The Ottawa Hospital’s Star Researchers Honoured at Annual Gala

November 17, 2012

Ottawa – More than 560 of Ottawa’s business and community leaders filled the Westin Ottawa this evening to celebrate the community’s investment in research at The Ottawa Hospital, as well as the outstanding achievements of three Ottawa Hospital Research Institute researchers.

These world-class researchers were honoured at the 2012 Ottawa Hospital Gala, presented by Nordion, for their innovative ideas, which have led to new discoveries in their respective fields of regenerative medicine and clinical epidemiology.

The honourees are:
  • Dr. Vahab Soleimani, who was awarded the Dr. Ronald G. Worton Researcher in Training Award for discovering a network that triggers muscle stem cells to become muscle fibre.
  • Dr. David Picketts, who was awarded the Dr. Michel Chrétien Researcher of the Year Award for his discovery of a specific gene that activates brain stem cells — knowledge that could lead to therapies for regenerating and repairing damage in people who have suffered brain injuries and strokes.
  • Dr. Philip Wells was awarded the Dr. J. David Grimes Research Career Achievement Award for his world-renowned methods of diagnosing certain blood disorders and establishing a thrombosis unit in Ottawa that is recognized as among the best in the world.
“The researchers we recognized today are making a difference not only here in Ottawa, but around the world,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Vice-President, Research, at The Ottawa Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “By pushing the boundaries of knowledge, our researchers are benefitting patients today and in the future.”

Greg Kane, Chair of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Board of Directors, announced that in 2012, the individuals and corporations in our community have raised $6.2 million in support of the groundbreaking research taking place everyday at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

Many of those corporations were present at the Gala, including representatives from longtime Ottawa Hospital supporter Nordion Inc., which returned as title sponsor of the event.

“We can count on these researchers to put Ottawa on the map,” said Steve West, CEO of Nordion Inc. and Gala co-chair along with Whitney Fox. “That is only one of the reasons why Nordion is a proud supporter of The Ottawa Hospital and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.”

In addition to being title sponsor of The Ottawa Hospital Gala, Nordion is also title sponsor of Ride the Rideau, Eastern Ontario’s most successful single-day cancer fundraiser, West said. “As a global health science company, Nordion is committed to improving the health and well-being of people around the world.”

The Ottawa Hospital is a multi-campus, academic health sciences centre, serving 1.2 million residents of Ottawa and Eastern Ontario, both in English and French. It provides care for more patients than any other hospital in Canada and boasts specialty centres in cancer, heart, kidney and vision care, as well as rehabilitation services. For more information, visit The Ottawa Hospital website at

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 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s mission is to inspire and enable people to support the highest quality health care at The Ottawa Hospital and life-saving research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. For more information, visit The Ottawa Hospital Foundation website at

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For more information, please contact:

Tracey Tong
Media Relations and Marketing Officer
The Ottawa Hospital Foundation
Tel.: 613-798-5555, ext. 19816
Cell: 613-262-6781

Paddy Moore
Manager, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Tel: 613-737-8899 x 73687
Cell: 613-323-5680