Dr Paul Armstrong, a professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta and senior cardiologist at the University of Alberta Hospital, was awarded the Prix Galien Canada award of excellence for his outstanding contributions to Canadian pharmaceutical research. Dr Armstrong is doing pioneering research on new drugs that can be used to treat heart attacks and is director of the Canadian node of VIGOUR.
Cardiovascular disease is a major world-wide health problem and the number one cause of death and disability in Canada. Researchers in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry have provided innovative insights into our understanding of cardiovascular disease and are developing important approaches to treating heart disease.
Tomorrow's Research Cardiovascular Health Professionals (TORCH) is a novel, first-of-its kind cardiovascular health professional research and training program at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary. Its mission is to prepare Canada's next generation of transdisciplinary cardiovascular health research leaders through a structured, dynamic, and innovative training program. TORCH recognizes that the future of cardiovascular research is linked to a much broader appreciation of the interdependencies of multiple disciplines, the gratification and success of working as part of a team, and the recognition of the unique contributions of diverse areas. Hence TORCH provides trainees from different disciplines and research backgrounds an opportunity to interact and study together. This enriched learning environment helps to broaden the trainees' understanding and vision of the breadth and depth of cardiovascular research.
Ongoing clinical studies complement basic research: this "bench to bedside" approach ensures a strong focus on improving patient care and is a major strength. Six specialized subgroups carry out cardiovascular research:
The Cardiovascular Research Group, internationally recognized for research into the key causes of injury to the blood-deprived heart, is designing the best approaches to protecting the heart and exploring the mechanisms of normal and disordered arteries.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Group on Cardioprotection During and Following Ischemia is identifying the events that contribute to damage from a heart attack and developing new strategies to prevent such injuries.
The Vascular Biology Research Group is developing ways to prevent, treat, or cure disorders of the arteries and blood vessels and has developed a cutting-edge instrument resource.
The Virtual CoordInating Centre for Global COllaborative CardiovascUlar Research (VIGOUR) Centre is a collaboration among hospitals across Canada, and it has established the University of Alberta as a leading academic national coordinating centre for international cardiovascular research trials.
Participating internationally with sponsors and other partners, the Canadian VIGOUR Centre is recognized as an established Clinical Trials Research Centre situated at the University of Alberta and affiliated with the International VIGOUR Group. Its purpose is to provide information to researchers in cardiovascular medicine and to current and future Canadian investigators and coordinators who participate in the cardiovascular trials that are coordinated and supported by the Canadian VIGOUR Centre.
The Epidemiology Coordinating and Research (EPICORE) Centre is a clinical trial and health outcomes research centre. EPICORE leads and coordinates major multi-centre trials.
Cardiovascular surgery research is a very active area with a vitally important clinical component: the University of Alberta Hospital runs the largest cardiac transplant program in Canada and is the major centre for child heart surgery in western Canada.