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A LEGACY OF PROGRESS The University of Calgary’s Eyes High strategic vision to become one of Canada’s top five research universities by 2016 means we need to focus on key research areas. A focus on brain and mental health, chronic diseases, and cardiovascular sciences will guide us towards that goal. It’s where we have proven leadership and expertise evident through programs like the Calgary Stroke Program, the inflammatory bowel disease program, and the cardiac electrophysiology and STEMI programs.

2 | University of Calgary • Research at the Faculty of Medicine

University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine | 3




Our research is carried out through seven institutes


— partnerships between the university, Alberta


Health Services and, in some cases, a philanthropic


organization. They provide researchers, clinicians, trainees and students with access to some of the most advanced research facilities and innovative


learning environments in Canada. This bridges the


bench to bedside gap and ultimately improves


4 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

patient care.

University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine | 5


McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases



Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health p.8 The Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), a multidisciplinary partnership institute of the University of Calgary, Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, is committed to excellence in maternal, fetal, newborn, child and youth health research, and education. By optimizing child health outcomes, ACHRI creates the foundations for lifelong health and success.

The Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases aims to use the diversity of its collaborations to lead discoveries that extend and improve the lives of those suffering from chronic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as advancing treatments for conditions like sepsis.

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta



The Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) is dedicated to advancing neurological and mental health research and education. The institute’s research strengths in foundational neuroscience (axon biology and regeneration, cerebral circulation, neural systems and behaviour) are leading to new treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, aimed at improving quality of life and patient care.

O’Brien Institute for Public Health p.14 The O’Brien Institute for Public Health is a virtual hub that integrates research groups, academics, health professionals, community leaders and policy makers across the health continuum to catalyze excellence in population health and health services research. Together, its members strive to produce new knowledge and evidence to inform public health agencies and health systems.

The Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta coordinates the clinical care for two million people in southern Alberta, integrating research and education to provide excellence in care delivery. Its cardiovascular programs are based on the creation of new knowledge in the priority areas of cardiac electrophysiology/ sudden cardiac death, heart health outcomes, vascular disease, heart failure and cardiac imaging.

A healthy bone and joint system keeps us mobile and plays a pivotal role in maintaining our overall health and well-being. The McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health is home to a provincial, inter-university team of basic scientists, clinician researchers, engineers and health systems researchers who are working together to enhance the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of bone and joint injuries and diseases.

Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute

p.20 The Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute (SACRI) is a university institute dedicated to advancing knowledge about cancer, preventing and treating cancer through science, and to training Canada’s future cancer research leaders. We are striving to achieve a cancer-free future for all Canadians.

Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health

NEW TECHNOLOGY SETS THE STAGE FOR DISCOVERY A North American research study led by Dr. Francois Bernier identified the gene responsible for Nager Syndrome — a condition causing deformation in a child’s face and limbs, as well as deafness. The discovery was the result of an international collaboration between FORGE Canada and the University of Washington. FORGE Canada is a national consortium of clinicians and scientists, including Bernier’s team. The researchers use nextgeneration sequencing technology to identify genes responsible for a wide spectrum of rare pediatric disorders present in the Canadian population. ACHRI’s genome facility sequenced the first whole genome of a patient in Alberta in 2012.

UNLOCKING GENETIC CLUES Researchers at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) have discovered a gene that has eluded scientists for more than 60 years.

8 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

A multidisciplinary sport concussion research effort is underway at the University of Calgary. Researchers like Carolyn Emery, PhD, are key partners in the collaboration, especially when it comes to injuries in youth.

Physicians at the Alberta Children’s Hospital led by Dr. Aneal Khan successfully completed Canada’s first liver cell transplant. A three-monthold girl received the transplant to treat Urea Cycle Disorder.

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Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases

TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH ADVANCES TREATMENT An expert in his field and lead researcher for the Alberta Sepsis Network, Paul Kubes received the prestigious prize in recognition of his work examining the role that leukocytes (white blood cells) play in preventing and reversing sepsis — a potentially fatal condition in which the blood becomes infected by harmful bacteria. His findings will be of vital importance as the number of antibioticresistant bacteria increases. Kubes’ research demonstrates the intrinsic value of basic scientists working alongside clinicians, taking health innovation from the bench to the bedside and back again. It also provides insights into the immunological effects of stroke, cancer, diabetes and other immune-related diseases.

