Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Dr. Duncan Stewart is a pioneering Canadian cardiovascular researcher, who is recognized for his many important discoveries in blood vessel biology as well as his dedication to translating these discoveries into benefits for patients and society. After beginning his career in academic cardiology at McGill University in Montreal, he moved to Toronto in 1994 as Head of Cardiology at St. Michael’s Hospital and later Director of the Division of Cardiology at the University of Toronto. In 2004 he assumed the role of the executive Director of the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine at the University of Toronto and in 2007 he was recruited as the CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) in 2007.
Dr. Stewart has made a number of seminal discoveries elucidating the importance of endothelial factors in health and disease, notably the role of the nitric oxide system in angiogenesis and the role of endothelin-1 in pulmonary hypertension. He is also a leader in developing cell and gene based therapies for cardiovascular disease. He led the first Canadian clinical trials testing angiogenic gene therapy using VEGF to stimulate blood vessels growth and heart repair after heart attacks. He is also spearheading the world’s first clinical trial of a gene-enhanced cell therapy for pulmonary hypertension, using endothelial progenitor cells engineered to over-express endothelial nitric oxide synthase. He is also poised to launch the first gene-enhanced progenitor cell therapy trial for post heart-attack repair, and he is leading a Canadian effort to initiate the world’s first trial of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Dr. Stewart has published more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has received a number of distinctions and prizes, including the Dexter Man Chair of Cardiology and Research Achievement Award of the University of Toronto, and the Research Achievement Award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society. Throughout his career, Dr. Stewart has demonstrated leadership in bringing diverse groups of clinicians and scientists together to put Canada on the world stage for translational cardiovascular and regenerative medicine research.