Kudos for March 2014



Jeffrey Turnbull was quoted saying in the Globe & Mail “The trouble is health care has changed and our patients have changed and we haven’t”, in relation to his attempts to reform the system.

Rashmi Kothary is leading new research that suggests that 2.5% of the population – who are carriers of the defective SMA gene, but who do not have any related neurological problems – may carry a new genetic risk factor for metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity. This research is leading to the identification of novel factors implicated in obesity and diabetes.

Mark Freedman, Director, Multiple Sclerosis Research Unit, Professor of Neurology and Senior Scientist at the University of Ottawa and OHRI was interviewed in regard to the now available Lemtrada  for the management of adult patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). During an extensive, ongoing clinical development program, 80 per cent of RRMS patients who received two treatment courses of Lemtrada required no further therapy and 55 per cent remained relapse-free through the first year of the extension study.

Shawn Marshall was interviewed in the Ottawa Citizen about his Candrive research project, which aims to enhance safe driving among older people. The Ottawa-based study is researching better tools for physicians and regulators to flag older drivers who might need retraining, or restrictions placed on their licence or be taken off the road entirely.

Nancy Dudek was interviewed on CTV about The Ottawa Hospital Rehabilitation Centre’s 3-D virtual reality system, which can help patients learn to walk again after traumatic injuries and illnesses.

Jeffrey Turnbull was interviewed by The Record about criticisms of the quality of Canadian health care. He said when it comes to treating heart attacks, stroke, heart failure and pneumonia, “we do relatively well.” But when you look at the broader indices that measure the inequities, the picture is very different. “Our vulnerable populations have rates like the developing world.” We can say the same for groups in the U.S.

Bob Dent, founder of the weight management clinic and medical director of the Bariatric Center of excellence at The Ottawa Hospital was interviewed by CBC Radio. Obesity rates in Canada have tripled since 1985, with a disproportionate increase in the number of very obese Canadians, according to new research from Memorial University in Newfoundland.


Shawn Aaron and Duncan Stewart have been awarded more than $14M to lead two new national research networks. The Canadian Respiratory Research Network, led by Dr. Aaron, aims to improve care for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. The Canadian Vascular Network, led by Dr. Stewart, aims to improve care for diseases caused by damage to both large and small blood vessels, including heart attack, stroke, dementia, kidney failure and macular degeneration. The networks are funded by the CIHR, as well as numerous academic, non-profit and industry partners.

Posted on Newswise – Blocking Key Signaling Chemical in the Immune System Stalls Chronic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance Tied to Obesity. In addition to Moore and Ramkhelawon, other NYU Langone researchers involved in these studies were Elizabeth Hennessy, PhD; Michael Ménager, PhD; Tathagat Dutta Ray, PhD; Frederick Sheedy, PhD; Susan Hutchison, BSc; Amarylis Wanschel, PhD; Scott Oldebeken, BA; Westley Spiro, BA; and George Miller, MD. Additional research support was provided by Michèle Geoffrion, BSc; Ruth McPherson, MD, PhD; and Katey Rayner, PhD, at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

John Bell and his colleagues in Ottawa and Ireland have developed a unique approach to enhance the effectiveness of cancer-fighting (oncolytic) viruses. A strain of bacteria has been developed that can selectively replicate inside tumours and reduce any remaining antiviral defences, thereby allowing better viral replication and tumour-killing. Published in Molecular Therapy, this research provides the first demonstration that viruses and bacteria can be rationally combined to target cancer.

Peter Liu MD, Scientific Director of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and his colleges have found a new heart failure-protective protein. In findings published this week in Nature Communications, the researchers detail the protective role of a new protein called HACE1. They had found it to be present at increased levels in the blood of patients with heart failure, prompting them to look further at its function in the heart. This research is made possible thanks to funding from the CIHR.


2013 AIME Research Grants in Medical Education:

  • Isabelle Desjardins (Medicine): $8,240 for Using Entrustable Professional Activities to highlight discrepancies in training from undergraduate to postgraduate education with Susan Humphrey-Murto, Claire Touchie, Debra Pugh, and Tim Wood
  • Kelsey Crawford (SRI: Nancy Dudek) (Medicine): $9,271 for Assessing clinical supervisors’ assessments: What makes them better? with Tim Wood and Karl Lalonde

Dr. Daryl Davis has received stem cell network funding: Stem Cell Network Clinical Translation Impact Grant Competition,Optimization of cardiac stem cell manufacturing for cellular cardiomyoplasty“.  Funded for one year, Total Funding $155,500, ($98,000 from SCN and $57,500 in partnered funding)


Heather Clark has been selected as one of the recipients to receive the 2014 CAME/ACÉM Certificate of Merit Award. The aim of this award is to promote medical education in Canadian medical schools and to recognize and reward faculty’s commitment to medical education. She will be presented with the award at the CAME Annual General Meeting on Sunday, April 27, 2014.

University of Ottawa promotions

The University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine celebrated more than 30 promotions and awards, including many for scientists and investigators at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Drs. Alan Forster, David Picketts, Kumanan Wilson and Michael Schlossmacher were all promoted to the position of full professor, while Drs. Brendan McCormick, Clare Liddy, Gonzalo Alvarez, Harmanjatinder Sekhon, Janine Malcolm, Lauralyn McIntyre, Marc Carrier, Marcio Gomes, Marlise Peruzzo dos Santos, Matthew McInnes, Nha Voduc, Sukhbir Singh and Wael Shabana were promoted to the position of associate professor. In addition, Dr. Lothar Huebsch received the André Péloquin Memorial Award for Excellence in Clinical Medical Education.

Mark Clemons was featured in the CAHO newsletter for discovering that the molecular characteristics of an individual’s breast cancer can change as the cancer spreads to other organs, and re-checking these characteristics will often open up new treatment options or suggest strategies that are more likely to work for a given patient.

Claire Touchie lead a new National course put on by CAME, for medical educators interested in further developing their skills in the area of assessment of clinical competence. This 3-day course was attended by 43 participants representing almost all medical schools across Canada. Congratulations to Claire and MCC staff!

Curtis L. Cooper is the recipient of the CFID Dr. John M. Embil Mentorship Award in Infectious Diseases award. This award celebrates the commitment of a member of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada to inspiring interest and excitement in the field of infectious diseases.