Outstanding physician-scientist to lead Ottawa Health Research Institute

January 8, 2007

Ms. Jacquelin Holzman, Board Chair of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and Dr. Jack Kitts, President and CEO of The Ottawa Hospital, are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Duncan Stewart as the next CEO and Scientific Director of the OHRI and Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital. Dr. Stewart will succeed retiring CEO Dr. Ronald Worton on July 1, 2007.

“Duncan is an outstanding clinician, scientist, and leader and we are absolutely thrilled that he has accepted this position,” said Ms. Holzman.

Dr. Stewart is currently Director of Cardiology at the University of Toronto, Associate Director of Research at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Director of the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine. As one of the world’s foremost experts in blood vessel biology, his research has revolutionized our understanding of how stem-cell-like “progenitor” cells give rise to new blood vessels. Most recently, he has developed promising cell- and gene-based therapies to stimulate blood vessel regeneration.

The OHRI is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa. With more than 1,200 scientists, clinicians, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and support staff, and more than $75 million in funding, the OHRI is one of the largest and most prestigious hospital-based research institutes in Canada. Dr. Stewart will move his research to the OHRI’s newly opened state-of-the-art Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research.

“Duncan has demonstrated a unique ability to move back and forth between the lab and the clinic, and he has a track record of bringing researchers with diverse expertise together,” said Dr. Kitts. “We are confident that with his leadership, OHRI discoveries will continue to result in better patient care.”

Along with his appointment to the OHRI and The Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Stewart will also hold the position of Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

“Our many professors, students, and postdoctoral fellows based at the OHRI will benefit immensely from Duncan’s experience and vision,” said Dr. Mona Nemer, the University’s Vice-President of Research. “His arrival will enhance our leadership in cardiovascular health and regenerative medicine and further strengthen collaborations between the OHRI and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.”

“I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute,” said Dr. Stewart. “Working with the university and the hospital, Ron has put together an outstanding team of researchers, and I hope that I can continue to inspire and support them as he has for the last 11 years. I am also delighted to have the opportunity to work in the new Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, and to help build it into one of the top centres of its kind in the world.”

Dr. Ronald Worton will retire on March 31, 2007, after leading the OHRI for six years and leading one of its predecessor institutes for five years. Dr. Worton is a pioneer in stem cell and muscular dystrophy research, and one of Canada’s most active health research advocates. He was a founding member of the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network, the Stem Cell Network, and the international Human Genome Organization. He is currently the Chair of Research Canada, and he serves on the boards of a number of other health research alliances and agencies. Dr. Worton is confident that the OHRI will continue to flourish under Dr. Stewart’s leadership.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Paterson
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Tel: 613-798-5555, extension 19691
Cell: 613-614-5253