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University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Dr. Tofy Mussivand, winner of the 2010 CIHR Knowledge Translation Award, took a very complex problem – heart failure – and reduced it to simple mechanical roots.
"I saw many people, young and old, who die from heart failure. When doctors say you have heart failure, it's very bad news – if you don't do anything, within several years you will die," says Dr. Mussivand. "I became very absorbed in and focused on the problem."
He began his work on this issue at the Cleveland Clinic, but was eventually persuaded to return to Canada and join the University of Ottawa Heart Institute by Dr. Wilbert Keon. There Dr. Mussivand began to explore new approaches to treating heart failure.
"I love to take complex issues and simplify them," says Dr. Mussivand. "That's the way I understand it and that's the way I enjoy it. I simplified heart failure as essentially a problem with a pump."
Having reframed the problem, Dr. Mussivand was able to combine his backgrounds in engineering and medicine and assemble a multidisciplinary team from universities and hospitals in Canada and abroad to develop and test an implantable artificial heart and associated enabling technologies.
Dr. Mussivand's work on the artificial heart led to much more than a promising new treatment for people who suffer from heart failure. His work led to the creation of a successful global medical device company that continues to save lives around the globe. And in Canada, he continues to conduct groundbreaking research and develop novel medical devices for a range of health-care applications.
"We have also established the Medical Devices Innovation Institute (MDI2), which is focused on advancing new innovative medical devices from concept to clinical use and working to advance Canada's standing in the global medical devices sector through enhanced collaboration and knowledge sharing."
A strong believer and advocate for multidisciplinary collaboration, Dr. Mussivand feels that knowledge sharing is the key to global competitiveness for Canada.
"Without effective knowledge exchange, mankind will stagnate" says Dr. Mussivand. "Through greater collaboration we will enhance opportunities to reduce suffering and treat disease."
Featured Awards and Recognition
- CIHR Health Researcher of the Year (2010)
- CIHR Knowledge Translation Award (2010)
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2000)
- Ottawa Life Sciences Council Annual Achievement Awards (1997)