BLUEPRINT Team

The BLUEPRINT Translational Research Group was established in 2016 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 Associate 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 in the description of current BLUEPRINT activities. In addition, his wet lab is currently conducting multicentre (multilaboratory) preclinical studies and investigating 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 also the Scientific Lead for the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit which enables and supports patient-oriented research throughout Ontario. 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 behavioural scientist 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.


Staff

Madison Foster

Madison Foster

Clinical Research Associate
BLUEPRINT Translational Research Group Project Manager
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 the Project Manager for the group. Currently, she is working on several of the team’s Patient Engagement programs, which focus on studying and facilitating patient engagement (involving patients and caregivers as collaborators throughout the research process). Through this work the team aims to better align their research with patient priorities and interests, as well as create guidance for patient engagement.


Meredith Conboy

Meredith Conboy

Research Assistant III
mconboy@ohri.ca

Background

Meredith completed her BSc (Honours) in Biopharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Ottawa and her MSc in Population Medicine (Epidemiology) at the University of Guelph. Meredith joined the BLUEPRINT team in March 2022.

Projects

Meredith is involved in the Making Patient Partnerships a Reality in Very Early Phase Clinical TriaLs (MARVEL) research program. MARVEL aims to develop a platform for meaningful patient engagement in early phase clinical trials by building patient panels for three different research programs and then describing the methods, processes, activities, and lessons learned through a series of manuscripts. Meredith is also working on Cellular precOnditioning for post-Surgical Myocardial Ischemic Complications (COSMIC), a phase I clinical trial that aims to test the safety and feasibility of using stem cells as a preconditioning treatment to try and reduce cardiac complications following a noncardiac surgery.


Maryam Ghiasi

Maryam Ghiasi

Research Assistant III
mghiasi@ohri.ca

Background

Maryam holds a Doctorate in Dentistry from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and also completed her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa. She joined the BLUEPRINT team in March 2022.

Projects

Maryam primarily coordinates Systematic Reviews in the team. She is also helping with the Patient Engagement in Basic Science (PEBS) research program, aiming to develop a framework providing guidance on patient engagement in laboratory research.


Mackenzie Wilson

Mackenzie Wilson

Clinical Research Coordinator
macwilson@ohri.ca

Background

Mackenzie completed her BSc (Honours) in Biomedical Sciences with a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences and her Master of Public Health at the University of Guelph. Mackenzie joined the BLUEPRINT team in 2020.

Projects

Mackenzie's work focuses on the intersection of behavioural and implementation science and public health, involving key stakeholders to improve health interventions and outcomes. Mackenzie is involved in the team's patient engagement projects, using qualitative methods and working closely with patients and caregivers to inform health economic and program evaluations.


Doreen Engelberts

Doreen Engelberts

Senior Research Technician
dengelberts@ohri.ca

Background

Doreen is a Veterinarian Technician who has spent 25 years in the Dr. Brian Kavanagh laboratory at the Hospital for Sick Children, as Lab Research Project Coordinator investigating Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and Ventilator Induced Lung Injury (VILI).

Projects

Doreen is currently working in the wet lab in Acute Lung Injury (ALI) looking at sex differences, COVID 19 induced lung injury model and helping to standardize the FIP Sepsis model for the NPSP multi-center project.


Graduate Students

Michael Verret

Michael Verret

MD, MSc, PhD candidate, FRCPC
Anesthesiologist, Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval
michael.verret.2@ulaval.ca

Background

Dr. Verret is an anesthesiologist who recently completed his FRCPC as well as his MSc in Epidemiology (Department of Anesthesiology, Université Laval, supervised by Dr. Alexis Turgeon) within the Clinician Investigator Program. Dr. Verret was recruited to the BLUEPRINT Translational Research Group (OHRI) and started his PhD at the uOttawa School of Epidemiology and Public Health in September 2021.

Projects

As part of his thesis work, Dr. Verret will work on perioperative opioid minimization strategies aiming at finding effective perioperative interventions to improve patient-centred outcomes and reduce persistent postoperative opioid use. He will be conducting practice surveys, observational studies, scoping reviews, and systematic reviews. He will also be working on transfusion practices aiming at finding optimal perioperative transfusion strategies in non-cardiac surgery.

