Clinician-Investigator Teams in Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine

The Clinician-Investigator Teams in Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine is providing practicing clinicians who have limited protected time to undertake research, with the resources they need to establish teams to increase their capacity to do research. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) is a knowledge translation and networking partner on this research initiative.

The five funded research teams cover a broad cross-section of research within the maternal-fetal medicine spectrum, each of which are addressing the following specific objectives:

  • Support a new generation of clinicians in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine to conduct  research using a team-based and collaborative model;
  • Create a research environment for clinicians in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine that supports collaboration and partnership among clinicians, researchers, and support staff with complementary expertise;
  • Stimulate innovative ways to support practicing clinicians in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine to  undertake research through local and national collaborations with other teams and their partners;
  • Establish a strong mentorship model that will support the development of the current and future generations of researchers in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine;
  • Advance research and knowledge in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine; and
  • Enable clinicians in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine to access the support and develop the track record that will allow them to leverage additional funds from other sources.

Read full list of awardees and their project abstracts.

Non Communicable Diseases in Obstetrics: Improving Quality of Care and Maternal-Infant Outcomes through an Obstetrical Research Network

L to R: Drs. Sarah MacDonald (mentor), Nir Melamed (principal investigator), Howard Berger (principal investigator), and Michael Geary (mentor)

Drs. Howard Berger, Nir Melamed, and Beth Murray-Davis, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON and McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

The incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in pregnancy mirrors the global pattern, and has a major impact on short- and long-term maternal and infant health, including preterm birth, fetal growth restriction and perinatal mortality, as well as predisposition of the infant to future obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, information regarding the optimal management of pregnancies complicated by NCD is lacking. Our aim is to establish a multi-disciplinary research team that will utilize a unique infrastructure of an existing obstetrical research network (The Southern Ontario Obstetric Network [SOON]) to improve maternal and neonatal health in pregnancies complicated by NCD.

Montreal Emerging Research Team in Maternal Fetal Medicine (MERe)

L to R: Drs. Ariane Godbout (principal investigator), Francois Audibert (mentor), and Isabelle Boucoiran (principal investigator)

Drs. Isabelle Boucoiran, Ariane Godbout, Catherine Taillefer, and Sandrine Wavrant, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

We wish to enhance the capacity of the hospitals of the Université de Montréal (UdeM) network to offer help and hope to women and their future children, by improving health care services from conception to the neonatal period. Our overall objective is to develop an integrated research platform in order (1) to support the research projects of young maternal fetal medicine (MFM) clinicians; (2) to bring together young MFM clinicians and local fundamental research teams to develop research programs that can be rapidly integrated in the clinic; and 3) to build local/national collaborations and partnerships to rapidly transfer the knowledge developed at the provincial and national level.

Collaborative Obesity in Pregnancy Research Group: Supporting a Team to Investigate Placental Adaptations to Obesity

L to R: Drs. Victor Han (mentor), Peeyush Lala (mentor), Genevieve Eastabrook (principal investigator), and Barbra de Vrijer (principal investigator)

Drs. Barbra de Vrijer and Genevieve Eastabrook, University of Western Ontario, London, ON

In London Ontario, 45% of births are by overweight or obese mothers. This poses significant diagnostic challenges for obstetrical providers, especially when it comes to risk assessment and prevention of placenta-related diseases such as stillbirth, fetal growth restriction and preeclampsia. Through our Collaborative Obesity in Pregnancy Research Team we propose to develop new clinical tools to predict and diagnose obesity-related chronic inflammation, cardiovascular and metabolic stress that is believed to underlie these pregnancy complications. The proposal will target the mother's cardiovascular and metabolic health and the effect of the associated chronic stress effect on the placenta and fetus, using novel technologies such as MRI, metabolomics, assessment of autophagy and pulse wave analysis.

Clinician Scientist Team on Prematurity

L to R: Drs. William Fraser (mentor), Anne-Marie Côté (principal investigator), and Jean Charles Pasquier (principal investigator)

Drs. Jean Charles Pasquier, Haim Abenhaim, and Anne-Marie Côté, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC

We want to better understand the causes of prematurity, and to offer tailored treatments to patients, to prevent preterm delivery and the sometimes serious consequences for the newborn. Our three main projects include: 1) a treatment approach (pessary and progesterone) to prevent premature labor, 2) evaluation of a urine test (podocin) to predict preeclampsia, and 3) validation of a method to better classify the different causes of preterm birth and assess their impact on the health of the newborn.

Investigating Contemporary Topics in OB/MFM

L to R: Dr. Mark Walker (mentor), Ms. Natalie Rybak (program coordinator), Dr. Laura Gaudet (principal investigator), Dr. Maria Velez (principal investigator), and Dr. Graeme Smith (mentor)

Drs. Laura Gaudet and Maria Vélez, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON and Queen’s University, Kingston, ON

Despite previous advances in the care of women who are expecting, there are still many mothers and babies who suffer from pregnancy complications. In fact, the rates of some pregnancy complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure and Caesarean section, are rising in Canada and other parts of the world. Important contributors to these complications are maternal obesity and environmental exposures including the use of assisted reproductive technologies. This research will focus on identifying at-risk pregnancies, develop a triage tool that will direct pregnancy care to low-risk versus high-risk settings and providers, and test the triage tool to determine how well it works. Through this research, we will ensure that pregnant women who are obese and women who conceive after infertility will receive the best care in the best setting at the best time.

Archived funding opportunity

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