Annual Report 2023-2024

Welcome Message

Jason Berman smiling in photo

This past year was another remarkable year at the CHEO Research Institute, full of world-first findings, incredible new initiatives, continued research growth, and impactful work. Inspired by CHEO children and youth, our researchers continue to ask the questions that matter most to families and push the boundaries of current knowledge to make groundbreaking discoveries. We launched transformative initiatives supported by investments from the Government of Canada, to drive new health technologies for patients of all ages. Our innovation program, CORE Innovation, continues to unlock innovation’s potential to improve health and healthcare, while our strategic investments in artificial intelligence and data infrastructure are enabling CHEO to lead the way in precision child and youth mental health research and care. 

The CHEO Research Institute’s dedication to advancing healthcare innovation has been recognized nationally, with CHEO placing in the Top 10 for research spending growth in Canada. We continue to support our seven Research Teams, fostering collaboration and accelerating discoveries to inspire the best life for every child and youth. The year also included a strategic leadership realignment, that positions the RI for continued success as we wrap up the current strategic plan by the end of 2024 and embark on our next CHEO Research Strategy in 2025. 

I would like to thank Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO, for his commitment to research integration as we continue to grow CHEO as an academic research hospital, and to Steve Read, President and CEO of the CHEO Foundation, and the entire donor community for their continued support and understanding that the research we do today results in better care for kids tomorrow. A special thanks to Chris Dyrda, Chair of the CHEO Research Board of Directors, and all our Board members for their strategic guidance. 

I am honoured to have been re-appointed as CEO and Scientific Director of the CHEO RI and Vice-President of Research at CHEO for another five-year term. We have an exciting year ahead and I am grateful to be continuing to work alongside our researchers, staff, trainees, and volunteers to advance pediatric health research at CHEO and beyond.    

Dr. Jason Berman

CEO and Scientific Director, CHEO Research Institute
Vice-President Research, CHEO

“The CHEO Research Institute has seen remarkable growth and groundbreaking discoveries over the past few years, and looking ahead, we are poised to further lead the way with new technologies and innovations. I am proud to support the researchers, staff, trainees, and volunteers at the CHEO Research Institute in their incredible pursuits as they work together towards a brighter future for children and youth. Their dedication to advancing pediatric health through impactful discoveries and cutting-edge research is truly commendable”

 Chris Dyrda, Chair, CHEO Research Institute Board of Directors

“We need to right-size pediatric health care by increasing the scale and scope of our services to better meet the needs of a growing population of children and youth. Research and innovation will help us do that. The CHEO Research Institute is an integral part of Team CHEO and by further integrating research into the DNA of CHEO, we are living our vision of providing the best life for every child and youth.” 

Alex Munter, President and CEO, CHEO

Steve Read posing for picture

“The CHEO Foundation is more committed than ever to advancing pediatric health through pioneering research at the CHEO Research Institute. Our support empowers researchers to explore innovative solutions to the most pressing health challenges facing children today. The unwavering generosity of our donors fuels this mission, ensuring that every discovery has the potential to improve the lives of children not just in our community, but around the world” 

Steve Read, President and CEO, CHEO Foundation

Strategic Plan Report Card

With one year remaining in the CHEO Research Institute strategic plan ‘Oh, the Places We’ll Explore! 2024’, here is a high-level report card on key strategic goals completed during the 2022-2023 fiscal year. Incredible work continues across the Research Institute to deliver on the many strategic goals of the current plan, and we look forward to a renewed strategic plan for research at CHEO for 2024 and beyond.  

2023-2024 Highlight Reel

Dr. Gary Goldfield headshot on the left. Teens standing in circle with cellphones in their hands on the right

Heavy social media use linked to higher psychological distress, particularly for younger teens

A CHEO Research Institute study links heavy social media use to increased psychological distress among adolescents, with younger adolescents being the most vulnerable.  Findings from the study published in Frontiers of Public Health showed that 48% of adolescents used social media for three hours or more per day, and 43.7% had moderate to severe psychological distress, which was more prevalent among females (54%) than

Tom Kovesi next to image of Inuit mother and child

Researchers discover new gene variant causing inherited lung disease in Inuit

Researchers at the CHEO Research Institute and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre have discovered a previously unidentified gene variant that causes Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD), which is present in Inuit populations in both Nunavut and Nunavik. This novel gene variant may play an important role in recurrent pneumonia and chronic lung disease in Inuit.

