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Ottawa Health Research Institute holds Annual General Meeting and welcomes new CEO

September 24, 2007

The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) today held its Annual General Meeting, released its Annual Report for 2006-2007 and introduced its new CEO and Scientific Director, Dr. Duncan Stewart, to the local health research community.

Figures released in the Annual Report reveal that the OHRI has grown to become one of Canada’s most successful health research institutes, with:

• More than 1,300 scientists, clinical investigators, trainees and staff
• Nearly $80 million in funding, including $67 million in external grants, contracts and salary awards
• Approximately 1,300 active clinical research studies
• More than 30 patents filed over the last decade and six companies started

“As the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, the OHRI’s mission is to excel in research, education and innovative patient care,” said OHRI Board Chair Jacquelin Holzman. “We’ve certainly accomplished these objectives this year, and with support from the community, through The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, we’ve also been able to open new facilities for stem cell, vision and kidney research. Our previous CEO, Dr. Ronald Worton, has certainly left an outstanding legacy and the next phase of development, under the leadership of Dr. Stewart, could be even more exciting.”

At a reception following the Annual General Meeting, Dr. Stewart gave a brief presentation on his own research in regenerative medicine and his vision for the OHRI. He described how his group developed several novel cell and gene therapies for cardiovascular disease and initiated Canada’s first clinical trials in this area. He also presented exciting new progress in the development of a stem cell-based approach to treat life-threatening lung injury. This work was initiated during Dr. Stewart’s tenure at St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, but as he moves his research operations to Ottawa, this will continue at the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research.

“In the last 10 years we have probably learned more about the fundamental biology underlying health and disease than in the previous 100 years put together, but I believe that it is the research of the next 10 years that will use this new knowledge to truly transform health care,” said Dr. Stewart. “The OHRI is at the forefront of this brave new era and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Institute during this time.”

“As we move forward, I think a key determinant of our success will be creating an environment that encourages the translation of knowledge into better therapy and health care delivery,” he added. “This will involve strengthening collaborations between basic laboratory researchers, clinicians and health services researchers so that fundamental discoveries can be effectively harnessed to improve patient care. Moving along this path will ensure that the people of Ottawa continue to be among the first to benefit from advances in health research.”

Along with his appointment as CEO and Scientific Director of the OHRI, Dr. Stewart is also Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He will also continue to practice cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Media Contact
Jennifer Paterson
Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Phone: 613-798-5555 x 19691
Mobile: 613-614-5253
Email: jpaterson@ohri.ca