At the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI), research is closely integrated with clinical care. Affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we align research with clinical needs to establish a seamless linkage, effectively translating research from “bench to bedside.” Indeed, we are uniquely placed to achieve complete integration and synergy between clinical care and research innovation and excellence through our large patient population base.
Our investigators regularly publish in prestigious journals and our extensive network of partnerships encompass regional, national, and international activities. Since 2011, the Institute has been ranked in the top 3 per cent of worldwide research institutions for normalized research impact, by Scimago Institutional Rankings (SIR), the most comprehensive ranking in this area. In 2014, we placed as the number one cardiovascular research centre in Canada.
The Ottawa region’s cardiovascular disease research roadmap, the 2013-2017 Ottawa Region for Advanced Cardiovascular Research Excellence (ORACLE) Strategic Plan (pdf) builds on the UOHI’s clinical and research excellence, and leverages the diverse pool of expertise of our regional partners. The vision, under the leadership of Chief Scientific Officer Peter Liu, MD, is to position the Institute and regional partners in five years as key Canadian leaders in cardiovascular innovation and knowledge translation, and in 10 years to be recognized as among the top international hubs in cutting-edge cardiovascular research and knowledge implementation. To achieve this, we have created Innovation Clusters to foster collaboration, leverage Ottawa’s unique regional advantage, and generate lateral connectivity to harness talent, expertise, resources and opportunities. In turn, Ottawa is defining the next cutting edge and becoming a magnet for the global talent of trainees, rising research stars, and established investigators.
In 2015, we reviewed and re-assessed our ORACLE strategy, in alignment with the launch of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute overall Stronger Together Strategic Plan, 2015-2019. Building on the momentum and achievements of the original ORACLE Plan, our research community will achieve the next level of excellence through ORACLE Plan version 1.5. ORACLE 1.5 re-affirms the original vision, themes and goals of ORACLE and identifies new directions and an expansion of existing directions.
Further, ORACLE 1.5 confirms the continuing importance and relevance of the four research priority themes: 1) Personal Tailored Health Solutions, 2) Unlocking the Key Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases, 3) Optimizing the Technology and Human Interface in Heart and Vessels, and 4) Community Intervention, Health Systems, and Health Policy Innovation in Cardiovascular Health.
New and expanded directions in ORACLE 1.5 include:
- Investing and growing our Innovation Clusters: We have made great strides in the creation and development of Innovation Clusters to deliver on the four themes. We will continue to invest and grow our Innovation Clusters in alignment with the Heart Team vision of the UOHI Strategic Plan.
- Internationalization of our Research Enterprise: We place increased emphasis on an internationalization strategy to achieve global impact. Specifically, we aim to lead international consortia in new collaborative ventures, working with the best international centres and teams to achieve common goals. We also aim to recruit the best international researchers and trainees to foster the next generation of leaders. We will be “partners without borders” with the best private sector leaders for translation and commercialization.
- Collaboration with Private Sector and partners in Innovation to Maximize Translation and Impact: A key component of research impact is the translation of new ideas into tools and products that can tangibly make a difference for patients and health systems. UOHI has already had an excellent track record for engaging private sector partners for product development and commercialization. This will be further built on in ORACLE 1.5, with proof of concept programs and active engagement and networking with innovation/private sector partners.
- Engaging Patient Populations in our Research Endeavors: We will become a recognized leader and innovator in patient engagement in cardiovascular disease research and knowledge translation. In recognition that researchers and patients bring different skills, values and experiences to research and knowledge translation, our researchers and patients will be active partners in strategic research activities so that research, the translation of research to benefits and tools to maximize patient well-being and outcomes can all be realized.
The UOHI’s research infrastructure includes advanced equipment, endowed fellowships and research chairs, and data analysis and administrative support offices, all of which foster the pursuit of excellence, scientific achievement and clinical impact. Our research endeavours are supported through competitive funding obtained via grants and contracts, as well as a vigorous fundraising campaign by the Heart Institute Foundation (which includes a more than $50 million research endowment).
