The 2022 Dr. Robert Roberts Award for Research Excellence

December 12, 2022

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is pleased to announce that Mireille Ouimet, PhD, Emilio Alarcón, PhD, Erik Suuronen, PhD and Benjamin Chow, MD, have been selected as recipients of the 2022 Dr. Robert Roberts Award for Research Excellence. The Dr. Robert Roberts Award recognizes UOHI investigators who have published a peer-reviewed, original research paper that has, or is expected to have, a high impact on cardiovascular science and care.

Drs. Emilio Alarcón and Erik Suuronen are recognized for a study looking at the development and testing of a sprayable nanotherapeutic that uses surface engineered multiarmed peptide grafted nanogold for on-the-spot coating of an infarcted myocardial surface, published in ACS Nano. This study demonstrated that the therapeutic action of the spray-on nanotherapeutic is highly effective, and in practice, its application is simpler than other regenerative approaches for treating an infarcted heart.

Dr. Mireille Ouimet is recognized for her impactful comparative analysis of autophagy flux in lipid-rich aortic intimal foam cell populations to determine whether vascular smooth muscle cell-derived foam cells could metabolize lipid droplets similarly to their macrophage counterparts, published in Circulation Research. Results showed that vascular smooth muscle cell-derived foam cells and macrophage foam cells perform cholesterol efflux by distinct mechanisms, and that autophagy flux is highly impaired in vascular smooth muscle cell foam cells, but can be induced by pharmacological means.

Dr. Benjamin Chow is recognized for his outstanding study which investigated if subendocardial attenuation using coronary computed tomography angiography predicts MACE 30 days post-elective non-cardiac surgery, published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging. Dr. Chow’s team found that subendocardial attenuation and transmural attenuation changes are independent and incremental predictors of MACE 30 days after elective noncardiac surgery.

Congratulations to Drs. Ouimet, Alarcón, Suuronen, and Chow on their outstanding work!