LEADING THE NATION IN HEALTH RESEARCH The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) named Paul Kubes, PhD, the CIHR Health Researcher of the Year in 2011, making him the first-ever Alberta recipient of Canada’s top award for medical research.

10 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

A research team lead by Dr. Pere Santamaria discovered a therapeutic Type 1 diabetes vaccine that uses nanoparticles to stop immune cells from destroying the insulinproducing cells of the pancreas.

Dr. Gilaad Kaplan has identified air pollution as a contributing factor to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which affects more than 220,000 Canadians. Calgary has one of the largest divisions of gastroenterology in the world and the IBD program ranks in the top five internationally.

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Hotchkiss Brain Institute

REVOLUTIONIZING NEUROSURGERY Featuring two robotic arms that a surgeon controls from a computer workstation and operating in conjunction with real-time MR imaging, the neuroArm provides surgeons unprecedented detail and control, allowing them to manipulate tools at a microscopic scale. This enhanced touch sensation lets the surgeon ‘feel’ very small anatomy. neuroArm aims to revolutionize neurosurgery and other branches of operative medicine by liberating doctors from the constraints of the human hand.

INNOVATION LEADS TO WORLD-FIRST The first generation of the world’s first MRIcompatible surgical robot, neuroArm, was developed at the University of Calgary.

12 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

The first generation of the neuroArm was developed at the University of Calgary by a team led by Dr. Garnette Sutherland, and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., a world leader in robotics and the creator of the Canadarm.

Research undertaken by HBI Director Samuel Weiss, PhD, discovered neural stem cells in the brains of adult mammals, leading to new approaches for brain cell replacement and repair. The discovery earned Weiss a prestigious Gairdner International Award.

A team of Canadian scientists and clinicians led by Dr. Michael Hill of the Calgary Stroke Program conducted a landmark clinical trial showing that a drug can protect the brain from stroke damage.

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O’Brien Institute for Public Health

THE NEXT GENERATION OF HOSPITAL WARDS W21C serves as a research and beta test-site for prototypical hospital design, new approaches to health care delivery, and innovative medical technologies. The Research and Innovation Centre, along with a clinical medical teaching unit in the Foothills Medical Centre, comprise W21C’s living laboratory. The W21C’s medical unit provides a real world medical setting where new technology and approaches to health-care delivery can be tested and studied further. The robotic mannequin known as iStan - with a simulated heartbeat, pulse and lifelike breathing – is one example of technology used in the research centre to create adaptive and realistic patient interactions.

A LIVING LABORATORY FIT FOR A DUKE AND DUCHESS The Ward of the 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre (W21C) models the future of health-care delivery and education, and has the unique distinction of being visited by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

14 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

In partnership with the World Health Organization, IPH researchers are developing and testing new technology to classify and standardize terms of diseases and quality of care in order to measure population health and health care system performance using the same scale around the world.

Doctors aren’t superheroes — they get sick, burnt out, stressed. The Well Doc? initiative led by Dr. Jane Lemaire and Jean Wallace, PhD, is looking to education and knowledge translation to help generate awareness within the medical community about the importance of staying well.

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Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta

MEASURING EFFECTIVE PATIENT CARE The Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Heart Disease (APPROACH) database is one of the world’s most encompassing cardiac data registries with clinical data from more than 200,000 patients. Created by Dr. Merril Knudtson, known as the father of interventional cardiology in Canada, APPROACH tracks the long-term outcomes of patients with coronary artery disease. It pioneered a way to monitor and electronically record crucial data such as hospital re-admission stats, death rates and quality of life questionnaire responses — giving health care providers and patients a clearer picture of how effective certain cardiac procedures or treatments are over time.


Calgary has enjoyed the lowest death rate in Canada from heart attacks thanks to the ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction program. It provides the communication link between EMS and the hospital; saving time, streamlining resources and improving patient outcomes.

The Electrophysiology Research Group is an international leader in cardiac electrophysiology. Dr. Anne Gillis has served as president of the Heart Rhythm Society and Dr. D. George Wyse’s studies have revolutionized how arrhythmia is treated.

The APPROACH database collects and processes health information to improve cardiac patient care. It is the standard across Canada.

