Ottawa Hospital researchers awarded $4.8M from Ontario Research Fund to advance regenerative medicine and patient safety

July 20, 2011

Two research teams affiliated with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) and the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) have been awarded major new grants through the Ontario Research Fund – Research Excellence competition.

One team, led by Dr. Michael Rudnicki, was awarded $3.1M to develop biological drugs that stimulate the regeneration and repair of heart, pancreas and muscle tissue. These drugs could dramatically change the way heart disease, diabetes and neuromuscular diseases are treated, and the funding will help ensure Ontario’s continued leadership in stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

The other team, led by Dr. Alan Forster, was awarded $1.7M to develop world-first “eTrigger” technology to improve hospital patient safety. The system will involve sophisticated software that monitors patient data in real-time and alerts clinicians to high risk situations via mobile information technologies, so that medical errors can be prevented before they occur. The system will build on leading-edge information technology already in use at TOH.

This new funding was announced on July 20, 2011, in a ceremony at TOH, led by Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi and Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation Glen Murray.

“We’re proud of the exceptional work our Ottawa researchers do,” said Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre. “Their contributions are making the world a better place, starting right here with new ideas and jobs in our community.”

“Some of the world’s best researchers work here in Ottawa and across Ontario,” said Glen Murray, Minister of Research and Innovation. “Their ideas fuel job creation and economic growth, and our government is proud to support them.”

“The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and its partners are leading the way in developing new technologies and treatments to improve patient care,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of OHRI, Vice-President of Research at TOH and Professor of Medicine at uOttawa. “This new funding will help us accelerate this research and translate our findings into benefits for patients and society.”

Dr. Michael Rudnicki is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine Program at OHRI, Professor of Medicine at uOttawa and Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network of Canada. Co-investigators on his project include Drs. Lynn Megeney, Theodore Perkins, Carolina Perez-Iratxeta and Bill Stanford (all from OHRI, TOH and uOttawa), with Fate Therapeutics Inc. as a corporate partner.

Dr. Alan Forster is an Internal Medicine Specialist and Scientific Director of Performance Measurement at TOH, Senior Scientist at OHRI, Associate Professor of Medicine at uOttawa and Executive-in-Residence at the Telfer School of Management. Co-investigators on his project include Drs. Carl van Walraven, Kumanan Wilson and Monica Taljaard (all from OHRI, TOH and uOttawa), as well as Drs. David Buckeridge and Robyn Tamblyn from McGill University, Louise Bélanger-Hardy from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law and Dr. Samia Chreim from the Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. Datix Inc. is a corporate partner for the project.

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the University’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. The OHRI includes more than 1,500 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Media contact
Jennifer Paterson
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-798-5555 ext. 73325
613-614-5253 (cell)