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Highlights 2020-2021

A Hub for Discoveries and Training

Allocation of Research Chairs 

The research excellence of the Institute’s researchers was once again recognized in 2020–21 with the allocation of three new Canada research chairs (Drs. Marie-Annick Clavel, Caroline Duchaine and Alexandre Caron), as well as the renewal of Dr. Yohan Bossé’s. Along are a couple of Sentinel North partnership research chairs whose holders are Drs. Natalie Jane Michael and Cristoforo Silvestri. The research chairs create an enabling environment required in order to conduct valuable research works, permit the acceleration of the knowledge transfer from research toward health care and provide unique learning as well as training experience of high quality to students. 

Appointment of Dr. Steeve Provencher as Director of the Respirology Research Component 

Dr. Steeve Provencher was appointed Director of the respirology research component. Dr. Provencher, in addition to his clinical activities (respirologist), is a clinician scientist at the Institute’s Research Centre, a Full Professor in the Department of Medicine as well as Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Program at the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval. 





Arrival of New Researchers 

The Research Centre had the pleasure of welcoming over the past year five new researchers, namely Drs. Guillaume Foldes-Busque, Gary Kobinger, Jacinthe Leclerc, Venkata Manem and François Potus (cardiology and respirology components). Also four health professionals, members of the CPDP, initiated their research programming. This refers to Drs. Dave Gleeton, Loïc Lang-Lazdunski, Marie-Hélène Lévesque and Marie-Louise Vachon. 


Our researchers provide each year theoretical and practical teaching and also supervise a growing number of graduate and doctoral students, postdoctoral and post-MD trainees, medical residents for their research component, as well as undergraduate and college students. In 2020–21, our researchers supervised 264 postdoctoral students, as well as 277 interns and residents. It is worth noting that the Institute is the hospital centre in the region welcoming the greatest number of fellows each year. These foreign-trained specialist physicians wishing to get additional medical and research training are increasingly choosing the Institute, thereby confirming the quality care, research and teaching of our institution. 

Creation of the Students’ Committee at the Research Centre 

Students mobilized to create a committee to represent them within the Research Centre, but also to promote scientific and friendly encounters, whatever the component to which they belong. In order to encourage exchanges between components, the committee has put in place cross-component noon meetings in which a student from each one presents his or her research project at each activity. These meetings take place on a regular basis and allow students to communicate with each other. 

Annual Scholarship Competition for Students

The Research Centre offers for more than 15 years a scholarship program for students registered in master’s or doctoral-level degrees as well as being enrolled in a postdoctoral training, not benefiting from one of a granting agency. This competition, supported by the IUCPQ Foundation in partnership with Desjardins, contributes to recruiting highly qualified candidates and thereby increasing significantly their productivity. The evaluation committees were composed this year of Drs. Benoit Drolet, Steeve Provencher and Denis R. Joanisse (for those at the doctoral level, postdoctoral training and clinical fellows) and Drs. Marie-Renée Blanchet, Mathieu Laplante and Benoît Arsenault (for those at the master’s level). Nine students in total benefited from these scholarships, namely: 

  • Junichi Omura (Dr Sébastien Bonnet)
  • Ezequiel Guzetti (Dre Marie-Annick Clavel)
  • Fatemeh Khadangi (Dr Ynuk Bossé) (Bourse Desjardins – niveau doctorat)
  • Amit Kumar (Dr André Marette)
  • Audrey Drapeau (Dr Patrice Brassard)
  • Olivier Courtemanche (Dr David Marsolais) (Bourse Desjardins – niveau maîtrise)
  • Élizabeth Dumais (Dr Nicolas Flamand)
  • Pierre-François Tremblay Labrecque (Dr Didier Saey)
  • Faezeh Abbariki (Dr   Patrice Brassard)

Students Join the Research Centre through the Canada Summer Jobs Program 

Thanks to a grant of nearly $70,000, 19 students have benefited from the 2020 edition of the Canada Summer Jobs program and thereby join our Research Centre’s team for a period of eight weeks during the summer. Let us remember that this program seeks to help students gain work experience related to their field of study. They have therefore been able to count on the expertise and collaboration of our researchers and have as well access to state-of-the-art infrastructure. 

