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Research Programs

All basic science and clinical research projects at the CHEO Research Institute fall into one or more research programs. This organizational strategy brings our scientific strengths into clear focus and provides a structure under which all of our scientists and clinical investigators can align, share resources, and ultimately make discoveries today for healthier kids tomorrow.

The three core research programs at the CHEO Research Institute are:

Molecular Biomedicine

Program Leader - Dr. Dennis Bulmanphoto of Dennis Bulman

Researchers in this program are working primarily in a laboratory environment to improve basic understanding of how cells and genes function in health and disease, in order to develop new therapeutic and diagnostic approaches for many pediatric conditions. Scientists in this program are working in the areas of oncolytic viruses and apoptosis for cancer therapeutics, HIV vaccine development, diagnostic tests and therapies for rare genetic disease, understanding of the intestinal microbiome in gut inflammation, and rapid diagnostic tests for infectious diseases. The ultimate goal is “bench-to-bedside” research that aims to translate basic findings in the laboratory into new therapies and tests for children.

Health Information Technologies

Program Leader - Dr. Eric Benchimolphoto of Erin Benchimol

Researchers in this program use electronic health information and large administrative health databases to answer questions regarding health services utilization and outcomes. Research is carried out on two major fronts. First, the Electronic Health Information Laboratory conducts research on tools and techniques to ensure secure encryption of data sources to allow for safe data-sharing of patient information for clinical care and research. Second, health services research is carried out through the use of large databases such as those housed in BORN (Better Outcomes Registry and Network) and ICES (Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences). With the eventual adoption of a complete electronic medical and laboratory record for CHEO, the use of large databases in research is expected to increase and become an increasingly powerful tool in the study of patient safety and quality of care.

Evidence to Practice

Researchers in this program generate the evidence to answer pediatric health questions through the use of various epidemiological methods including clinical trials. Strong groups in this program include musculoskeletal health, emergency medicine, Healthy Active Living and Obesity (HALO), and mental health. Many more research groups exist at the CHEO Research Institute and others are emerging. Core to this program is the provision of expertise by the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) in study design, statistical analysis, study logistics, and database creation. The eventual goal is to translate clinical research results into healthcare practices and policies to improve outcomes for children.
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