16 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

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McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health

COLLABORATING FOR BETTER OUTCOMES The Mobility and Joint Health Facility will bring together an inter-university team of researchers from multiple faculties to collaborate in one shared space. Researchers in the facility will use a range of technologies and focus on three areas (biomarker analysis, motion analysis and advanced diagnostic imaging) in relation to conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. Early diagnosis and intervention can alter the long-term outcome of these chronic diseases. When completed, this new facility, supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and philanthropy, will be a leading research clinic with unprecedented capability in Canada and globally. It is expected to house more than 50 researchers and 150 students.

ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS FOR HEALTH CARE The multidisciplinary Mobility and Joint Health Research Facility will uncover new early detection approaches and personalized treatment options for patients with bone and joint diseases through its unique combination of technologies.

18 | University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine

This image is a conceptual render.

Dr. Marvin Fritzler, Roman Krawetz, PhD, and Bryan Heard, MSc, have developed a test to identify osteoarthritis (OA) before it develops into a full-blown disease by identifying early markers through a blood test or by examining a small sample of synovial fluid.

Using MRI and CT imaging, researchers like Steven Boyd, PhD, are finding better solutions to assess bone and joint health through increased image resolution and innovative ways to scan patients to detect disease onset earlier and determine the effectiveness of current treatments.

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Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute

USING A VIRUS TO TREAT A DISEASE Conventional cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy kill cancer cells but may inadvertently damage healthy cells producing side-effects. But when scientists inject the naturally occurring, and relatively harmless, reovirus into multiple myeloma cells from patients that are growing in mice, they find that the virus is able to kill the myeloma cancer cells while leaving healthy normal cells alone. Reovirus is a common ‘household’ virus that causes minor flu-like symptoms in humans but is capable of killing cancer cells because of their altered genetic make-up. The research team, led by Dr. Don Morris and Chandini Thirukkumaran, PhD, has started reovirus human trials in patients with lung and prostate cancer.


Being physically active is good for you. Researchers at SACRI are investigating the link between physical activity and cancer risk reduction, and studying whether exercise prolongs the lives of cancer patients.

The brain tumour research group in SACRI is leading a national program supported by the Terry Fox Foundation to find new drug therapies for glioblastoma, the most deadly form of brain cancer in adults.

A cancer research study may lay the foundation for an early phase clinical trial using reovirus for the treatment of multiple myeloma, a cancer that affects blood cells.

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INDEX Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health

Hotchkiss Brain Institute

Research Areas/Themes

• Axon biology and regeneration • Cerebral circulation • Neural systems and behaviour

• Optimizing health outcomes • Behaviour and the developing brain • Molecular and genetic basis of health Translational Research Programs • Injury prevention, obesity, immunization • Neurodevelopment and mental health (ADHD, autism, depression), epilepsy, concussion • Applied human genetics, genes and development

Research Areas/Themes

Translational Research Programs • Multiple sclerosis • Spinal cord and nerve Injury • Stroke and vascular dementia • Depression and psychosis

• Health economics • Health systems performance improvement • Population health and inequities • Primary care • Population mental health • Research methods for public health Specialized Facilities/Core Resources • Ward of the 21st Century

Specialized Research Facilities/Core Resources

Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta Research Areas/Themes

• Clinical Research Unit • Molecular Core Facility • NeuroImaging Research Unit • Regeneration Unit in Neurobiology Facility

Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases

• Heart rhythm and sudden death • Heart health services • Vascular dynamics and disease • Advanced heart failure • Imaging

O’Brien Institute for Public Health

Translational Research Programs

Research Areas/Themes

Research Areas/Themes

• Host-microbes interaction • Inflammation • Autoimmunity

• Enhanced health systems performance • Improved population health • Innovative tools and methods for public health

Specialized Facilities/Core Resources

Translational Research Programs

• Live Cell Imaging Facility • Behaviour Core Facility • Nicole Perkins Microbial Communities Core Labs • Tamaratt Experimental Respiratory Suite • Snyder Translational Lab in Critical Care Research • Phenomics Core Facility

• Environmental health • Aboriginal health • Global health • Geography of health and geographic information systems analysis

• Genomics and Bioinformatics Facility • Functional Imaging and Clinical Research Core

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Research Areas/Themes • Osteoarthritis • Rheumatoid arthritis • Osteoporosis

