Ouimet, Mireille

Mireille Ouimet, PhD, is a Scientist and Director of the Cardiovascular Metabolism and Cell Biology Laboratory (video) at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. 

Her research program aims to determine the role of autophagy in macrophage foam cell metabolism, inflammation and cholesterol trafficking and its linkage to the development and progression of atherosclerosis.

Dr. Ouimet holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in cardiovascular metabolism and cell biology.


Dr. Ouimet obtained her BSc and PhD in biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. During her doctoral studies with Yves Marcel, PhD, at the Heart Institute, Dr. Ouimet made several important findings relevant to the cellular pathways of cholesterol removal from foam cells. Her most significant contribution was the discovery of autophagy as a key pathway for macrophage cholesterol efflux.

As a postdoctoral fellow with Kathryn Moore, PhD, at New York University, a notable leader in the fields of innate immunity and atherosclerosis, Dr. Ouimet broadened our understanding of mechanisms leading to predominance of classical M1 inflammatory macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques, cellular cholesterol trafficking and the persistence of M. tuberculosis bacilli in alveolar macrophages.

Dr. Ouimet was awarded a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and received the Governor General’s Gold Medal in 2011 for her doctoral thesis in recognition of her graduate work, and is the recipient of several presentation awards. She has been recognized by the American Heart Association’s ATVB Council with awards such as the Early Career Award for Outstanding Research and New York University’s Outstanding Postdoctoral Scholar Award. Dr. Ouimet joined the Heart Institute in March 2017. In 2018, Dr. Ouimet received the Daniel Steinberg Early Career Investigator Award, and the CIHR-Canadian Society of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Early Career Lecturer Award.

Dr. Ouimet’s program is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Research and clinical interests

Dr. Ouimet’s research program focuses 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.


See current publications list at PubMed.

Selected publications:

  1. Maus, M., Cuk, M., Patel, B., Lian, J., Ouimet, M., Kaufmann, U., Yang, J., Horvath, R., Hornig-Do, H., Chrzanowska-Lightowlers, Z., Moore, K.H., Cuervo, A.M., Feske, S. (2017). Store-Operated Ca2+ Entry Controls Induction of Lipolysis and the Transcriptional Reprogramming to Lipid Metabolism. Cell Metabolism. In press.
  2. Tang, J., Baxter, S., Menon, A., Alaarg, M., Sanchez-Gaytan, B.L., Fay, F., Zhao Y., Ouimet, M., Braza M.S., Longo, V., Abdel-Atti, D., Duivenvoorden, R., Calcagno, C., Sotrm, G., Tsimikas, S., Moore, K.J., Swirski, F., Nahrendorf, M., Fisher, E.A, Perez-Medina, C., Fayad, Z.A., Reiner, T., Mulder, W.J.M. (2016). Immune Cell Screening of a Nanoparticle Library Improves Atherosclerosis Therapy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. Nov 1;113(44):E6731-E6740.
  3. Ouimet, M., Koster, S., Sakowski, E., Ramkhelawon, B., van Solingen, C., Oldebeken, S., Karunakaran, D., Portal Celhay, C., Sheedy, F.J., Dutta Ray, T., Cecchini, K., Zamore, P.D., Rayner, K.J., Marcel, Y.L., Philips, J.A, Moore, K.J. (2016). Mycobacterium tuberculosis induces the miR-33 locus to inhibit autophagy and reprogram host lipid metabolism. Nature Immunology. doi: 10.1038/ni.3434.
  4. Ouimet, M.*, Hennessy, E.J.*, Koelwyn G.J., van Solingen, C., Hussein, M., Ramkhelawon, B., Rayner, K.J., Garabedian, M., Temel, R.E., Holdt, L.M., Teupser, D., Moore, K.J. miRNA targeting of oxysterol binding protein-like 6 (OSBPL6) regulates cholesterol trafficking and efflux. (2016). Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. ATVBAHA.116.307282. *Authors contributed equally.
  5. Ouimet, M.*, Ediriweera, H.N.*, Gundra, U.M., Sheedy, F.J., Ramkhelawon, B., Hutchison, S.B., Rinehold, K., van Solingen, C., Fullerton, M.D., Cecchini, K., et al. (2015). MicroRNA-33-dependent regulation of macrophage metabolism directs immune cell polarization in atherosclerosis. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 125 (12), 4334-4348. *Authors contributed equally.
  6. Karunakaran, D., Thrush, A.B., Nguyen, M.A., Richards, L., Geoffrion, M., Singaravelu, R., Ramphos, E., Shangari, P., Ouimet, M., Pezacki, J.P., et al. (2015). Macrophage Mitochondrial Energy Status Regulates Cholesterol Efflux and Is Enhanced by Anti-miR33 in Atherosclerosis. Circulation research. 117, 266-278.
  7. Sanchez-Gaytan, B.L., Fay, F., Lobatto, M.E., Tang, J., Ouimet, M., Kim, Y., van der Staay, S.E., van Rijs, S.M., Priem, B., Zhang, L., et al. (2015). HDL-mimetic PLGA nanoparticle to target atherosclerosis plaque macrophages. Bioconjugate chemistry. 26, 443-451.
  8. Vengrenyuk, Y., Nishi, H., Long, X., Ouimet, M., Savji, N., Martinez, F.O., Cassella, C.P., Moore, K.J., Ramsey, S.A., Miano, J.M., et al. (2015). Cholesterol loading reprograms the microRNA-143/145-myocardin axis to convert aortic smooth muscle cells to a dysfunctional macrophage-like phenotype. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. 35, 535-546.
  9. Klionsky, D.J., Abdalla, F.C., Abeliovich, H., Abraham, R.T., Acevedo-Arozena, A., Adeli, K., Agholme, L., Agnello, M., Agostinis, P., Aguirre-Ghiso, J.A., et al. (2012). Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy. Autophagy. 8, 445-544.
  10. Ouimet, M., Franklin, V., Mak, E., Liao, X., Tabas, I., and Marcel, Y.L. (2011). Autophagy regulates cholesterol efflux from macrophage foam cells via lysosomal acid lipase. Cell Metabolism. 13, 655-667.
Mireille Ouimet, Ph. D.

Ouimet, Mireille

Ouimet, Mireille


Appointments and affiliations

Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in cardiovascular metabolism and cell biology

University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Cardiovascular Metabolism and Cell Biology Laboratory
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa