The Division of General Surgery has an active research program with areas of excellence in translational research, perioperative and surgical clinical trials, clinical epidemiology and surgical education.

The division currently supports two University of Ottawa Clinical Research Chairs and two New Investigator Salary Awards for surgical investigators. We also support surgical residents (between the PGY-2 and 3 year) to undertake graduate degrees as part of the Surgeons Scientist Program, in conjunction with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Clinician Investigator Program

The surgical investigators led research programs include:

Dr. Rebecca Auer is a Surgical Oncologist at The Ottawa Hospital, a Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine with a cross-appointment to Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology. She currently leads a translational research program evaluating perioperative immune therapies designed to reverse postoperative immune suppression and prevent postoperative cancer recurrence and metastases. She has a basic science laboratory and conducts clinical trials evaluating perioperative treatments. For more information, visit

Dr. Angel Arnaout is a Breast Surgical Oncologist at the Ottawa Hospital, Associate Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute , and Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa. She leads several "window of opportunity" phase II clinical trials with the ultimate goal of expediting drug development in breast cancer and reducing the anxiety of patients who are waiting for definitive surgical treatment.   Dr. Arnaout’s research is also committed to improving access and delivery of high quality care to breast cancer patients in Ontario. She is the leader of two specialty programs (TEAM and RADS) that have demonstrated reduced wait times and increased satisfaction for breast cancer patients in Ottawa.

Dr. Erin Cordeiro is a Breast Surgical Oncologist at The Ottawa Hospital, a Senior Clinical Investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine. She has a Master's degree in Clinical Epidemiology and is interested in quality improvement initiatives. She is currently conducting observational studies examining predictors of post-operative complications in breast cancer surgery and is helping initiate a program to decrease variation in treatment received. She also has an interest in high-risk benign breast disease and is examining current practice patterns regarding benign breast disease in Canada.

Dr. Carolyn Nessim  is a Surgical Oncologist, Assistant Professor of Surgery and a Clinician Investigator in the Cancer Therapeutics program at the OHRI. Her main research interests involve evaluating neo-adjuvant approaches to locally advanced and resectable oligometastatic melanoma using combinations of targeted and immunotherapy and identifying biomarkers of clinical response. She also collaborates with scientists at OHRI being involved in the evaluation of response to various cancer treatments on ex-vivo melanoma, sarcoma and GIST cells. Currently she is collaborating on a project evaluating the use of oncolytic viruses in the treatment of melanoma and soft tissue sarcoma as well as evaluating the mechanisms of resistance of immunotherapy. She also focuses on outcomes research evaluating quality measures in the diagnosis and treatment of Melanoma and Soft Tissue Sarcoma/GIST and is a member of the Trans-Atlantic Retro-Peritoneal Sarcoma Working Group (TARPSWG), Cancer Care Ontario’s working group for guidelines in melanoma care and is an active member of the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB). For more information visit Carolyn Nessim website.

Dr. Jacinthe Lampron is a trauma surgeon at the Ottawa Hospital, a clinical investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Department Surgery. She currently lead a clinical research program evaluating trauma care, including trauma system and clinical care. For more information, visit the link.

Pediatric General Surgery: Basic Science Translational Research

Our division is actively engaged in translational basic science research in areas relevant to pediatric surgery and encourages the active participation of trainees at all levels.

Dr. Cowan is the principle investigator for the division’s translational vascular and tumour biology basic science research program within the CHEO Research Institute. Dr. Cowan completed a PhD in cardiovascular research under the supervision of Dr. Marlene Rabinovitch at the Hospital for Sick Children, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto where he studied the pathophysiology of primary arterial hypertension and approaches to its reversal. Dr. Cowan continued his basic science training with the completion of a post-doctoral fellowship in area of cell communication and tumour biology in the laboratory of Dr. Dale W. Laird at the University of Western Ontario, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology. For his work, Dr. Cowan has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation Joint Resident Research Award, Physician Services Incorporated Foundation Resident Research Award, and the American College of Cardiology Young Investigator’s Award.

As a scientist in the Molecular Biomedicine Program at the CHEO Research Institute, with cross-appointment to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa and Faculty of Graduate and Post-graduate Studies affiliation, Dr. Cowan’s translational vascular and tumour biology research program includes undergraduate, graduate (MSc and PhD) and post-graduate students as well as trainees in the surgeon scientist tract and clinical research fellows.

Joining the laboratory as a senior research associate / laboratory manager, Dr. Stéphanie Langlois offers additional knowledge and expertise in the area of tumour biology. Dr. Langlois’ extensive training in this area includes an MSc and PhD from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Université du Québec à Montréal and post-doctoral fellowships at both the University of Western Ontario and the University of Ottawa.

Current translational research projects
  • Role of elastases, matrix metalloproteinases, and extracellular matrix in the regulation of pulmonary vascular disease associated with congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Use of stem cell approaches to treat the pulmonary vascular disease associated with congenital diaphragmatic hernia
  • Role of pannexins in the regulation of skeletal muscle differentiation, regeneration, and dystrophy
  • Role of pannexins in the tumourigenesis of rhabdomyosarcoma and their potential use as therapeutic targets
Contact and application information

For additional information or to apply to the Translational Vascular and Tumour Biology Research Program, please contact:

Dr. Kyle Cowan
613-737-7600 ext. 2675

Pediatric General Surgery: Clinical Research Programs

The Division of Pediatric General Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is very productive in terms of clinical research. We are dedicated to investigating a variety of surgical problems with an evidence-based approach.

Dr. Ahmed Nasr, Associate Professor, holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and a PhD from Cairo University. He has over 70 peer-reviewed publications to date and has developed expertise in the field of systematic review and meta-analysis.

Dr. Nasr is the founder of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons Evidence-Based Resource (CAPS EBR). This online resource is open-access and responds directly to the information needs of pediatric surgeons by providing them with critically appraised and summarized evidence obtained through systematic reviews on questions that they have identified as being of critical importance to the provision of optimal patient care. Although still in its infancy, the CAPS EBR has established itself as a popular resource for pediatric surgeons worldwide.

Recently, Dr. Nasr launched the Patient and Family Decision Aids Project as an extension of the CAPS EBR. Decision aids are evidence-based tools that facilitate shared decision making in healthcare by increasing patient/family knowledge of the available options, allowing them to feel more informed and clear about what matters most to them, and establishing accurate expectations of benefits and harms.

Dr. Nasr takes an active role in teaching and supervising students interested in the field of pediatric surgery. Trainees involved with our research activities gain a broad understanding of the research process and acquire specific research skills that are valuable for their future careers.

Dr. Ahmed Nasr
(613) 737-7600

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