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Research

A Champion of Research From Bench to Bedside

As one of Canada’s leaders in both career scientist, external grant supports and internal research awards Ottawa’s Department of Medicine is blazing new trails in both basic and clinical sciences with programs of international calibre. Our strength comes from an uncommon and unwavering commitment by our leadership and research teams to champion and procure funding for innovative research programs. The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) oversees all of the research conducted at the Ottawa Hospital and members of the Department of Medicine hold a remarkable 81% of all active OHRI funding.

Without question, Ottawa’s Department of Medicine is a leader in the area of research. We provide 60 internal salary awards for research support. We have 26 scientists with external career scientist awards, including 9 Canada Research Chairs. We have over $50 million annually in research funding which represents over 60% of the funding at the Faculty of Medicine.

The Department of Medicine prides itself in offering an internal research grant competition, which is held twice annually. Grants are available for pilot projects, translational research, and for the development of multi-disciplinary research teams. In addition, larger operating grants are offered for proposals focused on two of the Departments priority areas – Vascular Health and Clinical Research.  The Department also provides salary support for research fellowships, on a competitive basis. These unique research award programs highlight our commitment to innovation and academic excellence.

We have particular strength and leadership in the following research areas:

  • Venous Thromboembolic Diseases led by Dr. Wells and Dr. Rodger. Models for clinical algorithms, strategies for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism and DVT, named after Dr. Wells, are used globally and are outlined in many National guidelines on diagnosis of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis. Dr. Rodger has become an International leader in thrombosis in pregnancy and optimal duration of anticoagulation. The Thrombosis program has over 25 active research studies and over $6 million annually in funding for research, is backed by a state of the art genetics facility and collaborates nationally with other thrombosis investigators.
  • In Respirology, we are producing world-leading research in the area of COPD and Asthma in clinical trials. This is led by Dr. Shawn Aaron.
  • In Cardiology, we are a world-leading centre in cardiac imaging and developing new isotopes. Clinical trials in interventional cardiology are also a particular strength as is the genetics of cardiac disease. Research in the area of vascular biology is a further strength and has led to the development of a Vascular Health Program which will capitalize on the expertise of cardiologists, nephrologists and endocrinologists in taking research from bench to bedside. These initiatives are led by Dr. Rhian Touyz, Dr. Ed O’Brien, Dr. Rob Beanlands, Dr. Michel LeMay and Dr. Terry Ruddy.
  • In Nephrology, the Kidney Research Centre (KRC) represents an area of major strength.  The KRC is located in a large new laboratory facility at the University of Ottawa medical school, and consists of 5 scientists, led by Dr. Kevin Burns, who conduct basic and translational research on the mechanisms of kidney disease progression, diabetic nephropathy, and hypertension-induced vascular injury. Dr. Rhian Touyz is the Canada Research Chair in Hypertension, and her lab is a world leader in vascular biology involving human subjects.  The Centre is also linked to clinical research studies coordinated from the Riverside Campus. Dr. Greg Knoll, a University of Ottawa Clinical Research Chair, is leading multi-centred trials focused on the care of patients with kidney transplants.
  • A particularly excellent example of bench to bedside work is in the area of Infectious Diseases in which we also have a phase 1 research lab and are leaders in studying the pharmacological interventions for Hepatitis C and HIV and investigating the health of the patient as a whole in particular areas of psychological distress and impacts of other lifestyle factors such as smoking on response to therapeutic interventions. Drs Angel, Cameron, Cooper, MacPherson, Garber and Laporte lead this program.
  • In Cancer under Drs John Bell, Mike McBurney and Harry Atkins, we are world leaders in the area of developing viruses as oncolytic agents, bench work which is now into clinical trials.
  • Finally, in the area of regenerative medicine, we are world leaders in the use of stem cells and stem cell manipulation for the treatment of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and our work in the area of endothelial progenitor cells and other progenitor cells is translating into clinical trials in patients with post myocardial infarction, post stroke and with primary pulmonary hypertension.  These initiatives are led by Drs Duncan Stewart, Harry Atkins, John Bell, Mark Freedman and David Allan.