2022 at the IRCM: Some highlights as the year draws to a close

2022 at the IRCM: Some highlights as the year draws to a close

As the year draws to a close, it has become a tradition to look back at some of the highlights of the scientific, community and clinical life of the IRCM. The legacy of 2022 is particularly rich, and confirms the vitality and excellence of the IRCM's internal community. This brief overview, which does not claim to be exhaustive (as there are many achievements this year), is a way of congratulating ourselves collectively for the work accomplished by the members of the IRCM community.

A confirmed PSD !

To all intents and purposes. In July, Dr. Côté was confirmed as President and Scientific Director of the IRCM. Congratulations!

Highlights of our next generation of scientists :

  • A post-pandemic highlight: The return of our Scientific Forum, to the great joy of the participants, including a large number of young scientists.
  • Let's underline the success of the Career Conversations event held on June 21, which allowed young scientists to orient their professional choices.
  •  We would also like to point out that the elections of the new ASSO reappointed Sophie Ehresmann, a doctoral student in molecular biology who conducts research in Dr. Martin Sauvageau's laboratory, as its head.
  •  And back in full force following the pandemic-induced hiatus, the interlabs, which began in April. These events in which IRCM students/postdocs present and discuss their research with their peers and fellow students/postdocs are very popular.

And it has been a rich year for our students and postdocs : 

Highlights from our researchers:

Promising advances highlighted in the public space and recognition have multiplied at IRCM over the past twelve months, and we are publishing here just a sampling of those results :

Major work carried out in the laboratory of Dr. Michel Cayouette has uncovered a mechanism controlling cellular levels of the protein Tau, whose abnormal accumulation is at the origin of tauopathies, a class of devastating neurodegenerative diseases. The work of Dr. Tarik Möröy and Marion Lacroix on avenues for curing lymphoma is attracting a great deal of interest from the scientific community and the media. The work of Dr. Coulombe and Dr. Pinard gives hope for effective therapeutic avenues for leukodystrophies. The understanding of COVID takes a step forward with the work of Drs. Seidah and Cohen. Dr.Côté is awarded a prestigious Canada Research Chair while Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret and his team are awarded an International Chair. And just before the end of the year, Viviane Tran's work under the direction of Dr. Côté, published in Nature Communications, stands out.

This is just a sample of the year's successes. See the IRCM website for the complete list.

Prestigious awards

A constellation of awards was added to the IRCM's firmament in 2022, including that of Dr. Michel Chrétien (Armand-Frappier), Dr. Seidah (Kuwait-2021 Prize). Dr. Chrétien also became a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec, while Dr. André Veillette was inducted into the Académie canadienne des sciences de la santé. He was also appointed to the federal task force on long term COVID, and had earlier this year taken over the direction of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres (Terry Fox Research Institute). Dr. Paul Jolicoeur became Professor Emeritus.

A rich harvest of grants for our researchers

The official results of the highly competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grants for the spring of 2022 report an exceptional success rate (33%) compared to the national success rate of 19%, with three successful projects, those of Drs. Veillette, Kania et Möröy. This follows the February Diabetes Canada's End Diabetes: 100 funds Award to Drs, Ferron and Rabasa-Lhoret for promising research at the IRCM.

An expertise that stands out

The major Effervescence event, bringing together industry and science at the Bonsecours Market in Montreal, was an opportunity to highlight the expertise of our RNA researchers and that of our next generation.

The new Terry Fox Research Institute (TFRI) office and team, based at the IRCM, follows in the footsteps of the Vancouver headquarters and is part of the Institute's commitment to a presence in Eastern Canada. Dr. Veillette leads it.

The Better Registry has now been extended to all of Canada. Congratulations to the clinic teams!

Beneficial funding

The IRCM's activities were consolidated by funding from Quebec City, announced at a major press conference. Ministers Pierre Fitzgibbon and Christian Dubé announced grants totalling $31,142,313. These amounts will allow to propel the research and clinical research activities of the IRCM until 2023-2024. It should also be noted that the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux has granted, for the first time ever, funding of $1.7 million per year for two years for the clinic's activities.

A time for tributes

The life of the IRCM is also the legacy of those who have left us.

In August, the inauguration of the Jean-Davignon Atrium in the presence of family members and members of the community was an opportunity to highlight the exceptional contribution of this pioneer who had passed away one year earlier.

Finally, the IRCM paid tribute to an RNA pioneer closely associated with the Institute in recent times, Sidney Altman, who has sadly passed away.

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