Dr. Thais Coutinho


Research Award2021 Escalator Awards

This project has allowed me to initiate collaborations with groups I had not previously collaborated with before (Obstetrics and Gynecology, School of Health Sciences), furthering my research network and amplifying the scope of my work. The Award has given me access to a large group of incredibly accomplished women in Medicine and Science who will undoubtedly serve to inspire and mentor me into the next stages of my career as a Clinician Scientist.

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In this proof-of-concept, pilot study, 35 women with a history of PE who have already had their placentas studied and sub-typed (as part of the University of Ottawa’s DREAM study) will be recruited, and a comprehensive evaluation of arterial health and function will be performed. Also recruited will be 35 control participants with history of normotensive pregnancies who have already had their arterial health and function characterized as part of the PI’s ongoing EVA study.

This will allow the study to address the following specific aims:

  • Primary Aim: To determine the association between PE disease subclassification, as defined by clinical placental histopathology, and arterial health abnormalities at 2-7 years postpartum.
  • Secondary Aim: To determine which PE placental subclass is associated with the greatest abnormalities in arterial health, as compared to controls with history of normotensive pregnancies.


A native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Dr. Thais Coutinho received her medical degree from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro in 2004, and completed residency and fellowship training in Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Vascular Medicine, Advanced Echocardiography, and Research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, in 2013.

During her training, she received numerous awards, including the American Heart Association’s Young Investigator Award (2011), the Mayo Clinic’s Summerskill Research Award (2013) and the Mayo Clinic’s Cardiovascular Division Outstanding Achievement Award (2013).

Upon graduating, Dr. Coutinho joined the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI) as a Clinician-Scientist and continued to receive Awards for her research and advocacy, including the Canadian Cardiovascular Society’s Young Investigator Award (2015), the UOHI Academic Medical Organization Research Award for Clinical Science (2016) and Public Education (2018), and the UOHI Global Achievement Award (2019). In 2017, she was appointed Chief of the Division of Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation and Chair of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre. This was a historical moment for the UOHI, as Dr. Coutinho was the first woman in the Institution’s 40-year history to be appointed as Division Chief.  She is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. 

Dr. Coutinho has published several high impact manuscripts in the field of Cardiovascular Diseases.  Her research program focuses on aortic function and hemodynamics, with a special emphasis on arterial stiffness and its role on the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases such as thoracic aortic aneurysms, pre-eclampsia and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. She applies a sex- and gender-lens to all of her investigations, evaluating sex differences in arterial aging and how it may help explain sex differences in cardiovascular diseases. 

Dr. Coutinho is also a sought-after educator, having addressed audiences at many national and international meetings, in addition to her efforts on public education and women’s heart health advocacy. She has co-Chaired the first (2016), second (2018) and third (2021) Canadian Women’s Heart Health Summit, the largest conference in the world dedicated exclusively to the cardiovascular health of women. Further, she is passionate about advancing knowledge translation about women’s cardiovascular health issues, and to accomplish this she has launched, with her team, the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Alliance, whose Executive Steering Committee she chairs. This Alliance’s Mission is to provide leadership in the development, implementation and evaluation of cardiovascular prevention and management strategies to improve women’s cardiovascular health.