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Dr. Duncan Stewart receives OCRI Research Award

April 9, 2010

Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), has received a prestigious award from Ottawa’s leading economic development agency. Dr. Stewart received the OCRI Research Award for “his many discoveries in vascular biology and genetic engineering as well as his pioneering new therapies that enhance the repair functionality of cells”.

Dr. Stewart has a long track record of making “world-first” discoveries in vascular biology and developing new therapies. He was the first to make an association between pulmonary hypertension, an often lethal disease, and endothelin-1 (a factor produced by the endothelial cells lining the inner surface of all blood vessels). This crucial discovery prompted the development of a novel therapy that is now routinely used in the clinic to treat this disease. Dr. Stewart was also the first to recognize the importance of nitric oxide, another endothelial factor, in stimulating blood vessel growth and protecting the tiny blood vessels in the lungs from injury. Based on this work, Dr. Stewart has launched a ground-breaking clinical trial of an “engineered cell therapy” for pulmonary hypertension, and he is leading a similar trial for heart attack that is expected to start in Ottawa later this year. He has also played a key role in bringing dozens of researchers from four local institutions together on the Translation of Innovation into Medical Excellence (TIMEx) project. Worth $65M, TIMEx is the largest grant-funded health research project ever in Ottawa.

“I am honoured to receive this award and to be a part of the outstanding research and innovation community in Ottawa,” said Dr. Stewart, who is also the Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “The research we are doing at The Ottawa Hospital plays a crucial role in helping us provide world-class health care to the people of Ottawa. It also plays an important role in stimulating Ottawa’s knowledge-based economy, as our scientists have started a number of successful companies and have many partnerships with the business community.”

A number of other health researchers were also recognized along with Dr. Stewart at the 15th Annual OCRI Awards Gala, including Dr. Robert Korneluk of CHEO, who also received the Research Award. For more information, see http://ocriblogs.com/2010/04/ocri-awards-honour-business-excellence.

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the University’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The OHRI includes more than 1,500 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. www.ohri.ca

Media contact
Jennifer Paterson
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-798-5555 ext. 73325
jpaterson@ohri.ca