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New scientist profile: Dr. Marisa Azad aims to improve care for artificial joint infections


January 18, 2023

Dr. Marisa Azad“A new knee or hip is supposed to improve your life, so if it gets infected, that’s devastating. By learning more about these infections, we can provide better care,” -Dr. Marisa AzadInfectious disease physician Dr. Marisa Azad sees patients whose artificial knees or hips have become infected nightmares. These periprosthetic joint infections (PJI) are rare but devastating, and often result in additional surgeries and repeat infections.

PJI is hard to get rid of completely because a single bacterial cell can start another flare-up. There’s a lot we don’t know about PJI, and Dr. Azad’s research focuses on the best ways to prevent it, diagnose it, treat it and keep it from coming back. She’s particularly interested in using rapid testing of the joint fluid to more accurately diagnose PJI and identify the bacteria behind the infection.

Dr. Azad is part of a multidisciplinary team of infectious disease specialists and orthopedic surgeons that will soon be launching Canada’s first outpatient PJI clinic at The Ottawa Hospital. This clinic will provide centralized care for patients with PJI, which is often hard to treat in the community, and will provide opportunities for further research.

“A new knee or hip is supposed to improve your life, so if it gets infected, that’s devastating. By learning more about these infections, we can provide better care,”  said Dr. Azad

Dr. Azad was recently appointed as an associate scientist in the Chronic Disease Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. She is an infectious disease physician at The Ottawa Hospital and associate professor at the University of Ottawa.

The Ottawa Hospital is a leading academic health, research and learning hospital proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa and supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.