Kudos for January 2013


Kumanan Wilson’s iPhone app for immunizations was featured on CBC TV’s the National in a story that looked at privacy concerns of storing personal health data on mobile devices.  Feature appeared over the holidays.

The work of Dr. Curtis Cooper in suppressing HIV was recently featured by CIHR as part of its Research Profile series. Details at Going Non-Viral: Achieving HIV Suppression.

‘Printed Reminders for Doctors improve Health Care’-Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw said “Health Care systems globally struggle to improve the quality of care provided to patients. While there is a lot of current interest in the potential of electronic health records to support better care, these can be expensive and logistically challenging to introduce.” It was found that printed reminders generated by computers improved process of care by an average of seven percent. “The current review shows that it is possible to achieve similar benefits to electronic health records through the use of paper-based reminders generated from a centralized clinical information system. This may be a cost effective alternative to electronic health records in some settings.” See cfah.org for details.

Canada Newswire picked up story on ‘Canadians with Atrial Fibrillation missing out on new treatment options’. Dr. Mike Sharma said “Despite the ability of warfarin to reduce the risk of stroke in AF by two-thirds and risk of death by one-quarter, patients with AF often face hurdles when it comes to how the treatment affects their quality of life. The process can be cumbersome; it involves routine blood monitoring that is often inconvenient to the patient and costly for the healthcare system.”


Duncan Stewart, in collaboration with Dr. William Stanford’s team, has developed a new approach for producing a type of stem cell called induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These new stem cells are considered a potential alternative for embryonic stem cells. See details in Stem Cell Research.

Drs. Paul Wheatley-Price, Mark Clemons, and Brian Hutton have published findings on the potential effect of the Mayan Doomsday scenario on clinical trials and earth’s population in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The Ottawa Hospital has enrolled the first Canadian cancer patients into clinical trials for an oncolytic (cancer-fighting) virus treatment using the therapeutic REOLYSIN. Dr. Derek Jonker is lead investigator for the colorectal cancer trial and Dr. Garth Nicholas is the lead for the lung cancer trial which are both up and running.  Dr. Susan Dent will start recruiting for breast cancer and Dr. Christine Canil with start recruiting for prostate cancer trials in Ottawa in 2013.


Dr. Nery Pablo with support from Dr. David Birnie have secured funding ($480k over 3 years) for their study of Cardiac Sarcoidosis, its detection, prevalence, and effects of treatment on outcomes.

Dr. Michael Schlossmacher’s team received $250, 000 from the Michal J. Fox foundation to explore whether a certain gene’s response to bacterial and viral infection can play a role in the development of Parkinson’s Disease. The study will be carried out with Drs. J. Tomlinson, E. Brown, Dr. D. Philpott, will explore LRRK2’s role in the immune system as it relates to Parkinson’s.

Dr. David Picketts received a grant from the Cancer Research Society to explore the effect of a gene called PHF6 (Plant Homeodomain finger protein 6) on a common form of leukemia (T-ALL). Understanding its role in our immune system (in the creation of T-cells) will help identify novel therapeutics to treat T-ALL.

Dr. Paul MacPherson’s team has recently published a paper in Nature’s Immunology & Cell Biology on a small protein called interleukin-7 (IL-7) which can regulate its own activity to fine-tune a person’s immune response to viral invasion. IL-7 is currently being tested in clinical trial to boost immune response of people with HIV. Understanding how the protein works to communicate and regulate the activity of certain which blood cells will aid in developing therapies using IL-7 without adverse side effects. Details in Immunology & Cell Biology.

A recent paper by Drs. Van Walraven and Alan Forster explains clearly that a previous finding that only 22% of unexpected readmissions to a hospital are avoidable. This admission rate is often used as a measure of a hospitals quality and incentives to reduce this rate are common. With majority of readmissions categorized as unavoidable, it becomes unrealistic for hospitals to set reduction targets based on the overall number of readmissions. Details in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.

Research led by Dr. David Picketts has shown that a gene mutation responsible for a severe form of intellectual disability, called alpha-thalassemia mental retardation syndrome, plays a role in muscle growth and repair. New findings in research represent an important advance in understanding the mechanisms underlying complex neurodevelopment disorders caused by defects in the process of DNA replication. Details in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Michael Rudnicki’s lab has discovered that Fibronectin plays a central role in stimulating their proliferation by triggering another protein (Wnt7a). This finding suggests that modulating Fibronectin could be used as a strategy to prevent loss of muscle stem cells and muscle wasting in diseases such as muscular dystrophy. See details in Cell Stem Cell


According to Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicator, over the last 10 years their global citation numbers rank in the top 1% of their field; a testament to the high quality of work taking place here.  Highly-cited researchers included on the list are Drs. Dean Fergusson, Mark Freedman, David Grimes, Jeremy Grimshaw, Paul Hebert, David Moher, Marc Rodger, Michael Rudnicki, Duncan Stewart, Ian Stiell, Rhian Touyz, Peter Tugwell, Mark Tyndall, Phil Wells, and George Wells.

On December 12th, 2012 the Faculty of Medicine held their Awards in Education honoring students and faculty members. Several awards went to members in the Department of Medicine including:

  • Dr. Bob Bell-Educator Award Professional Competency
  • Dr. Louise Laramee-Prix de l’educateur Competence
  • Dr. Mark Tyndall- Prix de l’educateur Competence
  • Dr. Sylvie Gregoire-Prix de l’educateur Competence
  • Dr. Barb Power- Educator Award Person Competency
  • Dr. Michael Froeschl- Educator Award Communicator Competency.
  • Dr. Tony Weinberg – Award for Excellence, Continuing Medical Education
  • Dr. Debra Pugh – Award of Educational Advancement & Innovation in Postgrad Medical Education

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