Our researchers are highly successful in obtaining competitive peer-reviewed grants awarded from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Genome Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, among others. State-of-the-art research facilities at UOHI include the Ruddy Canadian Cardiovascular Genetics Centre (the only one of its kind in Canada), advanced cardiac imaging and analysis capabilities, electron microscopy, and a cyclotron facility. In addition, the Ottawa region is home to world class centres such as the Canadian Vascular Network, Heart Foundation Centre for Stroke Recovery, the Brain and Mind Research Institute, the Stem Cell Network, and the Canadian Stroke Network. Other core facility service laboratories, such as those provided by the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, are available in the Ottawa region.
In close collaboration with the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, the Heart Institute educates and trains undergraduates, graduates and post-graduates in an environment that mandates a vigorous pursuit of research.
Selected Research Publications
Our research has received worldwide recognition through publications in prestigious journals:
- A comprehensive 1000 Genomes–based genome-wide association meta-analysis of coronary artery disease in Nature Genetics. 2015, 47, 1121-1130
- Endothelial Gata5 transcription factor regulates blood pressure in Nature Communications. 2015 Nov 30;6:8835
- 9p21.3 Coronary Artery Disease Risk Variants Disrupt TEAD Transcription Factor-Dependent Transforming Growth Factor β Regulation of p16 Expression in Human Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells in Circulation. 2015, Nov 24:132(21)1969-78
- Clinical Impact of Changes in Left Ventricular Function After Aortic Valve Replacement: Analysis From 3112 Patients in Circulation. 2015 Aug 25:132(8):741-7
- Macrophage Mitochondrial Energy Status Regulates Cholesterol Efflux and Is Enhanced by Anti-miR33 in Atherosclerosis in Circulation Research. 2015, Jul 17;117(3):266-78
- Deciding when to treat the injured heart with a biomaterial is an important consideration in Biomaterials. 2015 Jan;39:182-92
- Evaluation of effectiveness of physical activity and sedentary behaviour interventions in reducing sedentary time in adults in Obesity Reviews. 2014 Nov;15(11):905-19
- Effects of short-term continuous positive airway pressure on myocardial sympathetic nervefunction
and energetics in patients with heart failure and obstructive sleep apnea: a randomized study in Circulation. 2014 Sept 9:130(11): 829:901
- Role of diabetes / high blood sugars on cardiac stem cells ability to repair an injured heart in Circulation. 2014 Sep 9;130(11 Suppl 1):S70-6
- Decision Making at the Time of ICD Generator Change: Patients’ Perspectives in JAMA Internal Medicine. 2014, Sept;174(9):1509-11
- Key insight into the role of mitochondrial metabolism in cardiac disease Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2014 May 23;289(21):14812-28
- A genetic variant, discovered at the UOHI, contributes to the development of heart disease though promoting chronic inflammation, in Cell Reports, 2014, May 8: 7(3): 834-847
- A new heart protective protein in Nature Communications, 2014, March 1; 5(3430): 1-14
- The best method for treatment patients with anti-coagulant for pacemaker or ICD surgery in New England Journal of Medicine, 2013, May 30; 368: 2084-2093
- Showed that Cardiac Computed Tomography can identify coronary atherosclerosis in a significant number of patients independent of clinical variables as measured by Framingham Risk Score. European Heart Journal. 2013 Apr;34(14):1075-82
- A point of care genetic test for personalizing anti-platelet treatment in The Lancet, 2012, May 5; 379(9827): 1705-1711
- Discovered a novel gene involved in cardiac development in Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2011 Jun 3;286(22):19702-13.
- Proved that Cardiac Computed Tomography is a noninvasive modality with excellent prognostic value. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2010. Mar 9;55(10):1017-28
- The STEMI program in the New England Journal of Medicine, 2008 Jan 17; 358(3): 231-40
- The first gene for coronary artery disease in Science, 2007 Jun 8; 316(5830): 1488-91