Who We Are

The Research Institute of St. Joe’s – Hamilton oversees the work of over 700 researchers, staff members, learners, and fellows as they carry out clinical, translational, evaluative, and fundamental research. Our Hospital has a long and celebrated history of impactful research, which continues to improve diagnostics, care, and treatment for patients in our community and across the globe.

Since its inception in 2014, The Research Institute has become a leader in collaborative translational research. Known as the bench-to-bedside approach, this innovative method of conducting research allows scientists working in our labs to make the latest advancements available to clinicians for patient care, all within the walls of our Hospital.

St. Joe’s researchers are helping to improve patient quality of life and the quality of care provided by health care professionals. We are an integral partner within Hamilton’s growing health innovation community, where we are working to transform the way medicine is practiced.

Explore Our Report

The stories of this year’s annual report have been divided into two categories. Click “Our Stories” below to learn about projects related to our five research pillars, and check out “COVID-19” to see how some of our researchers were able to contribute to efforts in fighting the pandemic.

You can also find information about our workforce, budget, events, and services under the “Our Company” section.

Messages from Our Leadership

Dr. Gail Martin

Executive Director, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s – Hamilton

This has been a year unlike any other. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has taken a terrible toll on our society, and in particular on our most vulnerable – the elderly, those living with pre-existing conditions, and people experiencing homelessness.

The virus has tested the mettle of every individual working in our Hospital. It has altered the dynamic of research and clinical care and added stress to the health care system that may last for years to come.

Though vaccines have been approved in Canada and other jurisdictions, marking the start of the largest immunization program in history, it will still take time to return to some semblance of our pre-pandemic lives.

But where there has been tragedy, there has also been triumph. Through the resilience and resourcefulness of our research community, we’ve overcome many challenges both internally and externally.

Early on in the pandemic, our research coordinators managed to transition many study participants to virtual check-ins, allowing many studies to continue. Several coordinators and investigators also worked together to manage patient access for the dozens of COVID-19 research projects that were initiated. Our researchers embraced remote work, performing their data analyses, preparing grant proposals and literature reviews, connecting with their students and participants, and editing manuscripts from home.

We also transitioned some of our events to virtual sessions. This marked a dramatic change for our biggest event of the year, Celebrate Research, which was presented with great online engagement from our community. We plan to incorporate these virtual event successes into future events, even as public gatherings become possible once again.

From a broader perspective, The Research Institute became a major contributor to the province’s response to COVID-19 diagnostic testing. Our researchers developed and deployed critical solutions to supply shortages, processing bottlenecks, and other key obstacles that threatened Ontario’s ability to engage in testing on an unprecedented scale. Second only to a vaccine, reliable mass testing is our greatest tool for reducing the spread of the virus.

I am proud to present the stories of our 2020 Annual Report. They offer a glimpse of what St. Joe’s researchers have accomplished over the course of this arduous year.

“As a health care leader, St. Joe’s is dedicated to discovery – research and innovation are embedded into our 5-year Strategic Plan. Our focus through the coming years is to strengthen our research leadership, to increase our capacity to use big data and artificial intelligence, and to support our people in continuing their internationally-recognized and outstanding research. Together, our researchers and clinicians are changing lives and creating a healthier community.”
Melissa Farrell, President, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

Dr. Jack Gauldie

Scientific Director, The Research Institute of St. Joe’s – Hamilton

Vice President, Research, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

The unwavering commitment to care for our community is the foundation upon which St. Joe’s is built. It has been so ever since the early days when, in the midst of a deadly cholera outbreak, the Sisters of St. Joseph began their health care mission in earnest.

Over the last 130 years, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton has grown into an academic research hospital, affiliated with the world-renowned McMaster University. Within these walls, life-changing research and innovation benefits patients. We educate the world’s best and create a healthier community.

Our Hospital has faced many great challenges over the years, and the COVID-19 pandemic might prove to be the toughest one yet. Managing it has been an enormous effort by everyone involved, and the work continues. Despite these difficulties, we’ve remained committed to achieving our long-term goals and have made steady progress in many key areas.

In 2020, The Research Institute launched a new program called Access Research, designed to reduce the inequities that exist in clinical research recruitment. This program will provide more occasions to share research opportunities with interested patients by utilizing the power of Dovetale, our state-of-the-art electronic medical record system.

We have also been making progress towards our new Institute for Chronic Lung Disease, as we work to bring its blueprint into reality. With the support of multiple donors, Canada Research Chairs, the Faculty of Health Sciences, and our Hospital and Foundation, this new research centre will expand on the vital work of the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health. It will solidify St. Joe’s as a leader in respirology, thoracics, pathology, diagnostic imaging, and much more.

At the close of 2020, I will take my retirement from St. Joe’s. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the Hospital’s research enterprise these past few years, and I’m confident that The Research Institute will continue its fast-paced growth, fostering innovation and discovery that ultimately changes lives. Through its stories, our 2020 Annual Report can attest to these qualities.

I have always advocated for collaboration. There is nothing that cannot be achieved if we are working together – within the walls of St. Joe’s, with our public and private sector partners across Hamilton, and with the people of this fine city.

The COVID-19 pandemic will one day be a distant memory for our Hospital, like SARS and cholera before it. For now, we must remain steadfast in our resolve and let our motto guide us as it always has before. It is an honour to serve our community.