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Groundbreaking cardiopulmonary research centre coming to Queen’s

Groundbreaking cardiopulmonary research centre coming to Queen’s

The Faculty of Health Sciences will soon be home to a new research centre – Queen’s CardioPulmonary Unit (Q-CPU). Q-CPU is the brainchild of Dr. Stephen Archer, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine, and Head of the Department of Medicine. Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation jointly awarded $7.7 million to Dr. Archer and a team of 20 investigators for this project. Q-CPU members are a functioning team with established collaborations.

Heart and lung diseases are among the leading causes of death in Canada.1 All of Q-CPU’s researchers will share a common goal: becoming the global leader in heart and lung disease research, with a particular focus on Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). In PAH, obstructed lung arteries cause shortness of breath with exercise, which can lead to fatal right heart failure. PAH patients are usually in their working years; the Q-CPU team will work to ensure a better quality of life for patients with PAH, and also for patients with other heart and lung diseases.

Opening in the fall of 2016, the Q-CPU facility will be a state of the art 8,000-square-foot facility housed within Queen’s Biosciences Complex. Q-CPU is in one of Queen’s University’s highest profile locations and will serve patients as well as research oriented faculty (basic and clinical) and their trainees. Q-CPU’s design, being home to basic as well as patient-centered research, is relatively unique in Ontario. Q-CPU in aggregate will have the capacity to support preclinical, clinical and population research. The space will be integrated with both Kingston General Hospital and the Hotel Dieu, hopefully as a clinical satellite centre, thereby allowing the free flow of patients who become research subjects during many parts of their care journey. Some of the equipment that is coming to Q-CPU will be the first of its kind in Canada, and others new to Queen’s.

Although Q-CPU is centered here at Queen’s, Q-CPU is an international project as it facilitates a network of six clinical trial centres across the Americas. This diverse network of researchers will include investigators from basic, clinical and population health sciences departments here at Queen’s and as well as respirologists, epidemiologists, cardiologists, hematologists and neurologists. These researchers will identify and test potential treatments for heart and lung diseases, eventually translating these findings for use in patient trials across the six international clinics. Ultimately this could lead to the development of drugs that, once approved, can be patented and brought to market.

This team-oriented approach towards achieving a common goal is Q-CPU’s major strength. “Having preclinical basic scientists, physicians, clinical trial specialists and population health scientists collaborating under one roof ensures that Q-CPU makes significant progress towards effective treatment and cure of PAH,” says Dr. Archer. “It is also training clinicians and scientists to play an important role in this area of health research.”

Ms. Clarrie Lam, Project Manager for Q-CPU, has been working closely with Dr. Archer and the team of researchers to make this project a reality. She will also be overseeing the operations and maintenance of the centre once the centre opens.

Team members who feature in the CFI grant include:

Stephen Archer, is the principal investigator for Q-CPU. He holds research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and was Queen’s first scientist to receive a CIHR Foundation award. He also holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Mitochondrial Dynamics and Translational Medicine. He is a cardiologist and an international leader in the basic and clinical science of PAH and in the creation of translational research facilities.

Donald Maurice (Director, CCR) is an international authority on the therapeutic utility of and the design of novel phosphodiesterase inhibitors in cardiovascular diseases.

Colin Funk, Tier 1CRC in Molecular, Cellular, and Physiological Medicine, studies mechanisms of inflammation in cardiovascular diseases using created transgenic mouse models and spices.

Alistair Ferguson explores control of autonomic nervous system signaling by central autonomic control centers (i.e. subfornical organ and area postrema) and how these systems regulate cardiovascular functions in health and disease. Ferguson has published extensively with Maurice.

John Fisher examines the physiological genomics of PAH, specifically focusing on the role of novel G-protein signaling pathways in cell proliferation, in research that complements Ferguson’s work.

Shetuan Zhang studies how ion channels control vascular tone and cell proliferation and studies how disordered trafficking of channel protein contributes to proliferative cardiopulmonary diseases.

Evangelos Michelakis, Tier 1 CRC in Applied Molecular and Mitochondrial MedicineDirector, PAH clinic (University of Alberta) has expertise in conducting RCTs targeting metabolic abnormalities in PAH using DCA. He has co-published with Archer 53 times.

Denis O’Donnell, a world-recognized expert in the evaluation of respiratory mechanics and breathlessness during exercise brings this expertise to the extreme dyspnea seen in AH.

Alberto Neder, a respirologist and clinician scientist, recently recruited from Sao Paulo, Brazil, has expertise in applying cardiopulmonary testing to the evaluation of dyspnea in PAH. He has co-published with O’Donnell five times.

Diane Lougheed uses ICES databases for her research and will construct the first survey of PAH pharmacotherapies. Lougheed and O’Donnell have co-published 5 times.

As Q-CPU nears its launch date, many other investigators from the Departments of Medicine, DBMS and beyond are joining this exciting enterprise.

Please share your thoughts on Q-CPU by commenting on the blog, or better yet, drop by the Macklem House, my door is always open.


Thank you to Jen Valberg for her assistance in preparing this blog.


  1. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/hlth36a-eng…

Peter Bryson

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:12

Great news!

Peter Bryson

Stephen Archer

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:13

Dear Richard: Thank you (and Jenn) for the great summary of Q-CPU. This centre will catalyze science at Queen’s and equip us to compete nationally and internationally. Q-CPU brings together many talented scientists and physicians and gives them a home. Thanks for acknowledging them! I look forward to having you over for the ribbon cutting in the fall

Stephen Archer

paul armstrong

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:13

This is a remarkable accomplishment and testimony to the creative energy, talent and resourcefulness of Steve Archer, whose day job is Chair of the Department of Medicine. Moreover to have assembled such an impressive team and survived the rigors of peer review to acquire the funding is a most favorable prognostic sign for the group’s potential for meaningful translational discovery in areas of great unmet need.
Best wishes to Steve and his team for future success

paul armstrong

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your kind words about Stephen and his team. We are fortunate to have such outstanding leaders within the Faculty of Health Sciences.



Don Wolochow, Meds '57

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 14:15

Lots of things to see when we return for sixtieth reunion next year!

Don Wolochow, Meds '57

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