New institute designed to advance research at HHS

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After years of planning and much anticipation, the construction of the David Braley Cardiac, Vascular and Stroke Research Institute is scheduled to begin this month.

The building is named after local businessman, David Braley, president of Orlick Industries Limited, who generously contributed $10 million to the project.

This 165,000 square foot, specially-designed facility will house two extraordinary programs – the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), led by Dr. Salim Yusuf and the Jack Hirsh, Fraser Mustard Thrombosis Research Institute, founded by Dr. Jack Hirsh and now led by Dr. Jeffrey Weitz.

Both the PHRI and the Thrombosis Research Institute have international reputations for innovation and excellence. The PHRI conducts clinical trials in 66 countries focusing on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and the societal influences on health such as ethnicity and geography. The Thrombosis Institute (formerly called the Henderson Research Centre) made history almost 30 years ago with the world’s first clinical trial demonstrating the effectiveness of aspirin in stroke prevention. Since then it has become an international leader in research on vascular disease, specifically blood clots.Now, these world-renowned programs are working and growing together. In a meeting about four years ago, Dr. Salim Yusuf and Dr. Jeffery Weitz compared their common interests and needs. “Dr. Weitz said it would be great if they could work together in one building, which I thought was just brilliant,” said Bill MacLeod, vice president of Research and Corporate Development. “I give them credit for their vision and for taking that opportunity to grow beyond themselves.”

Currently, the PHRI staff members work in several buildings at and around Hamilton General, while the Thrombosis Research Institute staff are based at the Henderson General Hospital. Both programs are expanding rapidly and together they attract more than $150 million in research funding every year. This new facility will provide much needed, tailor-made space.

The six-storey institute will be strategically located next to the General, one of Hamilton Health Sciences’ most active acute hospital sites, and will be directly adjacent to the General’s research bio-bank. The institute’s laboratories, meeting rooms, vivarium, offices and breakout spaces have all been placed and shaped to maximize efficiency and encourage the exchange of ideas among the 400 staff who will work in this building.

“This new building is a wonderful milestone for our hospital, our community and indeed, for medical research, worldwide,” said Murray Martin, president and CEO, Hamilton Health Sciences.

A number of HHS staff members from both research teams, ICT, security, and customer support services, as well as staff from McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences were brought on board to collaborate with architects, engineers and functional programmers to assist with the design of the laboratories and facilities in the new building.

“Having people on the committee who are familiar with the equipment that will be used in the new facility is very advantageous,” said Alan Stafford, research assistant, at the Thrombosis Research Institute. “We worked with the designers to plan for specific lighting, plumbing, electrical, networking and ergonomic needs unique to many pieces of equipment and experimental procedures. This will translate into a very efficient use of time management and space.”

Construction of the building will be done in phases with an anticipated completion of the entire building by 2010.