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1955-2015: 60 years of research and innovation

As a part of its 60th anniversary, the Research Centre wanted to acknowledge this exceptional year that reflects the tremendous evolution it’s experienced since its inception. Various promotional tools were developed, of which this particular video in order to announce the outstanding discoveries and innovations to which we had contributed. This tool was also used in order to confirm our leadership in the fight against cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, both related to obesity.

The Research Centre has also partnered with the Journal de Québec (110,000 copies) and the Journal de Montréal (220,000 copies) for producing and distributing on November 28, 2015, a special section towards the overall population of Quebec. In full colour, it has highlighted the main scientific developments our researchers have contributed which have resulted in improved care for people, the strengths and distinctiveness of our laboratory teams along with their expertise, our research components and topics as well as our state-of-the art infrastructure. This section was conducted thanks to the financial contribution of our partners, thus demonstrating their support to the achievement of our mission.

The 60th anniversary honored in 2015

During the year, many other events have also allowed us to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the research we conducted. As a part of its Annual Scientific Days, the Research Centre wanted to acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Yvon Cormier, founder of this event which recognizes our students’ hard work. During the award ceremony, the Research Centre was pleased to rely among its guests on Mr. Denis Bouchard, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute, Mr. Rénald Bergeron, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Université Laval as well as Ms. Anne-Cécile Desfaits from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). Ms. Sophie D’Amours, Vice Rector of Research and Innovation of Université Laval cannot be present, so she has addressed attendees through a video.

Researchers from our Centre also got involved towards the IUCPQ Foundation within the framework of fund-raising activities. First, in May 2015, the event Au cœur de vos passions has highlighted the 60th anniversary of the Research Centre as well as the importance of its involvement in our areas of expertise to further existing knowledge. Under the honorary chairmanship of Dr. Denis Richard, Director of the Research Centre, this event raised $109,500 in net profits that contribute to the development of the Institute by supporting research and teaching activities as well as purchasing specialized equipment.

As a part of the Cyclo-Défi de Québec, three honorary patrons including two gentlemen and one lady have chosen to support the 2015 edition: Dr. François Maltais, Assistant Director of Respirology Research and Respirologist, Mr. René Munger, a patient treated at the Institute for severe emphysema as well as Ms. Josée Picard, a clinical research nurse (picture: from left to right). Accompanied by his treating physician and his nurse, Mr. Munger successfully met his challenge, of riding his electric bicycle for the 50 km route.

Finally, the IUCPQ Foundation held the 14th edition of its annual family brunch in November 2015. The 300 attendees were pleased to listen to the lecture of a leading authority in its field and promoting healthy lifestyle choices, namely Dr. Jean-Pierre Després, the Assistant Director of Cardiology Research.

Committed environment to the development of research and innovation

Scientific Day from the Alliance santé Québec

On November 30, 2015, the second Scientific Day from the Alliance santé Québec (AsQ) had occurred. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Michel Clair, joined by Dr. Jean-Pierre Després, the Assistant Director of Cardiology Research as well as the Director of Science and Innovation at AsQ; this event has highlighted the need for the greater Quebec City area’s health and social services network to innovate during this period of reform, and its capacity to do so. Leaders of institutions have shared their vision and stated their requirements based on different types of innovation, also with practical examples in regard to development and implementation of those. On this occasion, Mr. Denis Bouchard, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute, and Dr. Natalie Alméras, a researcher, both gave a presentation by using as an example Le Grand Défi Entreprise.

A Hub for Discoveries and Training

Targeting top-performing researchers

Over the past year, three new researchers were recruited to join the team, namely Drs. François Billaut, Roxane Paulin as well as Alain Veilleux (picture: from left to right). Along with physicians and health professionals that have started research activities within our facilities.    

Research chairs

Thirteen researchers hold research chairs. These create an enabling environment required in order to accomplish valuable research projects. They provide unique learning and educative experience of high quality to graduate students. During the year 2015-16, two new chairs were created at the Research Centre, namely:

  • Canadian Research Chair in Genomics of Heart and Lung Diseases (Yohan Bossé)
  • Research Chair and Innovation in Cardiovascular Imaging (Eric Larose)

Three chairs have also been renewed, namely:

  • Canadian Research Chair in Vascular Remodeling Diseases (Sébastien Bonnet)
  • Canada Research Chair in Valvular Heart Diseases (Philippe Pibarot)
  • Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Energy Balance (Angelo Tremblay)

Researcher productivity and knowledge transfer

In 2015-2016, researchers also published 504 articles in leading international scientific journals, including the following: Nature Genetics, Cell Metabolism, The New England Journal of Medicine, Nature, Nature Communications, Annual Review of Nutrition, Comprehensive Physiology, Circulation Research and The Lancet. 

Researchers are also participating in many meetings and international symposia. During the year 2015-2016, 293 invited lectures and 501 abstracts were presented worldwide by the physicians, researchers and students of the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Centre


Each year, our researchers provide theoretical and practical teaching and also supervise a growing number of graduate and doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, medical residents for their research component, as well as undergraduate and college students. In 2015-2016, our researchers supervised 245 postdoctoral students, as well as 158 interns.

