Three teams secure funding for groundbreaking congenital heart disease research

Investigators will lead cutting edge research to support those living with CHD and their families

Heart & Stroke, together with Brain Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and Institute of Genetics, are excited to announce the three successful research teams of the Congenital Heart Disease Team Grants competition. Researchers will focus on congenital heart disease (CHD) throughout the lifespan and in the context of physical as well as mental health, with considerations for sex and gender, Indigenous health and wellness, and health equity. 

Congratulations are extended to the following winning teams:

  1. Causes and Early Detection
    Lead Investigator: Luc Mertens
    “PHUR4Life Precision Health for patients with Univentricular HeaRts across the Lifespan (PHUR4Life)”
    The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
  2. Brain Health and CHD
    Lead Investigator: Thalia Field
    “Lifespan Brain Health Trajectories in Congenital Heart Disease: the role of sex and gender”
    University of British Columbia
  3. Care Transitions
    Lead Investigator: Andrew Mackie
    “Optimizing Care Transitions Across the Lifespan in Congenital Heart Disease”
    University of Alberta

People with CHD are living longer than ever due to breakthroughs in treatment in infancy and childhood. Still, access to specialized care and services remains a significant challenge for people with CHD and their families across Canada. A collaborative effort is needed to accelerate system-level change to improve care and equitable access to services for people living with CHD throughout their lives. These grants aim to enhance novel methods for early detection of complications, study the connection between heart and brain and improve the transitions in care between youth and adult health care systems. The goal is to improve the lives of those living with these conditions and research is needed to help achieve this goal.

“We are thrilled to be supporting three outstanding teams, along with our partners, who will lead the way in improving care for those living with CHD,” says Doug Roth, CEO, Heart & Stroke. “Nine out of 10 children with CHD now survive into adulthood, but these conditions are life-long. New research will help advance our knowledge of CHD and better support people living with CHD throughout their lives.”

"We are proud to collaborate with Heart & Stroke, CIHR, and these three esteemed research teams to drive innovative solutions for congenital heart disease,” says Dr. Viviane Poupon, President and CEO of Brain Canada. “These winning teams exemplify our collective commitment to advancing research that considers the holistic needs of patients and our dedication to promoting equity in access to care."

“CIHR is excited to support discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system. These three teams will lead cutting-edge research to address important health challenges and barriers for people living with CHD. Through this partnered funding, we hope to bridge gaps between research evidence, health outcomes, and equitable access to care,” say Drs. Ariane Marelli and Christopher McMaster, Institute Scientific Directors at CIHR.

Funding for the Congenital Heart Disease Team Grants has been made possible by the Canada Brain Research Fund (CBRF), an innovative arrangement between the Government of Canada (through Health Canada) and Brain Canada Foundation; the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s primary health research funding agency, and its Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and Institute of Genetics; and Heart & Stroke, Canada’s leading health charity devoted to heart disease and stroke.

About Heart & Stroke

Life. We don’t want you to miss it. That’s why Heart & Stroke has been leading the fight to beat heart disease and stroke for more than 70 years. We must generate the next medical breakthroughs, so Canadians don’t miss out on precious moments. Together, with the generous support of our donors, partners, and volunteers, we are working to prevent disease, save lives and promote recovery through research, health promotion and public policy. @HeartandStroke

About Brain Canada

Brain Canada plays a unique and invaluable role as a national convenor of those who support and advance brain research. A greater understanding of how the brain works contributes to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of disorders of the brain, ultimately improving the health outcomes of people in Canada and around the world. To learn more, visit @BrainCanada

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system. To learn more, visit @CIHR_IRSC


Alicia D’Aguiar | 647-426-8410

Brielle Goulart | 450-915-2253

CIHR Media Relations | 613-941-4563