Tribute to a great scientist who passed away: The IRCM atrium renamed in memory of Dr. Jean Davignon

Tribute to a great scientist who passed away: The IRCM atrium renamed in memory of Dr. Jean Davignon

A year ago, a major Quebec scientist, who was also one of the pillars of the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM), passed away: His name was Dr. Jean Davignon. 

One year after his passing, the IRCM paid tribute to this pioneer of hyperlipidemia, by designating its atrium in the name of Dr. Jean Davignon who worked for so long within the Institute’s walls, marking it with so many memories. This unveiling is taking place on August 26, 2022, in a ceremony bringing together relatives, but also people from the scientific and academic fields.

A Rich Legacy for the Health of the Population

Dr. Davignon's contribution to research is invaluable. Professor of Medicine at the Université de Montréal and Assistant Professor in the Department of Experimental Medicine at McGill University, he is also co-founder of the Canadian Atherosclerosis Society as well as the Canadian Association of Familial Hyperlipidemia. His research has led to multiple discoveries on the characterization, pathogenesis and treatment of inherited dyslipidemias, on lipid and non-lipid plasma biomarkers, and on the role of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in cardiovascular diseases. His important work on hereditary hyperlipidemia led him to identify a gene whose mutations are believed to be the cause of many cases of familial hypercholesterolemia in Quebec.

Dr. Davignon conducted numerous clinical studies aimed at verifying the effectiveness of lipid-lowering drugs. His fundamental and clinical achievements including nutritional, genetic, metabolic, pharmacogenomic and molecular aspects, have generated a multitude of publications, including 388 scientific articles, 391 abstracts, 64 book chapters and 10 books including the Atlas on Hyperlipidemias (2007).

“It is with emotion that the IRCM thanks Dr. Jean Davignon for his immense legacy, for both science and humanity,” said Dr. Jean-François Côté, President and Scientific Director of the IRCM.

A precocious… and enduring genius

Dr. Davignon was only 22 years old when he joined the working group of Dr. Jacques Genest, founder of the IRCM. After completing higher education abroad, he chose to return to Montreal in 1967 to set up the Hyperlipidemia and Atherosclerosis Research Unit as well as the Nutrition, Metabolism and Atherosclerosis Clinic at the Institute. He directed this laboratory within the IRCM until 2008, later remaining active as emeritus physician at the Hôtel-Dieu and professor emeritus at both the Université de Montréal and the IRCM.

Loaded with awards and prestigious prizes, Dr. Davignon is the winner of the Prix du Québec Wilder-Penfield (2000), the Michel-Sarrazin Prize for his contribution to clinical research (2001), the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Society of Clinical Research (2006) and the Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Midwest Lipid Association, USA (2006) and the Career Medal from the Université de Montréal (2016). He was also awarded the Grand Gold Medal of the Centennial of the Institut Pasteur de Lille, France (1994) and the Cœur Québec Or of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Quebec (1997). He was named Officer of the Order of Canada (1995) and Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec (2006). The Jean-Davignon Prize for research in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, sponsored by Pfizer, was created in 2006. A symposium on lipid metabolism of the Canadian Society for Atherosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (VS SATVB) was also named in his honour in 2011. He also received the CSATVB Scientific Excellence Award in 2013.

Countless are the scientists and physicians who were trained under his rigorous and kind supervision, including ten master's students, eight doctoral students and 27 postdocs and medical doctors.

Florence Meney
Director of communications, IRCM
+1 514-755-2516

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