher have been recognized on recently published list of the top 400 biomedical researchers in the world out of a total of 15 million identified researchers.

Marc Carrier and Rebecca Auer were recently featured in International Innovation concerning their clinical trial investigating whether low molecular weight heparin can be used around the time of cancer surgery to help prevent the spread of cancer after surgery. The 4-year trial recently started recruitment at TOH and hopes to expand to other Canadian and international sites by mid-2014.


Michael Rudnicki and Peter Tugwell were appointed as Officers of the Order of Canada on December 30th, 2013. Dr. Rudnicki was recognized “for contributing to scientific breakthroughs in the area of muscle development and for his leadership in stem cell research. “Dr. Tugwell was recognized “for his contributions as an epidemiologist reducing global disparities in health care access.”