Specialized Facilities/Core Resources

Specialized Facilities/Core Resources

McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health

• APPROACH/acute coronary syndrome/ myocardial infarction care • Ventricular assist devices/ transplant/ chronic heart failure care • Electrophysiology clinical trials Specialized Facilities/Core Resources • Libin Institute Analysis Centre • CON-ECT Clinical Coordinating Centre • Rotary/Flames Centre for Cardiovascular Health Promotion and Disease Prevention • The Stephenson Cardiovascular MR Centre

• Robotics Lab • Stem Cell Lab • Advanced Diagnostics Lab • GAIT Lab (Functional Imaging Lab)

Southern Alberta Cancer Research Institute Research Area/Themes • Cancer biology and experimental therapeutics • DNA stability and cancer prevention strategies • Biomarker discovery and early cancer detection Translational Research Programs • Therapeutic strategies and personalized treatment • Symptom management and patient/family support Specialized Facilities/Core Resources • • • •

Microarray and Custom Antibody Facilities Clark H. Smith Brain Tumor Centre Translational research laboratories Alberta Cancer Research Biorepository

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CUMMING SCHOOL OF MEDICINE RESEARCH CENTRES Research at the Cumming School of Medicine is supported by three primary research centres. Collectively, these centres provide the laboratory expertise, technology and equipment, and the crucial administrative support that fosters both clinical and basic research excellence within the school.

Clinical Research Unit The Clinical Research Unit (CRU) is a school-wide core resource designed to facilitate research data acquisition, management and analytics, and opportunities for collaboration and education in clinical research. The CRU will connect researchers with resources such as access to standard and customized data management platforms, access to large data sets and common data element forms, project management and quality improvement data integration tools, data visualization, and entry level assistance with methodological and statistical support, and study design.

Calgary Centre for Clinical Research

Centre for Advanced Technologies

The Calgary Centre for Clinical Research (CCCR) is the hub for all administrative services for clinical research activities conducted throughout the City of Calgary for the Cumming School of Medicine. CCCR has been assisting clinical researchers since 2006, coordinating clinical research administration with legal services, research accounting, human ethics, Alberta Health Services, privacy, and records management. The centre has successfully developed systems to assist clinical researchers with the administrative demands of conducting a clinical research study.

The Centre for Advanced Technologies (CAT) is the umbrella under which the Cumming School of Medicine has gathered certain core facilities in support of diverse medical research. These essential technologies support contemporary biomedical research across diverse areas, including genomics, proteomics, cellular and medical imaging, and bioinformatics.

The CCCR also shares space with the Heritage Medical Research Clinic, a centre for excellence to effectively conduct both pharmaceutically funded and grant clinical trials conducted at the University of Calgary’s Foothills Campus.

The CRU will allow for large data volumes and traffic, and therefore large-scale collaborations. The CRU was developed to streamline and catalyze the process of implementing clinical research projects of all types, subsequently providing the community with even better access to the most forward thinking, cuttingedge health care.

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• Clara Christie Centre for Mouse Genomics: Transgenic Mouse and Embryonic Stem Cell Services • Experimental Imaging Centre: High-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging • Flow Cytometry Facility • Health Sciences Animal Resources Centre • Computed Microtomography: Micro CT and 3D-Imaging • Microscopy and Imaging Facility: Electron and Atomic-Force Microscopy • Southern Alberta Mass Spectrometry Facility • University Core DNA Services: DNA Synthesis, Sequencing and Genomic-Scale Sequencing In addition, two essential core services also fall under the CAT umbrella: • Biomedical Technical Support Centre • Central Sanitation and Sterilization University of Calgary • Research at the Cumming School of Medicine | 25

THE FUTURE OF HEALTH The University of Calgary is committed to both leading and serving our diverse community through innovative teaching and leading-edge research. Having a medical school located in the heart of Calgary attracts first-class clinicians and health science researchers to our city, creating a culture that promotes first-class health care for the benefit of the people of Calgary and southern Alberta. By breaking new ground in research, knowledge translation and education, the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine is creating the future of health — today.

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Office of the Senior Associate Dean (Research) Cumming School of Medicine University of Calgary 3280 Hospital Drive NW Calgary, AB T2N 4Z6 E: P: 403.220.4536

Cumming School of Medicine Research Booklet  

University of Calgary, Creating the Future of Health

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