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The Ottawa Hospital awarded $12.7M for research, double the national CIHR success rate

January 30, 2018

Sixteen research groups at The Ottawa Hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, have been awarded $12.7 million in the most recent project grant competition from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This represents a success rate of 30 percent, double the national average of 15 percent.

The new funding will help researchers harness the immune system to attack cancer, investigate umbilical cord blood to treat kidney disease, test a holistic approach to improve health among homeless people and much more.

“I’m delighted that our researchers have once again achieved such a high success rate,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive-Vice President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. “These new research projects have the potential to redefine the future of health-care, both at home and around the world.”

Project summaries

  • Cancer immunotherapy: Developing novel therapies to help our own immune cells attack cancer. Summary; Principal Investigator: Michele Ardolino
  • Stroke and vascular dementia: understanding how glycine, a small chemical in the brain, could be used to reduce cell death. Summary; Principal Investigator: Richard Bergeron
  • Leukemia: Identifying new molecular targets to prevent and treat relapse. Summary; Principal Investigator: Marjorie Brand
  • Critical care: Developing an audit and feedback approach to reduce unnecessary bloodwork. Summary; Principal Investigators: Jamie Brehaut, Christopher McCudden, Justin Presseau; Co-Investigators: Kednapa Thavorn, Heather Colquhoun, Sylvain Boet, Monica Taljaard, Lauralyn McIntyre, Noah Ivers, Jeremy Grimshaw, Alan Forster
  • Kidney disease: Could cell fragments from umbilical cord blood treat acute kidney injury? Summary; Principal Investigator: Kevin Burns; Co-Investigators: Dylan Burger, Dean Fergusson, David Allan
  • Neural tube defects: Using nematodes as a model for neural tube formation and pathology. Summary; Principal Investigator: Antonio Colavita
  • Breast cancer: Combining cancer-fighting viruses with antibody-drug-conjugates, in partnership with the Center for Drug Research and Development (CDRD). Summary; Principal Investigator: Jean-Simon Diallo; Co-Investigators: Rozanne Arulanandam, Fanny Tzelepis
  • Chronic sinusitis: Network meta-analyses to inform new evidence syntheses and refresh treatment guidelines. Summary; Principal Investigator: Brian Hutton, Shaun Kilty, Martin Desrosiers; Co-Investigators: David Moher, James Bonaparte, Dianna Wolfe, Dean Fergusson, Adrienne Stevens
  • Spinal muscular atrophy: Investigating an unexpected connection with the immune system. Summary; Principal Investigator: Rashmi Kothary
  • Autism: Investigating a possible role of defective brain blood vessels. Summary; Principal Investigator: Baptiste Lacoste
  • Liver surgery: Could removing some of a patient’s blood before surgery reduce blood loss and transfusions? Summary; Principal Investigator: Guillaume Martel; Co-Investigators: Dean Fergusson, Franck Vandenbroucke-Menu, Christopher Wherrett, Alan Tinmouth, Timothy Ramsay, Yves Collin, François Carrier, Michaël Chassé
  • Muscle cancer: Understanding how a badly repaired gene causes rhabdomyosarcoma in children. Summary; Principal Investigator: Lynn Megeney
  • Health among homeless: A holistic approach to improve quality of life among homeless people (and those at risk for homelessness), incorporating e-cigarettes to manage tobacco dependence. Summary; Principal Investigators: Smita Pakhale, Elspeth McKay; Co-Investigators: Mark Eisenberg, Victor Willis, Kim Barker, Peter Selby, Petrina Perrin, Kednapa Thavorn, Lindsay Kretschmer, Ted Bignell
  • Stakeholder engagement: Identifying how and when to engage stakeholders in the development of health guidelines. Summary; Principal Investigators: Peter Tugwell, Howard White; Co-Investigators: Anneliese Synnot, Ian Graham, Reem Mustafa, Thomas Concannon, Vivian Welch, Janet Jull, Lar Maxwell, Jennifer Petkovic, Pauline Campbell, Leonila Dans, Stephanie Chang, Davina Ghersi, Alex Pollock, Richard Morley, Holger Schunemann, Kevin Pottie
  • Ovarian cancer: Combining cancer-fighting viruses with other immunotherapy approaches. Summary; Principal Investigator: Barbara Vanderhyden; Co-investigator: Rebecca Auer
  • Brain aging: Understanding the role of lipid metabolism. Summary; Principal Investigator: Jing Wang
The Ottawa Hospital has scored above the national average in CIHR grant competitions for many years, including 2017, 2016 and 2015

“We’ve been very successful in conducting world-class research and obtaining competitive external grant funding, but none of this would be possible without the generous support of the community,” said Dr. Rashmi Kothary, Deputy Scientific Director of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa. “I would like to thank the many individuals and organizations that have supported our research.”

Learn how you can support research at The Ottawa Hospital and make a difference for patients in Ottawa and around the world.

Addendum: Summaries of additional CIHR grants co-led by researchers at The Ottawa Hospital
  • Organ donation: Understanding how people make decisions when a loved one is dying. Summary; Principal Investigators: Michaël Chassé, Kimberly Jordison, Justin Presseau; Co-Investigators: Ian Ball, Jamie Brehaut, Karen Burns, Frederick D'Aragon, Sonny Dhanani, Shane English, Dean Fergusson, Marie-Chantal Fortin, Simon Kitto, Gregory Knoll, François Lauzier, Alvin Li, Claudio Martin, Maureen Meade, Aimee Sarti, Sam Shemie, Alexis Turgeon, Matthew Weiss
  • Staying healthy after surgery: Understanding and preventing long-term health problems in older people after surgery. Summary; Principal Investigators: Duminda Wijeysundera, Shabbir Alibhai, Peter Jüni, Daniel McIsaac; Co-Investigators: William Beattie, Rodney Breau, Vincent Chan, Peter Choi, Stephen Choi, Hance Clarke, Irfan Dhalla, Hossam El Beheiry, Ronald George, Wanrudee Isaranuwatchai, Sindhu Johnson, Erin Kennedy, Karim Ladha, Manoj Lalu, Gerald Lebovic, David Mazer, Stuart Mccluskey, Martine Puts, Alice Wei

The Ottawa Hospital: Inspired by research. Driven by compassion


The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care. See www.ohri.ca for more information about research at The Ottawa Hospital.

University of Ottawa: —A crossroads of cultures and ideas


The University of Ottawa is home to over 50,000 students, faculty and staff, who live, work and study in both French and English. Our campus is a crossroads of cultures and ideas, where bold minds come together to inspire game-changing ideas. We are one of Canada’s top 10 research universities—our professors and researchers explore new approaches to today’s challenges. One of a handful of Canadian universities ranked among the top 200 in the world, we attract exceptional thinkers and welcome diverse perspectives from across the globe. www.uottawa.ca

Media Contact


Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253
jganton@ohri.ca