Ruel, Marc


Dr. Marc Ruel is Division Head of Cardiac Surgery and the endowed chair of Cardiac Surgery Research at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.


He received his MD degree cum laude from the University of Ottawa in 1994 and his specialist certification in Cardiac Surgery in 2000. He subsequently pursued a combined fellowship in minimally invasive surgery and in laboratory research at Harvard University, where he also completed a Masters in Public Health with a focus on statistical methods. 

Dr. Ruel’s faculty appointments at the University of Ottawa are with the Department of Surgery (primary affiliation) and with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine (cross-appointed affiliation). In 2010, he was promoted to Full Professor in these departments. He is the surgical transplant director and chair of the Heart Transplantation Committee at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Research & Clinical Interests 

Dr. Ruel’s clinical and educational commitments include a focus on surgical outcomes and technical innovation. In this regard, he has given numerous international courses on minimally invasive cardiac surgery, and he has developed novel techniques that he teaches to surgeons from numerous countries. He has safely performed several Canadian first-in-man operations, which have led to successful series worldwide. Dr. Ruel is editor of a 450-page textbook on Cardiac Surgical Techniques by Elsevier, which has sold several thousand copies worldwide and is now in its second edition. Also in education, Dr. Ruel has served for many years at the Medical Council of Canada. He represents Canada on the American Association for Thoracic Surgery/Society of Thoracic Surgeons (AATS/STS) Joint Workforce on Transcatheter Valves, as well as on the Joint AATS/STS Thoracic and Cardiac Surgical Education committee and on the Graham Foundation. He regularly volunteers to provide education to surgeons from third-world counties.  

From a research point of view, Dr. Ruel has produced nearly 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications and book chapters, many of them in the last five years, and he has delivered or overseen as primary supervisor over 300 presentations, and given 200 invited lectures. Dr. Ruel received in 2012 the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contributions to heart surgery, research, and innovation. In 2007, he received the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, was inducted at the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, and began to serve on the Editorial Board of the Annals of Thoracic Surgery. Two years prior, Dr. Ruel was presented with the Young Professor Award from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and in 2009 he was named Clinical Sciences Investigator of the Year at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. In 2010, he received our Faculty of Medicine’s Award for Excellence in Professionalism, and in 2012, he was the recipient of the first iteration of the Professionalism Award at The Ottawa Hospital. Dr Ruel was the University of Ottawa’s 2013 Alumnus of the Year. 

From a translational research point of view, Dr. Ruel’s laboratory, established after his return to Ottawa from Boston in 2002, has been continuously funded by national agencies, and has received over $6 million in peer-reviewed research funding. He works in close collaboration with Dr. Erik Suuronen, PhD, and now with new scientist recruit Dr. Emilio Alarcon, PhD, who together have successfully taken their joint research program to new heights. Together, the team of Drs. Suuronen, Alarcon, and Ruel have contributed many breakthroughs on the effects of biopolymer matrices in cell-based and acellular cardiovascular regeneration.

In clinical research, Dr. Ruel was the principal investigator of the multicenter Clopidogrel After Surgery for Coronary Artery DiseasE (CASCADE) randomized controlled trial, and he was the surgical country leader of the Evaluation of Xience Prime versus Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting for Effectiveness of Left Main Revascularization (EXCEL) trial, the largest trial to date to have studied methods of left main coronary stenosis revascularization. He co-led the multicenter clinical study Graft Patency Outcomes in Patients having Minimally Invasive Coronary Surgery, and his cohort studies on the longitudinal outcomes of heart valve replacement have also received wide recognition. Recently, Dr. Ruel was successfully funded to lead the international MIST (Minimal Invasive compared to STernotomy) multicenter randomized controlled trial, which will be the  first to compare minimal invasive multivessel bypass surgery (performed between the ribs) to conventional bypass surgery (performed through a breast bone splitting incision). Top expert surgeons from several continents are taking part in this landmark trial, led by Dr. Ruel’s UOHI team including cardiac surgery trainee Dr. Ming Guo.    

Dr. Ruel serves as Consulting Editor for the journal Circulation, and now concentrates his efforts on serving the Editorial Board of this top cardiovascular journal. He also acts as a reviewer or committee chair for various national and international scientific organizations. His scientific review work includes involvement with each major Canadian funding agency, such as the Canada Research Chair program, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Fédération de Recherche en Santé du Québec, the Ontario Ministry of Health, the Canadian Hypertension Society, and others.

In 2008, he was nominated to the Executive Leadership Council of the American Heart Association. He became the American Heart Association’s Surgical Program Chair in 2012, and its Surgery Chairman in 2015. With nearly a decade of volunteer service and academic contributions to the world’s largest cardiovascular society, Dr. Ruel was recently recognized by the American Heart Association for his outstanding leadership.


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