Strategic, Broad-Based Research Initiatives
The Faculty of Medicine has a number of major research initiatives that are completely aligned with the University’s strategic plan, Destination 2020. Building on our demonstrated track-record of research excellence, the Faculty and our affiliated Hospital-based Research Institute partners will focus our efforts during the coming decade on the following integrated strategic areas. Our experimental approach to these strategic research areas includes Genetics, Systems Biology, Regenerative Medicine as well as Innovative Therapeutics.
The University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute
The University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute (uOBMRI) has sustained major growth and development. In the past several years, we have recruited 22 exceptional investigators in brain related research. The Institute brings 256 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, mental health, multiple sclerosis, and neuromuscular disease. These initiatives 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, cognitive memory processes and neural networks.
Cardiovascular and Vascular Biology
The Faculty of Medicine, together with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) and Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), has 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 Ottawa Region for Advanced Cardiovascular Research Excellence (ORACLE) strategy, which was updated in 2018, is led by the UOHI, in collaboration with the Faculty of Medicine, and regional partners. The strategy includes the formation of regional teams of multi-disciplinary researchers known as Innovation Hubs that are focusing research in Atherosclerosis and Cardiometabolic Diseases, Arrhythmias, Heart Failure, Brain-Heart Linkages, and Valvular Heart Disease. The Brain-Heart Linkages Innovation Hub represents a collaboration between researchers at UOHI, the uOttawa Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research and examines the biological and clinical linkages between brain and heart disorders. Collaborative successes in 2019 include the partnered funding of 4 Faculty of Medicine Translational Research Grants in ORACLE priority areas that are currently in progress.
School of Epidemiology and Public Health
The School of Epidemiology and Public Health aims to bring together applied health researchers in the areas of epidemiology, clinical sciences, public health, health policy and systems, global health, risk assessment, and implementation science to create an interdisciplinary and inclusive research platform that will be
a significant impact on the health of populations and patients. These goals will be achieved through collaborations with the research institutes and community partners and research enabling platforms such as large administrative databases and method centers these goals will be achieved.
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). 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 at optimizing health and social services.
Centre for Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (CI3)
Chronic infectious and inflammatory diseases are highly complex, involving multi-faceted gene-environment interactions and substantial crosstalk 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.