2020 UOHI Investigator of the Year

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is pleased to announce Jodi Edwards, PhD, has been named the 2020 UOHI Investigator of the Year. Dr. Edwards will be presented with the award at the UOHI (virtual) Research Rounds on Monday, December 14, at which time she will deliver the Investigator of the Year lecture.

Dr. Edwards is the director of the Brain and Heart Nexus Research Program, and the co-director of the Population Outcomes Research Unit at the UOHI. She is appointed as an assistant professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and an affiliate researcher with the Brain and Mind Research Institute at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Edwards also holds appointments as an investigator at the Bruyère Research Institute and an adjunct scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).

Dr. Edwards’ innovative, interdisciplinary research program is centred on risk assessment and predictive modeling for the brain-heart interface. The program is focused specifically on identifying novel cardiac markers of stroke and dementia risk, improving women’s heart and brain health, and testing new technologies for risk detection and treatment. Her research leverages large population-based databases and linkages with provincial administrative health data and other national and international cohorts. Dr. Edwards founded the Canadian Platform for Research in Non-invasive Brain Stimulation (CanStim), a national platform that will build capacity for multi-centre clinical trials for non-invasive brain stimulation to augment recovery from stroke.

The Investigator of the Year Award recognizes Dr. Edwards’ outstanding research achievements. In less than three years since establishing her independent program, Dr. Edwards established herself as a rising star. In this past year alone, Dr. Edwards was awarded, as a nominated principal investigator, a CIHR project grant that was ranked #1 in the committee, and as a co-principal investigator, another CIHR project grant funded through a priority announcement for patient-oriented research. She was recognized with a Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s National New Investigator Award, accompanied by a Seed Catalyst Grant for Improving Women’s Heart and Brain Health, co-funded by Health Canada. Dr. Edwards’ peer reviewed funding also included large-scale infrastructure grant success.

Dr. Edwards has published over 40 peer reviewed articles, 18 of which are first-authored. Nine of these articles were published in this year alone. Notable papers from this year included:

1) Findings with important implications for stroke risk prediction, atrial fibrillation (AF) screening, and stroke prevention before the onset of AF: 1An original research paper on atrial cardiopathy as a risk factor for ischemic stroke in the absence of prior history of AF and incident AF in a large cohort of community dwelling adults across Ontario. 

2) 2Consensus recommendations, as leader of the CanStim Expert Consensus Group, on the use of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation as an adjunct intervention for stroke rehabilitation. 

3) a co-authored contribution as an expert member of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance on the 3first Canadian position paper to evaluate the state of the science and the role of sex and gender in women’s cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Edwards serves on several peer review committees, including for the CIHR project grant (behavioural science), chair in sex and gender science, and COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding, and for the UK Research and Innovation Trust. She regularly reviews for clinical journals such as the Journal of the American Heart Association and the International Journal of Stroke.

Dr. Edwards is highly sought out for her expert opinion. She is regularly invited to speak at international scientific meetings. She has also been engaged as a member of an expert advisory group and a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s annual report on “Heart-Brain Connection” (2019) and “Stroke in Women” (2018). As a Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson, she was featured on national TV and conducted multiple interviews for CBC live radio syndication across Canada to communicate the key messages of these important reports to the Canadian public.

Congratulations to Dr. Edwards on her outstanding achievements!

References:

1 Edwards JD, Healey J, Fang J, Yip K, Gladstone DJ. Atrial cardiopathy in the absence of atrial fibrillation increases risk of ischemic stroke, incident AF, and mortality and improves stroke risk prediction. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Jun 2;9(11):e013227. 

2 Edwards JD, Black SE, Boe S, Boyd L, Chaves A, Chen R, Dukelow S, Fung J, Kirton A, Meltzer J, Moussavi Z, Neva J, Paquette C, Ploughman M, Pooyania S, Rajji T, Roig-Pull M, Tremblay F, Thiel A. Canadian Platform for Trials in Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation (CanStim) Consensus Recommendations for the use of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Stroke Rehabilitation Trials for Upper Extremity Motor Recovery. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair 2020. (Accepted).

3 Norris CM, Yip CYY, Nerenberg KA, Clavel MA, Pacheco C, Foulds HJA, Hardy M, Gonsalves CA, Jaffer S, Parry M, Colella TJF, Dhukai A, Grewal J, Price JAD, Levinsson ALE, Hart D, Harvey PJ, Van Spall HGC, Sarfi H, Sedlak TL, Ahmed SB, Baer C, Coutinho T, Edwards JD, Green CR, Kirkham AA, Srivaratharajah K, Dumanski S, Keeping-Burke L, Lappa N, Reid RD, Robert H, Smith G, Martin-Rhee M, Mulvagh SL. State of the Science in Women’s Cardiovascular Disease: A Canadian Perspective on the Influence of Sex and Gender. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Feb 18;9(4):e015634.

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