Data Science Centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute finds common language across data

Heart Institute announces grand opening of state-of-the-art digital innovation hub for enhanced collaboration and innovation across specialties
March 20, 2024

OTTAWA, March 20, 2024 — The University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) announced the launch of the Data Science Centre, a state-of-the-art digital innovation hub that will leverage cardiovascular data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to advance cardiovascular research and improve patient care.

Timothy Zakutney, UOHI
Timothy Zakutney has an extensive background in information and medical device technology and its application in research and clinical settings.

“Today’s announcement represents the beginning of an exciting new chapter for data, collaboration and innovation at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute,” said Timothy Zakutney, senior vice president of digital health and cardiac technology, and chief information and technology officer at the UOHI. “The establishment of a world-class data science centre is a triumph for the Heart Institute, one with significant potential to reshape cardiovascular research and healthcare delivery."

The Data Science Centre is both a virtual and physical space. At the Heart Institute, it occupies 3,150 square feet of offices, hotelling space, and meeting/conference rooms. Clinicians, scientists, researchers, and administration personnel may all coordinate their joint access and use of the facility, resulting in a highly dynamic collaborative environment for knowledge sharing and innovation.

“The Data Science Centre is a place where everyone brings different expertise to the table, but where data is the common language,” said Dr. Jodi Edwards, an epidemiologist, chair of the Data Science Centre’s operational committee, and the director of both the Brain and Heart Nexus Research Program and the Population Outcomes Research Unit at the UOHI. “The Data Science Centre will play a crucial role in turning complex datasets into data-driven solutions to improve patient care and outcomes – not only here in Ottawa, but across Canada and all over the world.”

Jodi Edwards, UOHI
Through her research at the UOHI, Dr. Jodi Edwards is developing predictive tools to identify those at the highest risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes and extend the window for preventive management in this population.

The facility’s main room is comprised of several operational “pods,” shared workstations where multidisciplinary teams can connect, organize, and exchange ideas and insights around linked data projects. For example, teams of software developers, database developers and engineers, imaging scientists and clinical data experts will build and maintain rich and robust health datasets. Researchers and clinicians will then access those datasets to design studies and trials for research purposes.

At the cutting-edge of all of this is an artificial intelligence and machine learning pod to support advanced analytics on the institute’s in-house high performance computing cluster, a collection of several powerful connected computing servers, storage and applications that share the processing load to enable rapid computational analysis of large volumes of data securely and efficiently.

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute Data Science Centre is the legacy of outgoing UOHI President and CEO Dr. Thierry Mesana, who long championed teamwork and the involvement of multiple specialties to deliver state-of-the-art care to patients.

Dr. Mesana, whose second and final mandate as president and chief executive will end later this month, said, “This is an important moment for data science, technology, digital health, and for the Heart Institute. The Data Science Centre is a tour de force – a core facility that will propel the Heart Institute’s success and strengthen our reputation as a global innovator in cardiovascular care, research, and education for generations."

Additional information

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute stands as one of Canada’s most distinguished heart health centres for the unparalleled care it provides to its patients, a world-renowned research institute that brings science from bench to bedside, and the country’s main influencer when it comes to preventing heart disease. Its promise remains the very pillar on which it was built: Always putting patients first.

Media contact

Leigh B. Morris
Communications Officer
University of Ottawa Heart Institute
613-316-6409 (cell)