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Cardiac, vascular and stroke research institute celebrates opening

Hamilton, ON – The David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute at the Hamilton General Hospital site of Hamilton Health Sciences celebrated its grand opening today.

The research institute is a six-storey building comprised of 200,000 sq ft of research space, laboratories, meeting rooms, offices and breakout spaces. It also houses Canada’s largest biobank which stores more than 1.8 million tissue and genetic research samples from approximately 250,000 participants globally. The total project, including state-of-the-art equipment, cost close to $100 million.

The Research Institute brings together two world-renowned research teams – the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) led by executive director Dr Salim Yusuf, and the Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute (TaARI) led by director Dr Jeffrey Weitz. Working side-by-side for the first time, the two teams will be able to share ideas and knowledge.

The building is named after business leader David Braley who donated $10 million to the project.

“I am very pleased to support research at this fine institution as it impacts the health of people in this city and around the world,” said Mr Braley, president of Orlick Industries Limited. “The teams led by Dr Yusuf and Dr Weitz are doing outstanding work and we, as donors, need to support them.”

In addition to Mr. Braley’s gift, infrastructure and operating funds were raised through competitive grants to the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

PHRI and TaARI have international reputations for innovation and excellence. PHRI conducts clinical trials in 83 countries focusing on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and the societal influences on health such as ethnicity and geography. TaARI (formerly the Henderson Research Centre) made history almost 30 years ago with the world’s first clinical trial demonstrating the effectiveness of using aspirin to prevent stroke. Since then, TaARI has become an international leader in research on vascular disease, specifically blood clots.

PHRI and TaARI are expanding rapidly and together they attract more than $150 million in research funding every year. Major funders include the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, and several international pharmaceutical companies.

“Investigators at the Population Health Research Institute have made major contributions to understanding the causes of heart attack and stroke worldwide, and what can be done to prevent and better treat these conditions for the benefit of millions of individuals,” said Dr Yusuf, who is also the vice president of research and chief scientific officer at Hamilton Health Sciences. “This new research facility brings this important group together with another world class basic science team headed by Dr Weitz. The synergy between these two teams will substantially increase the innovation and momentum of a range of different types of research activities.”

“Finding answers to complex health problems requires a trans-disciplinary approach that extends from the bench to the bedside and on to the community,” says Dr Weitz. “The David Braley Research Institute brings this capacity under a single roof. Because we now can perform studies that address problems from the perspectives of genes to molecules and from patients to populations, we are ideally positioned to find new solutions for global health problems.”