Guy Chartrand, MP Mona Fortier, MP David McGuinty, Minister Filomena Tassi, Alex Munter, Jason Berman, and MP Marie-France Lalonde at the FedDev Ontario funding announcement for the 8-80 Collaborative between the CHEO RI and Bruyere.

Government of Canada invests over $4 million to establish the 8-80 Collaborative, a partnership to drive new health technologies

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)  announced an investment of over $4 million for the CHEO Research Institute, in partnership with Bruyère, to establish the 8-80 Collaborative. With this investment, the CHEO Research Institute will work with Bruyère to bring together regional representatives and early-stage innovations from Eastern Ontario’s health professionals with companies delivering health solutions for patients from youth to older adults. Through the four-year project, CHEO RI and Bruyère will work together to provide innovators with coaching and mentorship, seed funding and access to other health innovation supports. They will also work to help innovators in the early stages of product development with planning, industry networking and seed funding. Learn more about the 8-80 Collaborative.

New program to make Ottawa a global centre of excellence in concussion research and care across the entire patient spectrum

A groundbreaking $5.4 million research collaboration between the CHEO Research Institute, 360 Concussion Care, and the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) aims to transform concussion care globally, advancing knowledge and treatment across the full spectrum of impacted patients. The TRANSCENDENT team will identify precise indicators to reliably track concussion recovery, utilizing cutting-edge assessments including physiological evaluations, fluid biomarkers and advanced neuroimaging. They will conduct parallel studies and transfer critical knowledge in real time – to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and management of concussion from all causes, across the entire patient spectrum.

Text on screen: CHEO ranks in TOP 10 for research spending growth in 2023

CHEO places in Top 10 for research spending growth in Canada 

Research at CHEO continues to grow with the CHEO Research Institute (CHEO RI) placing in the Research Infosource Top 10 Winners Circle in spending growth for research in 2023; the only pediatric organization to make it among the top 10.

Overall, CHEO ranked 26th in the Top 40 Research Hospitals nationally, ranking as the 4th pediatric hospital in Canada. Increasing its research spending by 18% over last year, the CHEO RI is committed to investing in the growth and integration of research and innovation across CHEO.

left: Dr. Bernard Thebaud in hospital room, Right: family with baby on lap

Tiny trailblazer: First baby treated in world-first trial for chronic lung disease

Born February 20, 2023, at 23 weeks gestation and weighing 515 grams, Emmy was the first baby to receive cell therapy in a world-first Phase 1 clinical trial, led by Dr. Bernard Thébaud. The goal of this therapy is to prevent or lessen the effects of a chronic lung disease called bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). Around 1,000 premature babies in Canada develop BPD every year, and there is no cure.

The Phase 1 trial will determine whether the cell therapy is safe and feasible for premature babies, and help find the best dose for future trials.

Dr. Jason Berman speaking at National Health Tech Innovation Conference

The CHEO Research Institute is pressing fast forward on healthcare innovation

By breaking the mould of traditional research institutes and bridging the gaps between the research, healthcare and business communities, the Innovation Core is helping valuable research and new technologies transform into tangible solutions for hospitals. 

“In healthcare, we know that innovation is part of how we constantly improve outcomes of care. But healthcare as an industry is risk-adverse and can be challenged to work outside the box to bring promising new technologies to market. Research institutes have a role to play in helping shift this,” said Dr. Jason Berman

CHEO Research Institute leading the way with precision child and youth mental health initiative

Precision child and youth mental health is a growing field that focuses on data about each patient’s unique genetic, biomarker, environmental, and lifestyle characteristics. CHEO is actively building and strengthening its data and artificial intelligence (AI) infrastructure to enable research discoveries and clinical transformation. In the past year alone, the CHEO Research Institute has doubled its informatics team, adding AI data scientists, informatics and technical Analysts and additional high-performance computing capacity. Through these investments, the CHEO Research Institute is working to implement new ways to leverage its rich datasets to make groundbreaking discoveries in precision child and youth mental health and other areas, such as rare diseases.


Dr. Jean-Philippe Chaput Discovery Minute "Increase insulin sensitivity with better sleep"

New Discovery Minutes!

Watch our 2023-24 Discovery Minutes to learn more about the amazing discoveries made by our researchers.

Related annual reports

CHEO 2023-2024 Annual Report

CHEO Research Ethics Board 2023 Annual Report

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