University of Ottawa Engineering and Heart Institute Collaboration leads to Advanced Heart Diagnostic Software


Dr. Michel Labrosse, an associate professor in the University of Ottawa’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, has developed a software program that shows promise in improving the diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease affecting Aortic Valves. This technology is a direct result Dr. Labrosse working in collaboration with Dr. Munir Boodhwani, a cardiac surgeon, and Dr. Benjamin Sohmer, an anaesthesiologist and echocardiographer, both from the world renowned University of Ottawa Heart Institute. This new software package works with existing ultrasound diagnostics equipment, and enables a surgeon to provide patients with the optimal intervention for the situation. 

 Typically, a heart patient is assessed by ultrasound in advance of surgery. It does a great job in demonstrating the need for surgery, but lacks advanced analytical capabilities relating to the aortic valve. As a result, the treatment of diseased aortic valve’s are heavily weighted by the surgeon’s immediate assessment of an aortic valve’s condition during heart surgery. This limits a surgeon’s options as it provides little time for detailed analysis, and no possibility to talk to the patient. Consequently, the safest and most common intervention is complete replacement of the aortic valve, even when there might be potential for repairing the existing valve.

 By working together, this team of engineers and clinicians have developed a simulation tool that can help surgeons make more patient-centered decisions regarding treatment options for aortic valve patients that suffer from common heart conditions such as aortic insufficiency or bicuspid aortic valve. Simply named AVQ and AVSim, this software package is designed to give a more complete picture of the heart prior to surgery using the data already collected by ultrasound examinations. It enables a comprehensive analysis of various treatment options, ensuring the patient gets the surgery that is carefully optimized for the situation. The software package gives surgeons and patients a more comprehensive view of the aortic valve’s pre operative condition, thus giving support for analyzing and discussing all treatment options, and may result in more minimally invasive cardiac surgeries.

The OTTN is helping Dr. Labrosse and his colleagues find an industry partner that can further develop AVQ and AVSim for use in hospitals around the world. This technology demonstrates the exceptional potential of university research for society when you bring key engineering talent to clinical specialists under the same organization to solve real world problems. Furthermore, it provides industry partners with opportunities to work with creative engineering professors and students who introduce new and innovative ways to deal with real world problems, as well as with clinical staff who represent the ultimate end users of the medical devices.

 For more information about the AVQ and AVSim software, please visit our information page on the AUTM Global Technology Portal.

Professor Labrosse’s research website, including publications can be found at

 Information about the University of Ottawa Heart Institute can be found at

 Information about the University of Ottawa can be found at

University of Ottawa creates opportunities for Pharmaceutical Industry

Scientific innovation in the nation’s capital takes aim at the pharmaceutical industry with the development of new and exciting technologies that could create opportunities for pharmaceutical developers and manufacturers.



 The University of Ottawa’s renown Faculty of Science and a team of world class chemists have taken the task of improving the quality and affordability of pharmaceutical products by developing new tools and techniques for drug development and manufacturing. The technologies disclosed below are products of the synergy between active research programs in natural product synthesis and biosynthesis, medicinal chemistry, bioanalytical chemistry, and chemical biology, which continuously serve to bolster the University’s reputation in the area of biopharmaceutical chemistry.

 Among the new technologies under development is a series of techniques related to carbon-nitrogen chemistry. One application is in the synthesis of amino acids for synthetic protein development, which is an area that will have profound effects on the pharmaceutical industry. The University of Ottawa techniques employ a one step reaction to amino acids and their derivatives, which can be used to cheaply synthesize many peptides required in the manufacturing of protein and peptide based drugs. Further developments in the synthesis of beta-aminocarbonyl, found in several major drugs, have also reduced the number of steps in the synthesis.

 Working in a collaborative environment, the University’s chemistry research is moving from the chemists’ bench, and into disease models. For instance, the chemistry profiled above is currently being used to synthesize Nucleuophilic Enzyme inhibitors. These molecules present new opportunities for pharmaceutical developers to create new cancer fighting drugs based on the inhibitors. Furthermore, the inhibitors can have investigational applications that could be used to discover new pathophysiological processes.

 Another fascinating and potentially ground breaking technology, is a new type of Single Molecule Magnet or SMM that can be used for drug delivery and imaging contrasting. These compounds were created though the University of Ottawa’s globally recognized expertise in photochemistry. The SMMs are easy to produce by combining a gold nanoparticle with a dinuclear dysprosium SMM in a manner that retains their magnetic properties. The technology enables an affordable source of stable SMM to develop materials for a variety of applications in medicine and information technology.

 The technologies listed above are but a fraction of what the University of Ottawa has to offer in terms of partnerships with the pharmaceutical industry. For more information please contact the University of Ottawa’s Technology Transfer and Business Enterprise Office for more details by visiting

 Information on new technologies related to chemistry and pharmaceutical development can be found by clicking on the links for each technology listed below:


Amino Acids and Derivatives; One Step Synthesis


Efficient synthesis of synthetic peptides containing beta-aminocarbonyls


Biaryl coupling to generate compounds for pharmaceutical and organic semiconductor applications


Inhibitors of Nucleophilic Enzymes for therapeutic and drug discovery applications


Single-Molecule Magnets (SMM) for drug delivery and imaging contrast agents


Antioxidants to preserve lipids


Non-invasive 3D Imaging using CARS


Pharmaceutical Authentication and Monitoring


A full list of University of Ottawa technologies can be found at the AUTM Global Technology Portal.