Congratulations to Dr. Wenbin Liang, Scientist at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) and Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa, on receiving the Early Researcher Award funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation!
These Early Researcher Awards are made to outstanding young investigators to support their research teams in carrying out innovative research programs.
The total value of the award is $150,000.
As an Early Researcher Award recipient, Dr. Liang was invited to compete, and was successful in the Ontario-China Young Scientist Exchange Program. Dr. Liang will be visiting several important cardiac research centres in China for collaboration and knowledge exchange with international researchers. This collaborative effort will generate new knowledge, solidify long-term collaborations in heart research between Ontario and China, and improve Ontario’s access to global science and technology. The collaborations will help make it possible to bring novel advanced health solutions to Ontario and globally.
Dr. Liang’s research program, based at the UOHI, focuses on heart rhythm disorders, known as cardiac arrhythmias. Cardiac arrhythmias affect over one million Canadians, and are a major health issue in Ontario and Canada. Current anti-arrhythmic drugs are not effective in most patients and have significant toxicities. Novel, more effective therapies are needed for better management of patients.
Ion channels in the heart determine the rhythm of heart beats, and reduced ion channel levels cause cardiac arrhythmias. Dr. Liang recently discovered that activation of a signaling pathway, known as the Wnt pathway, reduces cardiac ion channel levels. Based on this key discovery, Dr. Liang and his team are further investigating the roles of Wnt, and explore avenues for novel, more effective therapies for better management of cardiac arrhythmia patients.