Researcher Productivity and Knowledge Transfer 

Researchers published this year 747 articles in leading international scientific journals, such as: The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Science, Nature Reviews Endocrinology, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Circulation, European Heart Journal, and others. Several events were cancelled due to the pandemic, but researchers still participated in international congresses and symposia. Also 123 invited lectures and 304 summaries of communication were presented worldwide by the physicians, researchers and students of the Centre. Our institution remains by this influence an international determinant player in the fight against major societal chronic diseases.
International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The Research Centre highlighted on February 11, 2021, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. We conducted on this occasion an interview with Dr. Caroline Duchaine, a researcher within the respirology component, aired across our digital platforms and social media. 

$4M Grant to Better Understand Airborne Antibiotic Resistant Microbes 

Dr. Caroline Duchaine of the Research Centre, also professor in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Université Laval, and her research team got a $4M grant in May 2020 in order to study the spread of antibiotic resistance by airborne microbes found in the environment. This funding was awarded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). 

Decontamination by Hydrogen Peroxide Fumigation: a Quebec Innovation at the Institute 

In order to adapt to the context of COVID-19 and to guarantee a sufficient stockpile of N95 masks, the Institute put in place the hydrogen peroxide fumigation on them. Approved by Health Canada, this Quebec innovation happens in a specially designed room for the procedure, capable of processing nearly 1,000 masks at a time. The team consisting of members who are in clinical and research sectors worked with symbiotically, in a short timeframe, to arrive to the final process. 

Research on the Transmission of COVID-19 by Aerosols 

Dr. Caroline Duchaine proposed in collaboration with Dr. Sophie Zhang of CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal a new transmission model for COVID-19, for establishing the possibility that the virus can also be spread by the aerosol route, in addition to droplets. This model was able to suggest appropriate prevention measures, and equipment to be worn for protection. 

New Study on Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy for People with COPD 

Published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, this new study resulted from more than 10 years of research done by Dr. Yves Lacasse, respirologist and principal investigator, and his team. 

The purpose of this research was to determine the long-term effects of nocturnal oxygen therapy on survival and disease progression in COPD. The study was funded in late 2009 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). A total of 28 centres in four countries (Canada, Portugal, Spain and France) participated in the study and contributed to answering this clinical question of interest (see section Guérir on page 26 for more details [in French only]). 

“Ma place à l’Institut : professionnelle de recherche” 

A video ( (in French only) was made to emphasize the little-known role of research professionals. 

Partnership in Support for Research Development and Innovation

The Institute reached an agreement in March 2021 with the National Optics Institute (INO), thus making a reality a partnership with Quantino, a high-tech business incubator powered by INO. 

The objective of this partnership is to accelerate the solution development to prevent, diagnose and treat cardiovascular and respiratory diseases (including COVID-19 and other emerging viruses), as well as type 2 diabetes and obesity. 

Expanding Infrastructure

We focused in 2020–21 on finalizing, the last operating and occupying the new spaces from the Phase 5 in Pavilion A. The Pathology and Cardio-Respiratory Disease Genomics Research Laboratories as well as the modern lab for accommodating the Canada Research Excellence Chair’s activities on the microbiome are now in operation. Improvements were completed as for the animal supply facility expansion, and the operational service is expected in 2021–22. 

We also finished over the past year to retrofit a room that will accommodate an in vitro test house, for the evaluation and the hemodynamic performance of cardiac valve prostheses. 

We orchestrated the relocation of 13 research teams (50 people and laboratories), connected to the work of the Medical Device Reprocessing Unit (MDRU) that include the complete reconstruction of Pavilion M, occupied in part by the research sector.