Get to know us

About Maritime Intestinal Research Alliance

We are the Maritime Intestinal Research Alliance (MIRA), a centre of excellence in Gastroenterology (GI) research. We are located within IWK Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we work in partnership with Dalhousie University. As the only tertiary children’s hospital serving the Maritime Provinces, our pediatric IBD clinic is the sole referral centre for pediatric inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) for these three provinces.

Our patients come from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and sometimes Newfoundland and Labrador. We accept new referrals from family physicians, pediatricians, or nurse practitioners for patients less than 16 years of age.

For over ten years, MIRA Peds and its investigators have been leading research projects and collaborating with research centres both nationally and internationally. As a research team, some of our areas of research interest are:

  • Advancing our understanding of the role of the gut microbes (the microbiome) in IBD, with a particular focus on nutrition and the gut microbiome.

  • Improving treatment options for children with IBD through drug and nutrition trials.

  • Developing and validating outcome measures and disease activity indices which can be used in clinical and research settings to assess disease-related outcomes. We have a particular focus on patient-reported outcomes (PROs).

The MIRA Peds research faculty are comprised of dedicated clinicians who bring a variety of research interests from their diverse academic backgrounds. Physicians, registered nurses, dietitians, social workers, psychologists, booking clerks, and research and administrative staff all play an integral role in our research. Our interdisciplinary focus is a reflection of the multifaceted research that is needed to appropriately address the complex problems of pediatric gastroenterology.

Feel free to explore our website, including the profiles of each of our team members. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our research and operations.

About our research

"Participating in the research was easy and very informative. The research team made the whole process simple for our family. I loved that our son's sibling was also asked to participate as it gave her a chance to understand a bit more about her brother's disease. We are so grateful for the research team."
– Mother of participant
We jumped at the chance to be a part of a research study. Our family is more than willing to do whatever we can to help find a cure for Ulcerative Colitis."
– Mother of participant
“(Dr. Otley) He shows tremendous respect for his young patients, even when it’s as simple as getting down to eye level to talk to her. He is kind hearted and we feel he is a friend and ally in this battle against colitis."
– Mother of patient
“We are aiming for more personalized medicine, so that patients receive the most effective possible treatment as early as possible in the course of their disease. This will reduce the risk of side effects while improving the outcomes and cost effectiveness of treatment.”
– Dr. Van Limbergen
"Anxiety and depression are common in people living with IBD and IBS. And I think often we operate in silos, where we have the gastroenterologists doing their research and our psychiatry colleagues doing their research – each in isolation from each other. But with this Canadian network, we're really going to gain from everybody working together." -on pan-Canadians gastrointestinal; research network that will connect 70 researchers from across the country with patients and policy makers
– Dr. Otley