$3.5 million transformational gift to advance leading-edge research in the Faculty of Medicine

Faculty of Medicine

By Tiffany Barnes-Huggins

Marketing and Communications Officer | Agente de marketing et de la communication , Faculty of Medicine

five people stand together for a photo.
Credit: Bonnie Findley
The Faculty of Medicine is the recipient of a transformational gift from esteemed donor and uOttawa alumnus, Camille Villeneuve, which will support leading-edge medical research.

Speaking at the event on Dec. 12 to recognize Villeneuve for the gift, Faculty of Medicine Dean Bernard Jasmin celebrated the news. “We are immensely honored to receive this outstanding gift and we are in awe of your remarkable support for the Faculty of Medicine community,” said dean Jasmin. “Mr. Villeneuve is an inspiring leader and innovator with a strong commitment to the Faculty of Medicine vision of leading innovation for a healthier world.”

The funds from this transformational gift will support several research priorities of the faculty, including:

  • Brain health; 
  • Infection, immunity and inflammation; 
  • Cardiovascular and vascular health; 
  • Epidemiology, public health, innovative medical education and practice-altering research; and 
  • The following cross-cutting and emerging topics: artificial intelligence, Indigenous health research and education, clinical and translational research, systems biology, disease genetics and mechanisms, regenerative medicine and innovative therapies. 

“We are excited to see the impact that this gift will have in advancing medical research at the faculty, and more broadly, in the communities that benefit from the research,” said dean Jasmin.

One million dollars from the donation has been directed toward the establishment of a fund for leading-edge medical research. Five recipients have been selected for the first round of funding.

The competition was open to regular full-time faculty members with a primary appointment to a Basic Science Department at the Faculty of Medicine.

The criteria for the selection of recipients was based on the quality of their proposed research program; the relevance of the program to strategic priorities; the feasibility and likelihood of the program; the alignment of the program with equity, diversity and inclusion principles; and the excellence of the nominee.

Here is the list of the recipients:

  • Dr. Ian Colman, professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health, will use the funds to undertake research in Intersectional Mental Health Epidemiology. Since Dr. Colman’s first academic appointment in 2007, he has been leading a research team to investigate potential causes and outcomes of mental illness and suicidality. This award will enable Dr. Colman to better understand the impacts of mental illness on marginalized and stigmatized populations and address their barriers to mental healthcare.  
  • Dr. Meghan McConnell, associate professor in the Department of Innovation in Medical Education, will use the funds to undertake research in Medical Education. Dr. McConnell runs a research program that uses a range of methodological approaches to investigate the influence of emotions and wellbeing in the training, assessment and performance of healthcare professionals. This award will enable Dr. McConnell to determine the influence of emotions on teamwork within the operating room (OR).
  • Dr. Jean-Claude Béïque, associate professor in the Brain and Mind Institute, will use the funds to undertake research in Synaptic and Network Dynamics. Dr. Béïque has been the director of the Neuroscience program at the Faculty of Medicine since 2019. This award will enable Dr. Béïque to better address and determine treatment for several cognitive and intellectual deficits associated with several psychiatric and neurological disorders.
  • Dr. Marc-André Langlois, professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and Executive Director of the Coronavirus Variant Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net), will use the funds to undertake research in Pandemic Viruses and Preparedness Research. This award will enable Dr. Langlois to develop innovative approaches to vaccination to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses.
  • Dr. Morgan Fullerton, associate professor of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and director of Flow Cytometry and Virometry Core, will use the funds to undertake research in Cardiovascular Immunometabolism. The Fullerton laboratory has an extensive network of local, national and international basic science and clinical collaborators and has carved a niche in cardiovascular immunometabolism. This award will enable Dr. Fullerton to study arterial plaque formation, with the objective to better prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.

The gift to the Faculty of Medicine is part of a larger, $5M gift from Villeneuve that will also support exciting new initiatives at the Telfer School of Management.