Funding

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canadian Blood Services


Matthew Jeffers

Matthew Jeffers

PhD Student
mjeffers@ohri.ca

Background

Matthew completed his BSc (Honours) in Psychology at the University of Manitoba before pursuing his MSc in Medicine (Neurosciences) at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Subsequently, Matthew conducted 9 years of research in preclinical models of stroke recovery and rehabilitation as Laboratory Manager to Dr. Dale Corbett and Dr. Gergely Silasi at the University of Ottawa. He initially joined the BLUEPRINT group in the MSc Epidemiology program before fast-tracking to the PhD program and receiving funding from the Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

Projects

Matthew's research interests include optimization of preclinical experimental design and analysis to maximize validity, as well as methods of assessing preclinical evidence to inform decisions to translate novel healthcare interventions to early-phase clinical trials. This includes studying existing regulatory and ethical frameworks surrounding initiation of confirmatory preclinical experiments and first-in-human clinical trials.

Funding

Ontario Graduate Scholarship


Eva Kuhar

Eva Kuhar

Master's Student
ekuhar@ohri.ca

Background

Eva is a first-year graduate student in the University of Ottawa's Cellular and Molecular Medicine program, where she conducts research in the lab of Dr. Manoj Lalu and Dr. Duncan Stewart in the Regenerative Medicine Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI).

Projects

Her thesis work will primarily focus on biological sex differences in preclinical models of acute lung injury (ALI). Previously, she completed a BSc in Biochemistry with a concentration in Molecular Biology and a minor in Psychology from Bishop's University.


Grace Fox

Grace Fox

Master's Student
grfox@ohri.ca

Background

Grace was a summer student for two summers (2018/19) and has 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. Currently, Grace is focusing her thesis on patient partner recognition.


Marc Antonino Albert

Marc Antonino Albert

Master's Student
malbe074@uottawa.ca

Background

Marc has been working with the BLUEPRINT team since January 2022. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Ottawa, pursuing an MSc. Health Systems from the Telfer School of Management. He completed his BSc. in Biomedical Science at the University of Ottawa in 2021, where he was involved in ovarian cancer research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Projects

Marc is currently working on a cross-sectional, observational study to characterize policy documents with citations to Predatory Journal articles across multiple disciplines. His thesis research will also focus on Predatory Journals – specifically with a focus on investigating how the trustworthiness of research is considered by individuals and organizations who prepare public health policy documents.

Funding

SSHRC Canadian Graduate Scholarship


Ayni Sharif

Ayni Sharif

Master's Student
aysharif@ohri.ca

Background

Ayni has completed her honours BSc in Biomedical Sciences and is currently a MSc candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa.

Projects

Ayni’s research interests include bridging the gap among preclinical research, clinical research, and medical treatment. She is working on integrating patient engagement and network meta-analyses as novel approaches to preclinical systematic reviews to potentially improve knowledge translation.

Funding

CIHR Canadian Graduate Scholarship


Alvin Tieu

Alvin Tieu

MD/PhD Candidate
atieu@toh.ca

Background

Alvin completed a BMSc and MSc at Western University. He is currently an MD-PhD Candidate at the University of Ottawa in his final year of medical school.

Projects

For his PhD, Alvin is evaluating the therapeutic efficacy and biodistribution of extracellular vesicles derived from mesenchymal stromal cells to treat acute and chronic lung diseases. 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. In the lab, he is developing a novel, more accessible mouse model of COVID-19 to investigate the pathophysiology and new interventions to combat this devastating illness.

Funding

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canadian Vascular Network Scholar Award


Undergraduate and Medical Students

Benjamin Lam

Benjamin Lam

Medical Student
blam@toh.ca

Background

Benjamin is a medical student at the University of Ottawa.

Projects

He is working with Dr. Michael Verret on the opioid minimization scoping review project, with the aim of improving patient-valued outcomes following surgery. Benjamin has previously worked in biomedical research, and he is eager to translate his skills and competency to the clinical setting. He looks forward to collaborating with patient partners and working towards the betterment of their care.

