Overview of 2021 Highlights

Overview of 2021 Highlights

As 2021 draws to a close, a retrospect shows the vitality and excellence of the IRCM's internal community. In this second year of the pandemic, our next generation of scientists and our researchers have stood out at all levels, promoting the Institute through their talents, their resilience and the excellence of their research. Take a quick look at some of the highlights of the past year and join us in celebrating these successes.

The highlights of our next generation of scientists:

  1. Our students and interns stand out in the FRQS competitions thanks to their highly promising research work. Following a rigorous selection process based on excellence, 13 IRCM students and postdoctoral fellows were awarded scholarships totalling more than $ 700,000 to continue their research. Among them, discover Sepideh Mikaeeli.
  2. The IRCM Student Association welcomed 2 Nobel Prize winners at the Marie and Willie Chrétien Conference series. Earlier this summer, Dr. Michael Houghton who is known for his groundbreaking work on hepatitis C (HCV), spoke about his research that helped reverse the progression of the HCV virus through the development of diagnostic methods, antiviral treatments and vaccines. In the fall, Dr. Peter Doherty gave an update on the onset of the pandemic, the rapid evolution of scientific knowledge on COVID-19, and perspectives for the futures.
  3. In summer 2021, the IRCM awarded the IRCM scholarship for young researchers to 6 undergraduate students who stand out for their potential and who wish to get into biomedical sciences. This 12 to16-week internship represents a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in a multidisciplinary research environment, enriching and conducive to learning. Among them, discover Émile L’Heureux-Hubert.
  4. The IRCM launched the Early-Career Scientist Seminar Series aimed at attracting in its walls young researchers from all over the world who wish to develop their research laboratory in the near future. This prestigious new program offers graduating doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to visit the IRCM to present their research to a multidisciplinary audience.
  5. The IRCM launches the first edition of SciPOP. This unique popularization event allowed 30 students from the next generation of scientists at the IRCM to #ShareTheirScience in formats accessible to all, such as TED conferences, Shark Tanks, My Thesis in 180 seconds, and 100% popularized sessions. Among the participants, discover Zekai Wu.

The highlights of our researchers:

  1. The IRCM recruited Sidney Altman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. A pioneer in RNA medical research, Dr. Altman will return to Montreal after a prestigious career abroad and join the ranks of the IRCM as professor in residence.
  2. In February 2021, Emilia Liana Falcone launched IPCO, a research clinic that aims to study the effects of long-term COVID in order to answer questions that will improve the care of people struggling with the after-effects of the disease. 
  3. After an ambitious one-million-dollar fundraising campaign led by the IRCM Foundation and Sylvain Corbeil, a patient and loyal ally of the IRCM, the research project on immunodeficiencies began in 2021.
  4. IRCM researchers launched Neurobasis, an $ 8 million multi-institutional collaborative project aimed at better understanding the development of neurological disorders and finding new ways to treat them. Led by Artur Kania and Frédéric Charron, as well as their IRCM colleagues, Michel Cayouette and Hideto Takahashi, the project hopes to identify the genetic mutations and critical events at the origin of these disorders.
  5. Several of our researchers received prestigious awards and recognition: Emilia Liana Falcone, Michel Chrétien, Yvan Guindon, and André Veillette are honoured during the special COVID-19 edition of the Gala Bravo of the UdeM for their contribution to the fight against disease. Jennifer Estall receives the Young Scientist Award from Diabetes Canada as well as the Young Scientist Award from UdeM. Also, Marie Kmita received the Marcel-Piché Prize from the IRCM Foundation in recognition of her great contribution to the Institute's influence, through her world-class research and her contribution to the training of the next generation of scientists.
  6. Mathieu Ferron published a breakthrough in the journal eLife which shows that supplementing a bone hormone with sugar can help the metabolism function better. Later in the summer, he received the Fuller Albright Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in recognition of his contribution to bone and skeletal research.
  7. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret obtained a major grant from the Francophone Foundation for Diabetes Research – FFRD. With this support, Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret will advance his clinical research project on the relationship between dysglycemia and cystic fibrosis.
  8. Jean-François Côté, Artur Kania, Hua Gu and André Veillette received a total of more than $ 4.5 million as part of the Spring 2021 Project Grants competition from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to fund five research projects with high impact potential.
  9. Jean-François Côté’s team made a breakthrough for the treatment of an aggressive breast cancer. Published in the renowned scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the study conducted by doctoral student Marie-Anne Goyette reveals a highly promising new therapeutic target for combating the disease.
  10. Our researchers Rémi Rabasa Lhoret and Nabil G. Seidah were elected 2021 members of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) in recognition of the excellence of their work as leaders in health sciences. To be elected to CAHS is one of the highest honours bestowed on members of the health sciences community in Canada.
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