Dr. Rita Horvath and Dr. Khaled El Emam both awarded Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs


Ottawa, Ontario — Tuesday June 15, 2021

The CHEO Research Institute is thrilled to announce that Dr. Rita Horvath and Dr. Khaled El Emam have been awarded prestigious Tier 1 Canada Research Chairs (CRC) through the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine. The CRC Program invests approximately $265 million per year to attract and retain the world’s most accomplished and promising minds. Dr. Rita Horvath is the Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Disease Pathogenesis to Therapy, and Dr. El Emam is the Canada Research Chair in Medical Artificial Intelligence. CHEO Research Institute is now home to five Canada Research Chairs.

“This is emblematic of CHEO and the University of Ottawa’s international leadership in rare disease genomics and big data,” says Dr. Jason Berman, CEO and Scientific Director of the CHEO Research Institute and Vice President Research at CHEO. “Recruiting these two exceptional scientists, who are globally recognized in their fields, supports our strategic goal to expand and integrate research across CHEO, and highlight’s Canada’s commitment to improving the care and outcomes of the patients and families we serve every day.”

Credit: University of Ottawa

“Dr. Horvath’s research will improve the diagnosis and treatment of mitochondrial diseases, which are genetic disorders that are difficult to diagnose and cause a range of devastating physical, developmental, and intellectual disabilities. This research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial disease to provide accurate diagnosis and develop targeted therapies.

Dr. El Emam’s research will focus on developing a methodology for the synthesis of complex health data. This means applying artificial intelligence techniques to model personal clinical and biological information stored in databases. These models can be used to generate virtual patients that mimic the characteristics of real patients. This solves data-sharing problems and enables adding simulated patients to accelerate clinical studies.”

Dr. Horvath has been recruited from the UK where she leads an internationally-recognized research program in mitochondrial disease. Dr. El Emam was recruited from the private sector, a renowned systems and software engineer and previous Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information, who founded or co-founded six companies involved with data management and data analytics. At CHEO Research Institute they will continue to make discoveries that inspire the best life for every child, youth, and family.


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