Research Areas

Research in the Department focuses on five general areas relating to Women's Health Care

Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Aiming to promote healthy fetal and newborn development

Our research goal is to investigate the conditions leading to normal and abnormal fetal and newborn development. We also develop and evaluate diagnostic tests and treatments used in the management of fetal, newborn and maternal health. We seek to understand, identify, prevent and treat conditions that cause congenital malformations (whether genetic or arising from a prenatal event), premature labour, low birth weight and newborn infections. We have state of the art research labs and recognized experts in study techniques related to fetal and maternal health.

Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

Aiming to assist women experiencing problems with fertility

Our research goal is to help the 15% of women experiencing difficulties to become pregnant by assisting them and their partners. We collaborate with five basic research scientists on projects dedicated to advancing knowledge in assisted reproduction. Our core laboratory facilities are leading edge. Our researchers investigate the three key phases of assisted reproduction; namely, gametogenesis the maturation and maintenance of healthy female eggs and male sperm, fertilization the processes involved in the interaction between eggs and sperm leading to pregnancy and early pregnancy development the conditions necessary to sustain life in the first few weeks after fertilization.

Urogynaecology/Minimally Invasive Surgery

Aiming to improve female pelvic health related to:

1. The Pelvic Floor
Our research goal is to alleviate the great discomfort experienced by the one out of three women in Canada who have pelvic floor and other benign gynaecologic disorders. An emerging research area for the university, we now have three researchers. We treat patients suffering from urinary and fecal incontinence, lower urinary tract and genital disorders including pelvic organ prolapse and other bowel dysfunctions. Our work increases understanding of pelvic floor anatomy, determines the best type of treatments and pioneers the use of robotic and other technologies, which are less invasive than traditional techniques.

2. The Uterus
Our research goal is to explore how new minimally invasive technologies and treatments can make uterine surgery unnecessary, and easier and safer if required.

Gynaecologic Oncology

Aiming to prevent cancers of the cervix, ovaries endometrium and vulva, facilitating early detection and to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.

Our research goal is to develop the most cost effective approaches to screening, diagnosing and treating the four major gynaecological cancers; ovarian, endometrial, cervical, and vulva. We evaluate the relative merits of current screening and treatment options, improve current treatments and develop new ones, pioneer the use of new technologies in both screening and treatment and improve end of life care. Our research is used to set provincial guidelines for care and the practice standards doctors across Canada use every day. We have created a gynaecological disease site team which brings together all the medical and other specialties such as social work to support a patient through the spectrum of care–prevention, screening, treatment and end of life. This patient focused approach ensures that patients receive timely and integrated compassionate care.

Women's Health Research

Aiming to use health informatics and social science research to ensure appropriate, cost-effective, ethical health care for women

1. Ethics Research Unit
Our Goal is to promote the highest standards of ethical and compassionate women’s health care.

2. Women’s and Children’s Health Informatics, Outcomes
Our goal is to analyze and evaluate Health Data to ensure care plans are appropriate and effective and ensuring that policy makers have access to objective and scientifically informed advice on issues relating to women and children.

3. Economics and Health Policy Research
Our research goal is to inform the development of public policies related to women’s health. We help ensure that public health dollars are spent wisely by evaluating the benefits and costs of various treatment strategies, delivery practices and resource allocation thereby ensuring that limited healthcare resources are spent to achieve the maximum benefits. We also promote and participate in dialogues related to the economics surrounding women’s health care, to ensure policy makers have access to objective and scientifically informed advice.