The University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) continues major growth and development. In the past several years, we have recruited 22 exceptional investigators in brain related research. The Institute brings basic and clinical investigators from a broad spectrum of disciplines under a unifying umbrella to provide leadership and focus for the enhancement of neuroscientific and behavioral research. The Institute’s initial programs focused on development of exceptional clinical care and research of brain-related illnesses in stroke, Parkinson’s disease, depression and neuromuscular disease. These initiative cut across basic, clinical and human population studies, emphasizing translation of research into practice, particularly in the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics. In the past year, we have also initiated efforts in emerging areas: understanding concussion injury and cognitive memory processes.
Centre for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (CI3)
Chronic infectious and inflammatory diseases are highly complex, involving multi-faceted gene-environment interactions and substantial cross-talk between different biological systems such as the cardiovascular, immune, neurological and endocrine systems. Unravelling this complexity requires a systems biology approach, and must encompass the expertise of scientists from diverse disciplines working together on a given disease. The uOttawa Centre for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (CI3) was created with the objective of bringing together basic and clinical scientists from across the fields of Immunology, Microbiology, Virology, Biochemistry, Neurobiology, Cardiovascular Biology, Metabolism and Pathology, who have diverse expertise, experimental models and approaches, and are interested in the development of effective solutions for infectious and inflammatory diseases. The overarching goal of CI3 is to foster multidisciplinary research across the field of infectious and inflammatory disease in order to accelerate understanding of the common principles and help establish the mechanisms that underpin chronic inflammatory states, and therefore lead us towards development of intervention strategies. The objectives of the centre are to: 1) develop new collaborative, innovative and multi-disciplinary research projects that are aimed at understanding the mechanisms of inflammation that underline various chronic diseases, 2) to develop collaborative projects that are aimed at knowledge translation and dissemination, and 3) to train next the generation of scientists in multidisciplinary research in infection, immunity and inflammation.
Cardiovascular and Vascular Biology
The Faculty of Medicine, together with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), has had a strong track record of research excellence in cardiovascular disease and vascular biology. In recent years there has been a concerted effort to develop a multi-disciplinary and inter-institutional initiative. The 2013-17 Ottawa Region for Advanced Cardiovascular Research Excellence (ORACLE) strategy was developed by Dr. Peter Liu (CSO, UOHI), in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, and has additional participation from regional Institutes. The vision for the five year strategy is that UOHI, the Faculty of Medicine and regional partners become Canadian leaders in cardiovascular innovation and knowledge translation. Key successes of the strategy include the formation of regional teams of multi-disciplinary researchers known as Innovation Clusters; basic Scientist recruits in regenerative medicine, imaging probes and metabolomics; the creation of a cardiovascular Biobank; development of the Ottawa Health Sciences Research Ethics Board; acquisition of major research infrastructure; and international symposia (including the Ottawa International Heart Conference). In the coming year, ORACLE 2.0 strategic planning sessions will solicit input from all stakeholders to develop the necessary vision and strategies to ensure our regional cardiovascular research becomes recognized among the top international hubs.
School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine
The School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine came into being on January 1, 2015. SEPHPM builds on the recognition in the Strategic Mandate Agreement that research and graduate education in applied health and knowledge translation are areas of strength in the Faculty of Medicine and its partners, including the affiliated, hospital-based research institutes, and that the University recognizes applied health research as a priority. The vision of the School is to be recognized as a leading contributor to research, teaching and professional training. At the local level it aims to improve patient and population health outcomes in the population laboratory of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Ontario, Canada. More broadly it carries out research on the determinants of health and disease etiology and on the development, implementation and evaluation of practices, programs and policies aimed to optimize health and social services.
The School aims to bring together virtually applied health researchers from within the Faculty of Medicine, research institutes, and other groups into one collective with agreed upon research strategic priories and research enabling platforms (e.g., methods center, large administrative database centre, biobanking, centre for microbial diversity, assessment facilities). It will harness the collective power of researchers in the region and promote interdisciplinary, collaborative, patient-centered applied health and public health research. The methodologies used and developed by the researchers include epidemiology, biostatistics and other quantitative evaluative sciences; methods that include complementary quantitative and qualitative approaches; health economics; policy development approaches; and engaged scholarship/knowledge translation.