Future of brain-heart care gets brighter with multi-million-dollar funding announcement

September 9, 2022

Heart Institute’s chief scientific officer to lead important brain-heart research

Today, Brain Canada and Heart & Stroke announced the recipients of the inaugural Heart-Brain Connection IMPACT Awards, a competition totalling $6 million aimed to drive discovery and exploration and to build long-term capacity in heart and brain vascular research. Peter Liu, MD, vice-president of research and chief scientific officer of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, is named the principal investigator of the Brain-Heart Research Integrative Innovation Team Endeavor (BHRIITE).

The BHRIITE team consists of multidisciplinary experts from institutions across the country, including Jodi Edwards of the UOHI; Ruth Slack of the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI); Abhinav Sharma of McGill University; Sandra Black of Sunnybrook Hospital; and Justin Ezekowitz of the University of Alberta. Together, team BHRIITE will study urgent questions linking heart and brain health with the aim to make changes to patient care and to improve outcomes for people in Canada.

“Our program stems from speaking with patients who were falling through the gaps created when heart and brain diseases are researched and treated separately,” explains Dr. Liu. “We aim to change the fundamental disconnect between brain and heart conditions and develop new tools to predict who is at risk and how severely with new diagnostic blood tests and new ways to take pictures of the heart and brain. Together with patient partners, we will also test new treatments that can be used to protect both the heart and the brain.”

This diverse team will integrate patients’ lived experience with expertise in molecular manipulation, in-depth cognitive and cardiac testing, pharmacology, systems biology, clinical trials, epidemiology, biostatistical modelling, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It will also include components such as an Indigenous-led curriculum to build a network of Indigenous health mentors and trainees to build Indigenous capacity to engage in research.

For more information

Please read the Heart and Stroke and Brain Canada news release and this University of Ottawa article about the project led by Dr. Peter Liu.

To coordinate interviews with Dr. Peter Liu, or for more information, please contact the liaison below.

Media contact

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