New research breakthroughs on the horizon

With your help, these researchers are finding new ways to beat heart disease and stroke
Dr. Susan Howlett and her colleague smile at results on a computer screen

Dr. Susan Howlett in her lab with PhD student Stefan Heinze-Milne

For 70 years, Heart & Stroke’s commitment to research excellence has been unwavering – thanks to donors like you. Here are four examples of groundbreaking work by Heart & Stroke researchers that could pay dividends for generations to come.

Dr. Scott Widenmaier, University of Saskatchewan

Goal: Activate the body’s defences to beat high cholesterol. High cholesterol is a key factor leading to blood vessel blockages, especially in people with obesity. But natural defences in some cells can reduce the impact of high cholesterol. Dr. Widenmaier is looking for ways to trigger those defences and protect against heart attack and stroke.  

Dr. Grant M. Hatch, University of Manitoba

Goal: Block a pathway to heart failure. Dr. Hatch is researching how the heart produces cardiolipin, an essential fat that helps to keep it beating. When cardiolipin levels decline, the result is heart failure. He is investigating how to increase cardiolipin and prevent heart failure.

Dr. Susan Howlett, Dalhousie University

Goal: Protect heart health in aging women and men. Dr. Howlett is investigating how frailty that results from aging affects the heart, with a focus on sex and gender differences. She will explore drug treatments that may reduce frailty and its harmful effects on heart health in both women and men.

Dr. Jodi Edwards, University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Goal: Prevent strokes caused by atrial fibrillation. An irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation (Afib) is a major risk factor for stroke and cognitive impairment, and impacts women more severely. Dr. Edwards is studying early signs of Afib to predict who is at highest risk and ultimately use medications to prevent both outcomes.