In addition, eleven students got the chance to become part of the Research Centre’s team during summer 2015 thanks to a grant of more than $25,000 through a Canada Summer Jobs funding. This program seeks to help students gain work experience related to their field of study. They have thus been able to rely on expertise of researchers and cutting-edge technology equipment.

Major scientific events

Scientific events are of key importance by creating a thought-provoking environment in which knowledge transfer can thrive. Each year, we organize scientific research days for students and research professionals to share their work and findings. Numerous reading clubs, seminars and conferences were also held during the past year. Held in Quebec City or in other locations worldwide, these activities bring together the top international researchers and provide an opportunity for stimulating discussion on ongoing studies and new discoveries.

As leaders in their fields, our researchers regularly organize major scientific events such as the following:  

- International Congress on Chronic Societal Cardiometabolic Diseases

From July 8 to 12, in 2015, the 5th International Congress on Chronic Societal Cardiometabolic Diseases took place at the Quebec City Convention Centre. The International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk organized this event. More than 700 specialists in waist obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, nutrition and physical activity participated at this important science event, they came from 60 countries. The participants had the opportunity to update their knowledge regarding all aspects related to the issue of societal chronic diseases, with a special emphasis on patient management and prevention. Our lifestyle, mainly what we eat and drink as well as to what extent we’re considered sedentary or active, is targeted. During this event, members of the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk proceed to their annual gathering.

- Annual International Symposium of the Research Chair on Obesity

On November 13, 2015, the Annual International Symposium of the Research Chair on Obesity took place in Quebec City. This 18th edition experienced a record-breaking year with more than 100 researchers, professionals and students that attended. This year’s theme had focused on the influence of genetics and environment in regard to energy homeostasis. On this occasion, world-class researchers came forward from North America and Europe to share their new advances related to this field.

- Symposium annuel cœur-poumons  of the Research Chair on Knowledge Transfer, Training and Prevention Chair on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health

The 6th edition of the Symposium cœur-poumons of the Research Chair on Knowledge Transfer, Training and Prevention Chair on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health had occurred on September  25, 2015. This activity brought together more than 170 general practitioners, men and women nurses as well as other health professionals in order to optimize the management of cardio-respiratory diseases. Topics discussed, among others, included the treatment of heart failure, heart disease in women, new tools used by the Chair, physical exercise, cardio-respiratory diseases as well as smoking cessation.


The media have taken notice of the remarkable discoveries and achievements by the keen minds that make our centre so special. 

  • More than $3 M awarded to research projects in bariatric surgery at the Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Research Centre
  • For the first time, researchers demonstrate that the virus that cause gastroenteritis can spread through air
  • Acquired expertise and implemented innovations at the Institute arouse the interest towards the international community
  • An important scientific publication that comes from the Institute, the authors looked at patient exposure to radiation in interventional hemodynamics: transradial approach remains a first choice access
  • A researcher from the Institute presents a major study to the international community, it demonstrates the decrease in occurrence and intensity of migraine vascular headaches while clopidogrel is administered to patients affected by a congenital heart disease
  • World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Two internationally recognized researchers from the Institute are collaborating in a major study looking at the marketing of this product

Rapidly Expanding Facility

The Institute pursued this year its expansion plan which started in 2000. The construction work included in the fourth phase of our Research Centre’s expansion has been completed at a cost of $20.5 M. Covering 2900 square meters, these new facilities open the door to more innovative projects. They also provide the needed incrementality to obtain more funding for research, to support the training of the next generation as well as in the retention and recruitment of top-performing researchers.

The additional research space includes a Cardiovascular, Respiratory and Metabolic Imaging Core Lab (which consists of both a 3 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging unit as well as a multidetector computed tomography unit). This fully dedicated Advanced Imaging Platform offers to researchers a cutting-edge imaging equipment specifically selected to address the needs of research works on human and animal.

Thematic laboratories in molecular and cellular biology in areas of cardiology, respirology and obesity were also furnished into the new building, while a sector of Pavilion Marguerite d’Youville was renovated to this end. These infrastructures enabled the teams of Drs. Caroline Duchaine, Nicolas Flamand, Sébastien Bonnet, Steeve Provencher, Roxane Paulin, Jacques Couët, Mathieu Laplante and Frédéric Picard to access new state-of-the-art laboratories.

Balance sheet of the Research Ethics Committee

The Research Ethics Committee (REC) is designated by the Minister of Health and Social Services (MHSS) under section 21 of the Civil Code of Québec. It reports to the Board of Directors from the Institution. From April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016, it held twelve regular and one special meeting in order to study 104 research projects. On March 31, 2016, some 545 files were underway., involving a total of 17,211 participants. During the year, follow-up protocols required a sustained extensive correspondence between researchers and the REC. Indeed, 2024 communications were written. The Office of the REC pursued over the past year the implementation of new operating procedures to authorize research projects that were carried out in more than one institution, including ours, from the health and social services network. Several reports were written and communications were made with the Ethics and Quality Directorate of the MHSS, and these discussions will pursue over the next few months. For the upcoming year, the main works in progress include: the formulation of the procedure in regard to the management of incidental findings; the amendment of the general consent to research and the implementation of a new invoicing structure (in effect since July 1, 2016) for services provided to the private sector that concerns review as well as approval of projects.


These highlights are taken from the 2015-2016 Activity Report. Click here to view past issues.