Researchers and research staff honoured for outstanding work in cancer clinical trials, emergency medicine, cell sorting and tissue collection

April 29, 2020

A number of outstanding researchers and research teams have been honoured through The Ottawa Hospital’s Excellence Awards program for 2020. They include the Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) program, Senior Clinical Research Associate in Emergency Medicine Research Manya Charette, Cell Sorting and Flow Cytometry Core Facility, and the Global Tissue Consent and Collection Platform.

“Research allows us to offer new therapies to our patients and improve health and patient care at The Ottawa Hospital and around the world,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa. “I congratulate all the winners on their outstanding work, as well as all the excellent nominees.”


Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) program – Research Excellence Team Award

Rethinking Clinical Trials (REaCT) programThe REaCT Program compares established standard-of-care cancer therapies in real-world settings, with a focus on performing pragmatic randomized controlled trials with patient- focused outcomes. Since 2014, the program has opened 19 clinical trials and randomized over 2,500 patients. Their research suggests that some cancer treatments may be just as effective when given less often, and indeed one study recently showed that less frequent administration of one drug was associated with better outcomes. These findings could reduce both side-effects and treatment costs. Collaborative teamwork is at the core of the REaCT program—every member of the team is involved in all stages of trial design, implementation, data collection and interpretation. Patients are surveyed to help identify which research questions are most important to them, and are also involved in trial design. Team members: Mark Clemons, Angel Arnaout, Rebecca Auer, Brian Hutton, Dean Fergusson, Lisa Vandermeer, Carol Stober, Marta Sienkiewicz, Deanna Saunders, Michelle Liu.

Manya Charette – Inspire Award for Outstanding Clinical Research Staff Member

As a Senior Clinical Research Associate in Emergency Medicine working with Dr. Christian Vaillancourt and his team, Manya has tried to create a supportive environment that welcomes input and suggestions from the whole team. She welcomes and orients new team members and supports them in navigating The Ottawa Hospital’s research institute and their new role. She encourages and facilitates her colleagues’ aspirations for personal growth, learning and higher education. She works hard to establish relationships with external study collaborators including paramedics, patients and ambulance call takers.   Manya took the lead when their team was the first at The Ottawa Hospital to submit an ethics application through the centralized provincial body Clinical Trials Ontario, and helped clarify and improve some of their processes. She went on to give a presentation to staff at the hospital’s research institute on the benefits of that process.

Cell Sorting and Flow Cytometry Core Facility– Innovation and Creativity

Since his appointment as Manager of the Cell Sorting and Flow Cytometry Core Facility in 2018, Certified Cytometrist Fernando Ortiz has provided essential support to many research projects conducted at The Ottawa Hospital. In addition to modernising the technical capacity of existing cell sorting equipment, he has also maximised the output of the facility by regularly operating at 80-90 percent capacity and improving efficiency. He also regularly connects researchers who are using similar methods. This allows them to learn from each other and optimize their processes, decreasing their expenses. This Core Facility has boosted scientific productivity at the hospital by increasing efficiency and yields, reducing labour costs, minimising time required for experimental design, sample preparation, data acquisition and analysis.

Global Tissue Consent and Collection Platform– Healthier Populations

The Global Tissue Consent and Collection Platform (GTC) launched in October 2019 is a new way of integrating research into care, and may be unique in Canada. It streamlines the process for consenting and collecting human tissue for research purposes from patients undergoing procedures at the hospital. This new platform reduces burden on staff and saves costs by having surgeons consent patients during a standard of care consent for surgery, having a single Tissue Navigator manages tissue collection and distribution process, and gives more patients the opportunity to take part in research. After the platform was implemented, only seven percent of the first 100 patients declined to participate. Six research studies have been on-boarded to the platform with an additional three in process.  Team members: Rebecca Auer, James Villeneuve, Edita Delic, Iris Teo, Barbara Vanderhyden, GTC Steering Committee members: Angel Arnaout, Joel Werier, Rodney Breau, Stephanie Johnson, Michael Fung-Kee-Fung, Carolyn Nessim, Neil Reaume, Jason Pantarotto, Jason Wasserman, Bryan Lo, William Parks, Denis Garvin, Alan Forster, Jean-Simon Diallo, Barbara Vanderhyden, Jonathan Lee, Jocelyn Cote, Raphael Saginur, Nancy Camack, Harmon Sekhon, Anna Tisch.


Many excellent nominations were received for The Ottawa Hospital’s Excellence Team Awards. The nominees for the Research Excellence Team Award include:

Aging Innovation in Perioperative Medicine and Surgery (AIMS) Research Group: Daniel McIsaac, Emily Hladkowicz, Ivy Salter, David Yachnin, Aysha Thomas, Tyler Kung, Julia Shaw, Brittany Warren, Kristin Dorrance, Kathryne DesAutels, Allen Huang, Husein Moloo, Luke Lavallee

Centre for Journalology: David Moher, Kelly Cobey, Manoj Lulu, Samantha Cukier, Stefanie Haustein, Matthew McInnes, Daniella Rice, Larissa Shamseer, Marc Avey

CAR-T cell (CLIC-1901) for the Treatment of Patients with Relapsed/Refractory CD19 Positive Hematological Malignancies: Liana Medynski, Ricardo Marius, Dominique Vaillant, Kang Hu, Xiajuan Gao, Piriya Yoganathan, John Bell, Alice Black, Sheryl McDiarmid, Kelly Hand, Harold Atkins, Manoj Lalu, Dean Fergusson, Joshua Montroy, Patient advisors.

Nominees for the Inspire Clinical Research Staff Award include:

Sara Abdallah

Nicole Etherington

Sharon Kelly

Katie McIlquham

Penny Phillips

Katherine Reilly

Meaghan Serjeant

Kathy VandemHeen

Ruth R. White

Suzannah Wojcik

The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s top learning and research hospitals, where excellent care is inspired by research and driven by compassion. As the third-largest employer in Ottawa, our support staff, researchers, nurses, physicians, and volunteers never stop seeking solutions to the most complex health-care challenges. Our multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, attracts some of the most influential scientific minds from around the world. Backed by generous support from the community, we are committed to providing the world-class, compassionate care we would want for our loved ones.  

Media Contact 

Amelia Buchanan 
Senior Communication Specialist 
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute 
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73687 
Cell: 613-297-8315 


Disease and research area tags: Cancer, Emergency medicine