BLUEPRINT Team

The BLUEPRINT Translational Research Group was established in 2017 at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, in collaboration with the Ottawa Methods Centre.


Investigators

Dr. Manoj Lalu
Co-Lead Investigator

Dr. Manoj Lalu, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Anesthesiologist, Associate Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology and Regenerative Medicine Programs
Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
uOttawa Jr Research Chair in Innovative Translational Research
mlalu@toh.ca

Background

Dr. Lalu is an Anesthesiologist at The Ottawa Hospital and an Associate Scientist the OHRI (Clinical Epidemiology and Regenerative Medicine Programs). He is an Assistant Professor in uOttawa’s Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine with a cross-appointment in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. His current interests revolve around improving the preclinical to clinical translational pathway. This includes conducting preclinical and clinical systematic reviews, as well as meta-research on the conduct and reporting of laboratory based studies. He co-supervises dry-lab projects summarized below in the description of current BLUEPRINT activities. In addition, his wet lab is currently conducting multi-centre preclinical studies, and investigating extracellular vesicles in sepsis and lung injury using murine models.

Dr. Dean Fergusson
Co-Lead Investigator

Dr. Dean Fergusson, PhD, MHA, FCAHS

Senior Scientist, Director of CEP, Full Professor
OHRI/uOttawa Clinical Epidemiology Program Endowed Chair
dafergusson@ohri.ca

Background

Dr. Fergusson is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program (CEP) at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and a Full Professor in the Department of Medicine with cross-appointments to the School of Epidemiology & Public Health and the Department of Surgery at the University of Ottawa. He is renowned internationally for his scholarship and leadership in two major areas: 1) transfusion medicine and transfusion alternatives; and 2) innovative methodological research into the design and analysis of clinical trials. Dr. Fergusson has been intimately involved in the conception and development of the MSC clinical research program at The Ottawa Hospital. He is also responsible for pioneering the clinical trial accelerator concept for novel biotherapeutics that includes the establishment of a multi-disciplinary research approach and infrastructure to accelerate the translation of MSCs from the pre-clinical to clinical evaluation space. The accelerator concept has placed The Ottawa Hospital at the forefront of developing MSC trials in the fields of cardiovascular disease, neonatology, and critical care medicine.


Dr. Justin Presseau
Investigator

Dr. Justin Presseau, PhD

Scientist, Associate Professor
(+1) 613-737-8899 x73821
jpresseau@ohri.ca

Background

Dr. Presseau is a Scientist and health psychologist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Associate Professor in the School of Epidemiology & Public Health and School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa. He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Aberdeen (UK). His research draws upon theories and approaches from health psychology and behavioural medicine to develop and evaluate interventions focused on changing healthcare professional behaviours and health behaviours of patients and the public.


Team Members - Staff

Joshua Montroy

Joshua Montroy

Research Associate
jmontroy@ohri.ca

Background

Josh completed his MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, working with the Centre for Transfusion Research to investigate the use of lysine analogues during surgery. He also has a BScH in Biochemistry. He joined the BLUEPRINT team in 2017.

Projects

Josh is the project manager for the group, as well as the primary grant writer and data analyst. He is currently helping with a number of systematic reviews and meta-research projects.


Mohamad Sobh

Mohamad Sobh

Clinical Research Associate
msobh@ohri.ca

Background

Mohamad completed his University studies in Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France. He holds a Masters degree in Biological Modeling, a Masters degree in Drug Development, and a European Diploma in Pharmaceutical Medicine. He has more than 14 years experience in Clinical Trials development, He joined BLEUEPRINT Team in March 2020.

Projects

Mohamad works under a collaborative project between The University of Ottawa, Faculty of Medicine, and the BLUEPRINT Team, namely the EXCELERATOR program. He leads the operational part of the program together with Josh Montroy, with an objective to enhance and enable efficient translation of therapies from bench to early-phase clinical trials.


Alvin Tieu

Alvin Tieu

MD/PhD Candidate
atieu069@uottawa.ca

Background

Alvin completed a BMSc and MSc at Western University. He is currently a student with MD-PhD Program at the University of Ottawa and is funded by both the Vanier Scholarship and the Canadian Vascular Network Scholar Award.

Projects

For his PhD, Alvin will be evaluating the therapeutic efficacy and biodistribution of exosomes derived from mesenchymal stem cells to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome. His project combines clinical research methodology with basic science techniques. With the BLUEPRINT Translational Research Team, he is leading systematic reviews to investigate the protective potential of extracellular vesicles in a variety of preclinical disease models.


Gisell Castillo

Gisell Castillo

Clinical Research Coordinator
gicastillo@ohri.ca

Background

Gisell holds a BSc in Psychology from the University of Toronto and an MA in Social Psychology from Carleton University. Gisell joined the BLUEPRINT team in May 2018.

Projects

Gisell primarily conducts qualitative research studies to identify barriers and enablers associated with various health behaviours. She has contributed to the implementation diagnostics component of the EXCELERATOR program for multiple research projects.


Madison Foster

Madison Foster

Research Assistant
mfoster@ohri.ca

Background

Madison completed her BSc (Honours) in Biopharmaceutical Sciences (co-op) and her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. Madison joined the BLUEPRINT team in December 2017.

Projects

Madison is involved in the Patient Engagement in Basic Science research program, which aims to build a framework providing guidance on patient engagement in laboratory research through conduct of a scoping review, interview study and focus groups. Madison is also working on the Making Patient Partnerships A Reality in Very Early Phase Clinical TriaLs (MARVEL) program, which will involve developing patient engagement programs for four upcoming clinical trials.


