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, Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology and Regenerative Medicine Programs
Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
uOttawa Jr Research Chair in Innovative Translational Research, (2021-2023) Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society Career Scientist (2022-2024)
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
madfoster@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.


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 a laboratory model of sepsis for the National Preclinical Sepsis Platform.


Forough Jahandideh

Forough Jahandideh

Research Associate
fjahandideh@ohri.ca

Background

Forough completed her PhD on cardiometabolic benefits of food-derived bioactive peptides in rat models of hypertension, obesity, and metabolic syndrome at the University of Alberta. Forough then completed her postdoctoral studies on preclinical models of sepsis in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at the University of Alberta. Forough joined the Blueprint team in January 2023.

Projects

Forough is leading the coordination and conduct of preclinical multilaboratory studies for different disease models (ALI, sepsis). She is coordinating preclinical sepsis studies between 6 centers across Canada through the National Preclinical Sepsis Platform (NPSP), which is establishing and optimizing a laboratory model of sepsis through this work, the team aims to improve the translatability of preclinical studies and work through filling the knowledge gaps in this area.


Brian Dorus

Brian Dorus

Clinical Research Assistant II
brdorus@ohri.ca

Background

Brian completed his BSc in Biochemistry, his BASc in Chemical Engineering (Biotechnology program) and his MSc in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ottawa. Brian Joined the BLUEPRINT team in January 2023.

Projects

Brian primarily works on the VAMPIRE project, which evaluates the success rate of translation from preclinical research to clinical application. This project also entails identifying potential factors that can influence successful translation.


Sabryna Dumont

Sabryna Dumont

Junior Research Technician
sdumont@ohri.ca

Background

Sabryna completed her BSc (Honours) in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Sabryna joined the Blueprint team in January 2023.

Projects

Sabryna works with preclinical models of Acute Lung Injury (ALI) with a focus on biological sex differences and in models of sepsis for the National Preclinical Sepsis Platform (NPSP) multi-laboratory project.


Grace Fox

Grace Fox

SPOR Research Assistant with the Ottawa Methods Center
grfox@ohri.ca

Background

Grace worked as a summer student, research assistant and graduate student for the Blueprint Translational research group. She recently finished her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Ottawa and has taken on a new role at the Ottawa Methods Center where she helps researchers and patient advisors navigate patient engagement in research.

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. Grace focused her MSc thesis on patient partner recognition, specifically financial compensation.


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

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, 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.


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

Anesthesiology Resident
atieu@toh.ca

Background

Alvin completed a BMSC and MSc at Western University. He completed his MD-PhD at the University of Ottawa and is currently an anesthesiology resident at the Ottawa Hospital.

Projects

For his PhD, Alvin evaluated the therapeutic efficacy and biodistribution of extracellular vesicles derived from mesenchymal stromal cells to treat acute and chronic lung diseases. His project combined clinical research methodology and basic science techniques.

Funding

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canadian Vascular Network Scholar Award


Hannah Wotherspoon

Hannah Wotherspoon

Master's Student
hwotherspoon@ohri.ca

Background

Hannah is currently pursuing an MSc in Health Systems from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. Prior to this, she completed a BSc. Honours in Biological Science with a minor in Neuroscience from the University of Guelph.

Projects

Her thesis work is focused on understanding the decision-making process of clinical researchers when deciding to launch an early-phase clinical trial.


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


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 third year of medical school at uOttawa. Previously, he completed his undergraduate degree in pharmacology at the University of Alberta.

Projects

He joined the Blueprint team in June 2022 and worked on a patient engagement project regarding novel stroke therapies. This summer, he is helping on a scoping review project about requirements that worldwide regulatory bodies impose on preclinical cell therapies for the purpose of trialing them in humans.

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship 2022, 2023


Lobna Al-Qaysi

Lobna Al-Qaysi

CO-OP Research Assistant
loal@ohri.ca

Background

Lobna is in her third year of undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa, pursuing an Honours BSc in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, with an option in genomics. She joined the Blueprint team in January 2023.

Projects

Lobna is working on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses for Preclinical studies (PRISMA-Pre) project to help create reporting guidelines for preclinical systematic reviews. She is also helping with projects related to patient engagement in research, where patients join as active collaborators or partners in the research process.


Armita Kalani

Armita Kalani

Undergraduate Student
akala007@ohri.ca

Background

Armita is a third-year undergraduate student in Honours BSc in Translational and Molecular Medicine (TMM) at the University of Ottawa. She has been working with the BLUEPRINT group since the winter of 2023 in completing her rotations project.

Projects

Armita is working on investigating the biological sex differences of organ dysfunction in a laboratory model of sepsis.


Brittany French

Brittany French

Summer Student
brfrench@ohri.ca

Background

Brittany completed a BSc in Biology at Concordia University, MA in Philosophy at Simon Fraser University, and a BA in Classics at St. John’s College. She joined the Blueprint team in summer 2023 through the OHRI summer student program.

Projects

Brittany is currently working on the Patient Engagement in Basic Sciences (PEBS) project in order to bridge the gap between patient partners and preclinical researchers.


Hannah Laquerre

Hannah Laquerre

Summer Student
halaquerre@ohri.ca

Background

Hannah is a student at Dalhousie University where she recently completed her second year in Microbiology and Immunology. She began as a summer student with the Blueprint Team in 2022.

Projects

Hannah is currently working on the Patient Engagement in Basic Science (PEBS) project, which focuses on developing a framework to guide patients and caregivers as collaborators in preclinical research. In the past, she has also worked on the Making Patient Partnerships A Reality in Very Early Phase Clinical Trials (MARVEL) program, which involved incorporating patient engagement for upcoming clinical trials at different stages of the development process.

Funding

BioCanRx Summer Studentship Award


Amira Brehaut

Amira Brehaut

Summer Student
abrehaut@ohri.ca

Background

Amira is a second-year student at the University of Ottawa studying psychology. She joined the team as a summer student in May of 2023.

Projects

Amira is working on several reviews related to patient engagement in preclinical research which aim to promote patients’ knowledge and priorities throughout the research process.


Partha Patel

Partha Patel

Summer Student
papatel@ohri.ca

Background

Partha is in his first year of medical school at UOttawa. Prior to this, he completed his BSc in Neuroscience from McGill University and a MSc in Global Health from McMaster University.

Projects

Partha is working with the team involved with Patient Engagement in the National Preclinical Sepsis Platform (NPSP).

Funding

uOttawa Faculty of Medicine Summer Studentship


John Le

John Le

Summer Student
johle@ohri.ca

Background

John Le is a medical student at the University of Ottawa (Class of 2025). He completed his BSc in Life Sciences at Queen’s University in 2021.

Projects

John is working with Dr. Michael Verret on the opioid minimization project. He is working on a systematic review assessing the impact of dexmedetomidine on quality of recovery, patient-centered outcomes, and adverse events.

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.