Announcing the 2020 Ottawa Region Cardiovascular Research Trainee of the Year

June 12, 2020

Jason Zelt, PhD
Jason Zelt, PhD, the Ottawa Region Cardiovascular Research Trainee of the Year

Congratulations to Jason Zelt, PhD, the Ottawa Region Cardiovascular Research Trainee of the Year! Dr. Zelt, an MD/PhD Candidate, receives this award in recognition of his remarkable research achievements. Jason’s research embraces scientific discovery along the entire translational spectrum from the bench to the bedside. His work focuses on understanding the mechanisms of right heart failure in pulmonary hypertension, spanning molecular techniques to advanced imaging and clinical epidemiology.

Jason’s research productivity is remarkable at this early career stage. His body of work to date includes investigations into neurohormonal and metabolic mechanisms underlying maladaptive remodeling in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Specifically, he has investigated the use of beta blocker therapy as a treatment strategy for chronic right heart failure (accepted at the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology); and the demonstration of feasibility using PET imaging to evaluate the sympathetic nervous system of the right ventricle in humans and animal models (two papers in review at JACC CV Imaging). He is currently conducting a randomized controlled trial evaluating mineralocorticoid antagonist therapy in chronic right heart failure (the STAR-HF trial). Furthermore, Jason’s work has practice-changing potential. He has demonstrated that renal function is a very important prognostic marker in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and incorporating this data improves the current risk scores used in clinical practice (Journal of Heart & Lung Transplantation 2020 Apr 5;S1053-2498(20)31487-X. doi: 10.1016). He has also developed the Ottawa Risk Score for PAH which is a simplified risk assessment tool that will allow clinicians to easily determine a patient’s risk and ultimately impact treatment implications. He is currently in the process of validating this risk score.

Jason has published 22 peer-reviewed papers, 14 of which are first-authored. In his PhD alone, he has published 14 articles (with an additional five in the review process). He has presented over 50 abstracts at scientific meetings and received five Best Presentation Awards. Jason is a recipient of the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (1st ranked applicant). Furthermore, Dr. Zelt has successfully defended the PhD portion of his MD-PhD program, working under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Mielniczuk and co-supervision of Drs. Rob Beanlands and Rob deKemp.

Jason has held several leadership roles in the academic and trainee community. He served as an editor for the University of Ottawa Journal of Medicine. He founded the Ottawa Medical School Application Seminar Series, and was nominated to the MD/PhD interview committee. Dr. Zelt serves on the planning committee for the 2020 Canadian Hypertension Congress to be held virtually in September. Additionally, Jason is mentoring two junior medical students on their research projects.

Jason Zelt’s success is driven by an innate curiosity, a passion for scientific discovery, perseverance and commitment. Whether for research, medicine, or volunteerism, Jason approaches every opportunity with enthusiasm, determination and commitment. Jason personifies the next generation of cardiovascular research leaders.