Student Profile : meet Émile L'Heureux-Hubert

Student Profile : meet Émile L'Heureux-Hubert

For more than half a century, the IRCM has contributed to the development and training of generations of young researchers from all over the world. Each summer, the Institute's laboratories open their doors to undergraduate students, allowing them to immerse themselves in a multidisciplinary research environment that is enriching and conducive to learning.

It is the case of Émile L'Heureux-Hubert, a student in microbiology, immunology and infectiology, and recipient of the PREMIER scholarship of the  Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montreal. He joined the Chromatin and Genome Expression Research Unit, directed by François Robert at the IRCM, during the summer of 2021.

"I love to learn, discover and share knowledge, and I would be happy to do so for the rest of my life."

Émile, tell us about your background.
Inspired by my grandfather who was a geneticist, my journey began with my college studies at Collège de Maisonneuve, in the Health Sciences program. It was during a CEGEP course that I discovered my passion for microbiology. This influenced my choice when I enrolled at the Université de Montreal for a bachelor's degree in microbiology, immunology and infectiology, to be trained in molecular biology. Then, in the summer of 2020, I had the chance to complete an internship, which earned me an excellence scholarship, in the laboratory of Dr. France Daigle, a full professor at the Université de Montréal.

What brought you to the IRCM?
During the IRCM's open house, I met Dr. François Robert and it was after talking to him that I decided to dive into the world of biomedical research. For me, my internship in his lab over the summer was the first opportunity to do laboratory experiments. There, I was able to familiarize myself, not only with my research subject, but also with laboratory work and research in general.

Tell us about your time at the IRCM.
In the lab, I contributed to a project aimed at studying an enzyme called RNA polymerase. This work is important because this enzyme is essential for gene expression, and therefore for life, hence the importance of better understanding how it works. Curiosity and the desire to contribute to molecular biology and scientific knowledge are what motivates me the most. I find this fundamental research exciting because it gives us access to the heart of what defines life. I'm still discovering various aspects of this field of study, but what is certain is that I am passionate about it. For me, having access to this, as an undergraduate student, is absolutely awesome!
In this laboratory, I met friends and mentors who helped me in my technical learning while providing me with valuable advice for the rest of my academic journey.

How do you see the future?
My academic record allows me to follow the Honor’s path of the bachelor's degree in microbiology, immunology and infectiology at the Université de Montréal next year. This process is designed for students who wish to pursue graduate studies. It includes a series of internships that I plan to undertake at the IRCM in Dr. François Robert's laboratory, in continuity of the project I started in summer 2021.
Subsequently, I plan to enroll in the master's degree program, and I would very much like to study abroad in order to experiment with various research environments to better develop myself as a researcher.
In the long term, my desire is to pursue a career in academia as a professor and researcher. I love to learn, discover and share knowledge, and I would be happy to do so for the rest of my life.

Tell us about your hobbies, beside your interest in science.
When I am not in the laboratory, I devote myself to painting, by making portraits of my relatives or representing landscapes. For me, this is a way of expressing my creativity, but also a thought-provoking activity. I am also a book and philosophy lover. I am currently reading Gustave Flaubert and Leo Tolstoy.

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