Why 2007 was a memorable year for both The Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Senators

The Ottawa Hospital is celebrating 100 moments to mark the 100th anniversary of the Civic Campus. Moment #55 celebrates when Dr. Duncan Stewart joined the hospital in 2007 and his legacy of research leadership.

June 28, 2024

Dr. Duncan Stewart wearing an Ottawa Senators jerseyAfter a full day of science and strategizing at OHRI's Scientific Retreat in 2007, Dr. Duncan Stewart cheerfully donned an Ottawa Senators jersey and joined the other researchers in watching the Sens beat the Penguins 3-0. When The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) recruited Dr. Duncan Stewart in the spring of 2007, he started work right away, even though he wasn’t officially supposed to start until the fall.

As the incoming head of research, Dr. Stewart knew he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to lead TOH’s application for “once-in-a-generation” research hospital funding from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI).

While still leading the Division of Cardiology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Dr. Stewart attended the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute’s scientific retreat on April 19 and got to know many of the home-town scientists, as well as the home-town hockey team. After a full day of science and strategizing, he cheerfully donned an Ottawa Senators jersey and joined the other researchers in watching the Sens beat the Penguins 3-0.

It turns out it was the Ottawa Senators’ best season in modern times, and also a pretty memorable season for TOH’s researchers.

Dr. Stewart’s application to the Canada Foundation for Innovation, supported by individuals such as Drs. John Bell, Michael Rudnicki, Phil Wells and Harold Atkins, resulted in more than $32 million in funding for TOH and partner hospitals in the region. Called TIMEx (Translation of Innovation into Medical Excellence), it was the largest grant ever for health research in the region.

Under 17 years of Dr. Stewart’s leadership, TOH has reached the top ranks of research hospitals (currently fourth in Canada). TOH’s research institute generates approximately $130 million in annual research funding, with nearly 10,000 patients participating in clinical trials and more than a dozen spinoff companies.

Given how Dr. Stewart started at TOH, it is fitting that he is also ending his tenure with an unprecedented grant - $59M for biotherapeutics research and manufacturing at TOH’s new campus.

“When Dr. Stewart first joined TOH, he had a bold vision for turning Ottawa into a leading destination for translating basic and clinical research discoveries into meaningful new therapies and improvements in patient care,” says TOH President and CEO Cameron Love. “Dr. Stewart has succeeded in this vision by bringing multidisciplinary teams together, seeking out innovative opportunities, prioritizing the needs of patients and families, and ensuring that our hospital can support the highest quality of science.”

“Dr. Stewart has also championed the integration of research into TOH, and thanks to his leadership, our strategic plan includes a major emphasis on strengthening discovery and clinical research,” added Love. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Stewart for his tremendous dedication to advancing and supporting research at TOH and ensuring that research is integrated into everything we do.”

Dr. Stewart will continue to contribute to TOH as a senior scientist in the Regenerative Medicine Program, while Dr. Rebecca Auer takes over as Executive Vice-President of Research and Innovation at TOH and CEO and Scientific Director of OHRI, starting July 1, 2024.

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Scientific Program tags: Regenerative Medicine Program