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship


Ahmed Sadeknury

Ahmed Sadeknury

Co-Op Research Assistant
asade066@uottawa.ca

Background

Ahmed is in his third year of undergraduate studies, pursuing an Honours BSc in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ottawa. He has worked with the team for the winter and summer terms of 2022, supervised by Dr Lalu.

Projects

He is working on the PRISMA-PRE project to help create a reporting guideline for preclinical systematic reviews. He is also helping with projects related to recognizing patients as partners in research.

Funding

BioTalent


Amanda Huynh

Amanda Huynh

Co-Op Research Assistant
ahuyn041@uottawa.ca

Background

Amanda is a third-year undergraduate at the University of Ottawa working towards her Honours BSc in Biology with an option in cellular and molecular biology. She joined the BLUEPRINT team in May 2022.

Projects

She is helping to plan a national multicenter preclinical collaborative that will address acute lung injury (ALI) and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) research. She is also assisting in the development of a learning module in a massive open online course (MOOC) on the ARRIVE reporting guidelines for animal preclinical studies headed by the EQUATOR network.


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 animal models of sepsis.

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship


Claudine Henoud

Claudine Henoud

Summer Student
Claudine Henoud

Background

Claudine joined the BLUEPRINT team at the end of 2021. She is a member of the MD class of 2024 at the University of Ottawa where she also previously completed an HBSc and was involved in translational stem cell research.

Projects

Claudine is currently working on both a preclinical and clinical systematic review. Her projects respectively explore the preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy of mesenchymal stromal cells for improving outcomes in patients with myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease.

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship


Nikesh Chander

Nikesh Chander

Summer Student
nchan105@uottawa.ca

Background

Nik is entering his fourth year of undergraduate studies in an Honours BSc in Translational and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He has been working with the BLUEPRINT group since the summer of 2020 as a volunteer research assistant during his studies.

Projects

Nik is currently working in the wet lab with Dr. Lalu and Dr. Stewart on a project to develop and characterize a more accessible model of COVID-19 in mice. In the past he has also worked on an individual participant data meta-analysis looking at effect modifiers of CAR-T cell therapy, as well as a systematic review investigating randomized controlled trials published in predatory anesthesia journals.

Funding

NSERC Summer Studentship (2022); Canadian Standards Association Summer Studentship (2021)


Myriam Hamtiaux

Myriam Hamtiaux

Summer Student
mhamtiaux@ohri.ca

Background

Myriam is currently an MD2025 candidate at the University of Ottawa. Previously, she completed a BSc in pharmacology at McGill University and subsequently spent a year working as a clinical research coordinator at the CHUM under Dre E. Duceppe's supervision. She has been working with the BLUEPRINT team since the Fall of 2021.

Projects

Myriam is currently working on a scoping review that aims to identify and describe pharmacologic opioid minimization strategies for use during the intraoperative period that are tailored to the needs of surgical patients.


Raj Bapuji

Raj Bapuji

Summer Student
rbapu098@uottawa.ca

Background

Raj is going into his second year of medical school at uOttawa. Previously, he did his undergraduate degree in pharmacology at the University of Alberta. He is working for BLUEPRINT as part of the Faculty of Medicine’s summer studentship program.

Projects

Raj is currently assisting on a project that involves engaging patient partners in a pre-clinical systematic review of a stroke intervention.

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship


Malvika Argawal

Malvika Argawal

Summer Student
magar025@uottawa.ca

Background

Malvika completed a BSc in Life Sciences from McMaster University and is currently a second year medical student at the University of Ottawa. She is joining the BLUEPRINT Team as a summer student through the Faculty of Medicine's Summer Studentship Program.

Projects

Malvika is assisting with the Virtual Recovery After Surgery (VRAS) program studies, which involve optimizing the VRAS program to further improve care and decrease hospital readmission rates and acute care visits. Specifically, she will be helping with a qualitative focus group study and a systematic review centered around VRAS optimization.

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship


Administrators

Jodi Peters

Jodi Peters

Executive Assistant
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 Peters

Sarah Peters

Administrator
sapeters@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.