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30 years of research at St. Boniface Hospital

Inspiring novel discoveries into disease worldwide

By Bill Peters, Director, Communications & Media Services, St. Boniface Hospital Research

Construction of the 96,000-square foot St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre began shortly after the sod-turning ceremony in June 1984. The Centre was painstakingly designed to be one of the finest research facilities in Canada.

Dr. John Foerster (left), then Director of Research, said, “Too long have our academic initiatives been hampered by lack of research space. This building, and the ongoing support of the St. Boniface General Hospital Research Foundation and the University of Manitoba, will allow us to move to the forefront of academic medicine in Canada.” He added, “Research generates a climate of excellence in medical care that is not otherwise attainable. Some of the best minds in medicine are dedicated to research and would not dream of settling anywhere, including a place like Winnipeg, unless they were given an opportunity to pursue their research interests. Such researchers bring a level of expertise to a specialty that is capable of turning good routine medical care into the best available anywhere.”

St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre opened July 22, 1987; later that year, the first six research teams were operational. Through the years, with the aid of several fundraising campaigns, and the support of the community, government, industry, and the University of Manitoba, the Research Centre (now the Albrechtsen Research Centre) has been developed to capacity.

The continued support of St. Boniface Hospital Foundation donors has been outstanding, and the results more than impressive! The Albrechtsen Research Centre is home to three major research programs. The Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (est. 1987), now one of the premiere cardiovascular research teams in North America, has grown from five original labs to 16, and has attracted researchers from all over the world to work at the Centre. The Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders (est. 1999), with six labs, is poised to determine mechanisms underlying, and identify potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, ischemic stroke, traumatic brain injury and aging-related central nervous system degeneration. Creation of the Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine (est. 1999), dedicated to understanding the health-related benefits of nutraceuticals, functional foods and natural health products, has 14 labs established at the Centre. Clinical research is now taking place at the I.H. Asper Clinical Research Institute and in offices throughout the campus.

*This article was first published in the Spring 2018 edition of Believe, St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s bilingual newsletter produced twice annually in partnership with St. Boniface Hospital.

The Albrechtsen Research Centre is celebrating 30 years with an anniversary conference and gala on April 21. For more information about R30, please visit sbrc.ca/r30.