Suuronen, Erik


Erik Suuronen, PhD, is a Scientist in the Division of Cardiac Surgery and Director of its Biomaterials and Regeneration Program at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. He is also Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, with a Cross-Appointment in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, at the University of Ottawa. In addition, he is a member of the Faculty of Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies at the University of Ottawa, acting as supervisor to trainees at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels.


Dr. Suuronen received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1996 and his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Medicine in 2004, both from the University of Ottawa, followed by a post-doctorate at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Dr. Suuronen’s doctoral research involved the use of tissue engineering methods to develop a model of the cornea, complete with nerves and surrounding sclera tissue containing blood vessels. His experience is being applied to cardiovascular research at the Heart Institute, where he is focusing on biomaterial therapy for cardiac regeneration.

Dr. Suuronen has participated as a member of peer grant review committees for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC), and the Government of Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, among others. He regularly acts as a reviewer of manuscripts for leading scientific journals, and of abstracts submitted to major national and international research conferences. Locally, Dr. Suuronen contributes his time to multiple committees at both the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the University of Ottawa. In 2014, he and Dr. Marc Ruel were editors of a text book “Biomaterials for Cardiac Regeneration” published by Springer.

During his studies, Dr. Suuronen was supported by fellowships and awards from the HSFC, the International Foundation for Ethical Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. In 2007, he received the Young Investigator Award (first runner-up) from the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, and in 2009, the University of Ottawa Heart Institute Basic Science Researcher of the Year Award. 

Research & Clinical Interests 

Dr. Suuronen’s research interests focus on the use of tissue engineering and cell-based approaches to develop new therapies for the treatment of cardiac injury and disease. This includes the investigation of biomaterial scaffolds and stem/progenitor cell transplantation for promoting angiogenesis within the heart to restore blood flow to damaged tissue and improve its function. He is also investigating how the body’s own stem cells respond when the heart is damaged and how to enhance this response. Another area of interest for Dr. Suuronen’s research team is the investigation of cardiovascular complications associated with diabetes. Dr. Suuronen is also an investigator of the Molecular, Function and Imaging Program at the Heart Institute, led by Dr. Rob Beanlands.


See current publications list at PubMed.

Selected publications:

  1. A. Ahmadi, S. Thorn, M. E. I. Alarcon, Kordos, D. T. Padavan, T. Hadizad, G. O. Cron, R. S. Beanlands, J. N. DaSilva, M. Ruel, R. A. deKemp and E. J. Suuronen. PET imaging of a collagen matrix reveals its effective injection and targeted retention in a mouse model of myocardial infarction. Biomaterials 2015;49:18-26.
  2. N. J. R. Blackburn, T. Sofrenovic, D. Kuraitis, A. Ahmadi, B. McNeill, C. Deng, K. J. Rayner, Z. Zhong, M. Ruel and E. J. Suuronen. Timing underpins the benefits associated with injectable hydrogel therapies for the treatment of myocardial infarction. Biomaterials 2015;39:182-92.
  3. B. McNeill, B. Vulesevic, A. Ostojic, M. Ruel and E. J. Suuronen. Collagen matrix-induced integrin αVβ3 expression in circulating angiogenic cells targeted by matricellular protein CCN1 to enhance their function. FASEB J 2014; Dec 2 [e-pub ahead of print].
  4. C. G. Palii, B. Vulesevic, S. Fraineau, E. Pranckeviciene, A. J. Griffith, A. Chu, H. Faralli, Y. Li, B. McNeill, J. Sun, T. J. Perkins, F. J. Dilworth, C. Perez-Iratxeta, E. J. Suuronen, D. Allan and M. Brand. Trichostatin A enhances the vascular repair function of injected human endothelial progenitors by increasing the expression of TAL1-dependent genes. Cell Stem Cell 2014;14:644-57.
  5. A. Ahmadi, B. McNeill, B. Vulesevic, M. Kordos, L. Mesana, S. Thorn, J. M. Renaud, E. Manthorp, D. Kuraitis, H. Toeg, T. G. Mesana, D. R. Davis, R. S. Beanlands, J. N. DaSilva, R. A. deKemp, M. Ruel and E. J. Suuronen. The role of integrin α2 in cell and matrix therapy that improves perfusion, viability and function of infarcted myocardium. Biomaterials 2014;35:4749-58.
  6. B. Vulesevic, B. McNeill, M. Geoffrion, D. Kuraitis, J. E. McBane, M. Lochhead, B. C. Vanderhyden, G. S. Korbutt, R. W. Milne and E. J. Suuronen. Glyoxalase-1 over-expression in the bone marrow reverses defective neovascularization in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Cardiovasc Res 2014;101:306-16.

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