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East meets West in Ottawa for research symposium

April 11, 2014

Ottawa – The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with China’s Macau University of Science and Technology that will advance research into women’s reproductive health, regenerative medicine and cancer.

Bruce Lazenby, President and Chief Executive Officer of Invest Ottawa, and other dignitaries were present for the formal signing of the MOU that is designed to put in place a framework for the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and Macau University of Science and Technology to collaborate on joint research projects pertaining to women’s reproductive health, regenerative medicine and cancer. The research will explore scientific technologies and innovations for potential clinical treatments, as well as traditional Chinese medicines that are used for illnesses ranging from cancer to blood diseases.

“This collaboration between leading researchers in Ottawa and Macau has the potential to help women around the world with any number of reproductive health problems they may be experiencing,” said Mr. Lazenby. “This kind of international collaboration is the future of scientific research.”

The MOU was signed at a three day workshop in Ottawa that is being hosted jointly by The Ottawa Hospital, its Research Institute and The University of Ottawa. Called “Improving Women’s Reproductive Health through International and Interdisciplinary Research Partnerships,” the workshop features world-renowned scientists and health professionals from academic and research centres in Ottawa, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. During the workshop, top researchers and scientists will exchange ideas and discuss joint projects and research partnerships with colleagues based in Ottawa.

Topics to be discussed include:

  • Women’s cancers, such as breast, ovarian, endometrial and cervical
  • Contraception and fertility enhancements
  • Pregnancy complications, including preterm labour, preeclampsia and intrauterine growth restrictions
  • Advances in women's reproductive health research
“We are excited to grow our relationship with Macau University of Science and Technology,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital, and Professor of Medicine at The University of Ottawa. “There is so much to gain through this collaboration in terms of sharing knowledge and working on joint projects together to ultimately improve the lives of patients.”

A unique facet to the MOU is the fact that it includes the study of functional food compounds and traditional Chinese medicines that have been used to combat human disease for thousands of years. Researchers in Ottawa and Macau plan to use traditional Chinese medicines in combination with modern scientific techniques to advance research into women`s reproductive health issues, regenerative medicine and cancer.

“Traditional Chinese medicine is thought to help with diseases such as cancer, and this agreement will allow us to test this scientifically” said Dr. Ben Tsang, Chair of the International Workshop on Women’s Reproductive Health Research, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, and director of the Reproductive Biology Unit in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The University of Ottawa. “This is the first MOU of its kind between Macau University of Science and Technology and a Canadian medical research centre.”

The end goal of the MOU is to establish collaborative research centres in Ottawa and Macau, where scientists can easily share the expertise found in each country on questions of women’s reproductive health, regenerative medicine and cancer in order to identify new treatment strategies. The MOU takes effect immediately.

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. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

About the Macau University of Science and Technology
Founded in 2000, the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) has grown with vigor. As the largest multi-disciplinary university in Macau, MUST is ranked among the Top 100 Universities in the cross-strait region. Implementing the policy of according equal importance to teaching and research so as to cultivate talent in diverse fields, the University encourages its staff to conduct cutting edge research to new heights and international excellence. MUST is situated in the scenic Macau island of Taipa.

Media Contact:
Joel Baglole
Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-737-8899 x73325
613-293-1689 (cell)
jbaglole@ohri.ca