They Inspire Science

They Inspire Science

They Have contributed to the Careers of Many Scientists: female mentors Who Nourish the Vocation. A few testimonials from our colleagues at the IRCM.

From left to right: Frédéric Charron, Sophie Debrus and Mona Nemer.

Dr. Jean-François Côté:
I would like to thank my mentor, and now friend, Dr. Kristiina Vuori, of the Sandford Burnham Prebys Institute in La Jolla, California. From my early days as a postdoctoral fellow under her supervision, she encouraged independence, creativity and rigour. She has supported me at every stage of my career since 2001, both by providing support letters and by taking the time to discuss our personal and professional lives. With 13 years as president of her institution, her background is rich and diverse. Our discussions stimulate reflection and help me to clarify my thoughts. Thank you Kristiina!

Dr. Nabil Seidah:
I would like to sincerely pay tribute to two exceptional women who have played a key role in my scientific career: The first is Dr. Annik Prat, a staff scientist at the IRCM, who was the key person who defined the in vivo roles of convertase proteins and their gene regulation. The second is Dr. Catherine Boileau of the Hôpital Bichat-Claude Bernard, in Paris, France, who was the first scientist to realize in 2003 that PCSK9, discovered at the IRCM the same year, is intimately associated with the development of Familial Hypercholesterolemia. 

Dr. Eric Racine:
I want to acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Judy Illes, Professor at UBC, Director of Neuroethics Canada. She was my postdoctoral mentor at Stanford from 2004 to 2006. A pioneer in the development of neuroethics, a world-renowned Order of Canada recipient, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the US Academy of Sciences, and a strong advocate for women in science, she never spared a moment to offer energy and valuable advice to me and countless other researchers around the world. Her outstanding mentorship has been recognized with an award from the Society for Neuroscience and most recently with a new award in her name offered here at the IRCM at the annual conference of the International Neuroethics Society. 

Dr. May Faraj:
My mom was of a generation and culture where only men had the opportunity to pursue higher education. So, when it came to her children, she imprinted a drive that skies were the limits for knowledge and what they can achieve with it, boys and girls alike.

Dr. Mathieu Ferron:
I want to acknowledge the role of Dr. Patricia Ducy, Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University. Dr. Ducy has contributed to several major discoveries in the field of bone biology, and I was fortunate to do my postdoctoral training under her co-supervision. What impressed me most about her was her ability to draw something positive from every experiment she performed, regardless of whether or not it produced the expected result. Patricia also taught me that a good scientist is both creative and stubborn. She likes to say that science is a bit like cooking: in both cases, without a touch of imagination, it is not enough to follow the recipe. Her positive attitude continues to influence the way I approach problems.

Dr. Frédéric Charron:
Canada’s current Chef Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer was my mentor during my PhD.  At the time, she was the director of the IRCM Cardiac Genetics Research Unit. I learned so much from Mona! Her inspiration and, most importantly, her openness to unexpected scientific observations, shaped my learning. Even when experiments did not turn out as expected, there was always information to be drawn from them. Often, this new information could even be more important than the anticipated results! As Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favours only the prepared mind.” It means that the better prepared and informed one is, the more he or she will be able to take advantage of serendipitous observations in research. Mona instilled this way of thinking in me, and it has led to many unexpected discoveries. Thank you, Mona!

Back to news list


events and more


IRCM Foundation

Be part of the

Support health research