2021 UOHI Investigator of the Year – Mireille Ouimet

March 25, 2022

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is pleased to announce Mireille Ouimet, PhD, was named the 2021 UOHI Investigator of the Year – Basic Science. This award recognizes Dr. Ouimet’s outstanding research achievements in the past year.

Dr. Ouimet is a Scientist and Director of the Cardiovascular Metabolism and Cell Biology Laboratory at the UOHI. She is appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Ouimet also holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in cardiovascular metabolism and cell biology, a first for the UOHI. Her innovative research program is centred on cellular cholesterol trafficking and the role of autophagy in macrophage foam cell metabolism, inflammation and lipid homeostasis and how modulating these pathways might be used to treat heart disease.

Dr. Ouimet has an outstanding record of peer-reviewed funding. She has been awarded Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grants, a National Science and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grant, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Grant-in-Aid and an Ontario Early Researcher Award. Her laboratory is also supported by infrastructure funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

Dr. Ouimet has published over 38 peer-reviewed articles, 11 of which are first-authored and six of these articles were published in 2021 alone! Of note is an original research paper, published in Autophagy, which was the first study to systematically identify several lipid droplet-associated proteins of the lipophagy machinery. These findings have important implications for therapy, as targeting these proteins to selectively enhance lipophagy can promote cholesterol efflux from foam cells, which may be a novel strategy to treat atherosclerosis. Another paper of note is her contribution as a member of the American Heart Association (AHA)’s Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Council’s Women’s Leadership Committee, wherein she interviewed winners of the ATVB Mentor of Women Award about what makes a great mentor. This publication will serve as a valuable resource for mentors and mentees alike for years to come.

Exemplary of an outstanding investigator, Dr. Ouimet also has a great track record of mentoring trainees at this early stage. Her students have won several prestigious awards, including the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and other Tri-Agency awards.

Dr. Ouimet has been recognized with a number of prestigious honours, including the AHA’s Daniel Steinberg and the CIHR-Canadian Society of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Early Career Awards. Most recently, Dr. Ouimet was recognized as the Early Career Researcher of the Year – Biomedical at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine.

Congratulations to Dr. Ouimet on these remarkable achievements!