Research Priorities

Extensive consultations in 2012 revealed four priority research themes that UOHI and regional partners are currently addressing through multi-disciplinary collaboration. This resulted in the Ottawa region’s cardiovascular disease research roadmap, the 2013-2017 Ottawa Region for Advanced Cardiovascular Research Excellence (ORACLE) Strategic Plan (pdf). The ORACLE themes are pursued through Innovation Clusters and associated enabling platforms such as biobanking, functional linkages of clinical databases, restructuring of research ethics review processes, and supported through enhanced clinical methods and informatics and a recruitment strategy.

Disease areas of focus include Heart Failure, Arrhythmias, Vascular/Cardiometabolic Diseases and Valvular Diseases.

1. Personal Tailored Health Solutions

This theme builds on the strengths of the Ottawa region in genetics and systems biology. Researchers will identify and validate novel biomarkers to predict and personalize treatment for common cardiovascular conditions such as coronary disease, heart failure, cardiac rhythm disturbances and valvular disease. Our advanced heart imaging capabilities will be greater enhanced to fully characterize early disease processes. Further, bedside genetic tests and tools will be developed.

Innovation Clusters with focus on this theme:

Selected Ottawa region researchers with focus on this theme:

2. Unlocking the Key Causes of Cardiovascular Diseases

This theme focuses on addressing the realization that the traditional risk factors are not completely adequate to prevent and ultimately eliminate heart disease. Research will focus on understanding new pathways leading to disease through discovery research and by unlocking the function of the newly discovered biomarkers and pathways derived from the Personal Tailored Health Solutions theme. Novel tools such as reprogrammed stem cells from patients with known cardiovascular diseases will be utilized as disease models. Disease processes will be tracked using advanced imaging tools.

Innovation Clusters with focus on this theme:

Selected Ottawa regional researchers with focus on this theme:

3. Optimizing the Technology and Human Interface in Heart and Vessels

Building on our long-standing strength in biomedical devices and our regional leadership in information technology and photonics, we will develop novel tools for diagnostics and new devices for treatment. In addition, focus will be placed on integration of telemedicine and information technology to enhance patients’ participation as partners in care. Our regenerative medicine program will be built on and accelerated. Discoveries will be commercialized.

Innovation Clusters with focus on this theme:

Selected Ottawa regional researchers with focus on this theme:

4. Community Intervention, Health Systems, and Health Policy Innovation in
Cardiovascular Health

This theme builds on our model of Champlain community prevention programs. We will expand to chronic disease management and test novel health delivery programs, including northern Canadian regions. Expertise in health policy research will be built and we will partner with governments across Canada to build on our experience in leading programs such as the national C-CHANGE initiative.

Innovation Clusters with focus on this theme:

Selected Ottawa regional researchers with focus on this theme:


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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