Dr. Marc Ruel wins highly competitive award for research excellence

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By David McFadden

Research Writer, University of Ottawa

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File under: Well-deserved. Dr. Marc Ruel’s significant impact as a clinician-researcher and success as a world-class innovator in cardiovascular disease research has earned him the 2023-2024 University of Ottawa Award for Excellence in Research, sponsored jointly with the Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO).

The highly competitive award’s objective is to focus attention on research at the University of Ottawa by recognizing members of its teaching staff who have earned distinction with their exceptional research achievements.

Dr. Ruel has achieved that to the nth degree since beginning his research program in 2002. 

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Dr. Marc Ruel

Over the years, he and his top-notch team have advanced global knowledge, helped save numerous lives, and shaped the very future of cardiovascular medicine. Here are several of his career highlights so far:

  • He and his team have been recognized as leaders in advancing minimally invasive cardiac surgeries, having co-developed the world’s first series of multivessel minimally invasive coronary bypass.
  • To date, he’s been awarded over $8M in peer-reviewed grant funding as PI/Co-PI and an additional $25M as co-investigator while publishing nearly 500 papers. He’s been cited over 17,000 times, with a remarkable h-index of 74, one of the highest for any surgeon worldwide.
  • He’s a leading translational researcher and his team is world-renowned for valve outcomes research, having authored over 100 valve surgery papers.
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Dr. Ruel – a Professor at the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine and the endowed chair of minimally invasive cardiac research in the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute – says the thriving environment for research and innovation in Ottawa has given him a leg up throughout his career.

“I have been so blessed in my career to work as a heart surgeon in a very fertile, productive research environment and surrounded by amazing and supportive research trainees and peers —all at the University of Ottawa,” says Dr. Ruel, who is a professor in the Faculty’s Department of Surgery and in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

“I guess one could say that my research passion has always been around discovery research and innovation, first in the translational laboratory, where we found new ways to mitigate scar formation (first in the heart and more recently in the skin!), as well as in the cardiac surgery operating room at the Heart Institute where we developed, researched, and refined a new heart operation —now emulated around the world—  to make the most common heart surgery, multivessel coronary artery bypass grafting, much less invasive!”

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Dr. Ruel and Dr. Bernard Jasmin, dean of the uOttawa Faculty of Medicine.

In his nomination letter for the award, Dr. Bernard Jasmin,dean of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, described Dr. Ruel’s distinguished career so far as “a testament to his relentless pursuit of scientific excellence and visionary leadership.”

“The impact of his work is not confined to the present; it is an investment in the future of cardiovascular research, promising innovations and breakthroughs that will continue to shape the landscape of healthcare for years to come and bring distinction to our university,” Dr. Jasmin wrote.

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