Victoria Hunniford

Victoria Hunniford

Research Assistant
vhunniford@ohri.ca

Background

Victoria completed her BSc (Honours) in Biology and her MSc in Health Systems at the University of Ottawa. She has been working with the BLUEPRINT Translational Research Group since November 2019.

Projects

As part of her MSc thesis, she completed a systematic review of preclinical multicenter studies. Currently, Victoria is working on and helping lead an extension to PRISMA for in vivo preclinical experiments. The program for this extension involves the conduct of a systematic review and reporting assessment of preclinical systematic reviews; and a Delphi exercise to determine consensus on items that should be included in the extension. In another project (nicknamed VAMPIRE) funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Victoria is looking at the success rate of translation from preclinical research to clinical evaluation; as well as identifying potential factors associated with translational success.


Damian Chwastek

Damian Chwastek

Research Technician
dchwastek@ohri.ca

Background

Damian completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Ottawa. He currently holds a BSc in Translational and Molecular Medicine, alongside an MSc in Neuroscience. He joined the BLUEPRINT group in February 2021.

Projects

Damian currently works as a coordinator for the group’s national preclinical multicenter studies. He is also involved in the lab in working to assess the biodistribution of exosomes in models acute lung injury, alongside helping develop a new mouse model of COVID-19 induced acute lung injury.


Emily Rose Thompson

Emily Rose Thompson

Research Assistant
emithompson@ohri.ca

Background

Emily completed her BSc (Honours) in Mathematics and MSc Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. She joined the BLUEPRINT team in January 2021.

Projects

Emily is primarily involved in the team’s patient engagement projects. She is currently working on the Making Patient Partnerships A Reality in Very Early Phase Clinical TriaLs (MARVEL) program, looking at how to incorporate patient engagement across four clinical trials at different stages of the development process. Likewise, she is working on the Patient Engagement in Basic Science (PEBS) interview study, which aims to develop a framework for patient engagement in early pre-clinical studies.


Grace Fox

Grace Fox

Master's Student
grfox@ohri.ca

Background

Grace was a summer student for two summers (2018/19) and has recently finished her undergraduate degree at Queen's University studying Biology with a minor in Mathematics. She then joined our team as a Research Assistant for one year prior to starting her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa in Fall 2020.

Projects

Grace's research interests include patient engagement along the research continuum. She also worked on a clinical trial focused on virtual care as a method of monitoring recovery at home after surgery.


MengQi Zhang

MengQi Zhang

Summer Student
mzhan178@uottawa.ca

Background

MengQi has been working with the BLUEPRINT team since fall of 2019. He is currently a medical student at the University of Ottawa (class of 2023). He completed his BSc at Western University in 2019, where he was involved in research with the department of physiology and pharmacology.

Projects

MengQi is working on the biological sex/sepsis preclinical systematic review, where he is looking at sex-dependent differences in sepsis. He is also working on a systematic review of perioperative inflammatory biomarkers in older andd frail patients.


Nikesh Chander

Nikesh Chander

Summer Student
nchan105@uottawa.ca

Background

Nik is currently in the second year of an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Ottawa. He has been working with the BLUEPRINT group since the summer of 2020, working as a volunteer research assistant during his studies.

Projects

Nik is currently working on the Predatory Journals project with the goal of characterizing and assessing the impact of Randomized Controlled Trials published in Predatory Anesthesia journals.


Kevin Hu

Kevin Hu

Student Volunteer
huk29@mcmaster.ca

Background

Kevin has been working with the BLUEPRINT team from the end of Summer 2020. He is currently a 2nd year undergraduate in the BHSc program at McMaster.

Projects

Kevin has been focusing on systematic reviews on the effects of mesenchymal stromal cell derived extracellular vesicles on animal models of lung injury and myocardial infarction.


Ciel Khoo

Ciel Khoo

Co-op Research Assistant
ckhoo@ohri.ca

Background

Ciel is in her third undergraduate year, pursuing an honours BSc. in biomedical science at the University of Ottawa. She worked with BLUEPRINT in the winter 2021 term, supervised by Dr.Lalu.

Projects

Ciel is assisting on the biological sex/sepsis preclinical systematic review, which is looking at sex-dependent differences in sepsis interventions. She also aided in the CAR-T Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis.


Administrators

Jodi Peters

Jodi Peters

Administrator
jpeters@ohri.ca
613-737-8899 x79842

Background

Jodi Peters has been with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) since 2006. Currently, she is the Executive Assistant to Dr. Dean Fergusson, Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program and Dr. Tim Ramsay, Scientific Director of the Ottawa Methods Centre. Jodi began her career at OHRI as a Research Administrative Assistant for a variety of scientists in both basic and clinical research. Prior to this, she’d acquired 11 years experience as an Administrative Assistant working at Foresters (Toronto, Canada) and Office Team (Ottawa, Canada).


Sarah Schlievert

Sarah Schlievert

Administrator
sschlievert@ohri.ca
613-737-8899 (x75083)

Background

Sarah began her career at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) in February of 2017. She is the Clinical Epidemiology Program’s reception and is the administrator for Dr Lalu, Kyeremanteng, Boet, Squires, Hawken and Taljaard. Prior to joining the OHRI Sarah was an Electoral Coordination Agent, Voting Process and Services to Candidates Expert, and Poll Bag Auditor for Elections Canada.