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A Hub for Discoveries and Training

A new director of the cardiology component appointed

Over the past year, Dr. Philippe Pibarot was appointed director of the cardiology research component. A full professor at Université Laval’s Department of Medicine, Dr. Pibarot has many years of experience in cardiology research. He also holds the Canada Research Chair in Valvular Heart Diseases.

The Research Directorate would like to point out the exceptional contribution of Dr. Jean-Pierre Després, outgoing director of the cardiology research component. Dr. Després was in that role since his arrival at the Research Centre in 1999. We salute his leadership, mobilizing role and his vision as well as wish him every success in his new functions.

Arrival of new researchers

The Research Centre had the pleasure this year of welcoming Drs. Andréanne Michaud (obesity–type 2 diabetes–metabolism), Patrick Martin (cardiology) and Jean-François Lauzon-Joset (respirology).

In addition to these new scientists, eight researchers in the Council of Physicians, Dentists and Pharmacists (CPDP) and professors from Université Laval have started their research programming over the past year.


Research chairs

Sixteen professors and physicians hold at the present moment research chairs. These create an enabling environment required in order to accomplish valuable research works. They enable the acceleration of the knowledge transfer from research toward health care and provide unique learning and training experience of high quality to students. Holders of these chairs are identified on pages 12 to 17 of the present document.

Researcher productivity and knowledge transfer

This year, the researchers published 654 articles and book chapters in leading international scientific journals, such as: New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Nature Genetics, Cancer Discovery, Physiological Reviews and others. Researchers are also participating in numerous congresses and international symposia. In addition, 250 invited lectures and 575 summaries of communication were presented worldwide by the physicians, researchers and students of the Centre. By this influence, our Research Centre remains an international determinant player in the fight against major societal chronic diseases.

In June 2018, the Research Centre was visited by Dr. Peter Libby, an internationally recognized expert in cardiovascular diseases and atherosclerosis, as well as the editor of Braunwald’s Heart Disease. On that occasion, the Centre pointed out the contribution of four researchers to two chapters from the eleventh edition of this reference work in cardiovascular medicine worldwide. A new chapter on obesity and cardiometabolic disease, a first since its creation in 1980, was written by Drs. Jean-Pierre Després, Eric Larose and Paul Poirier. A second chapter on mechanical valves was co-authored by Dr. Philippe Pibarot. This recognition of the international expertise held by our clinicians and researchers reflects the Institute’s position as a leader in these fields.

Photo: Drs. Philippe Pibarot, Paul Poirier, Peter Libby, Eric Larose et Jean-Pierre Després


Each year, our researchers provide theoretical and practical teaching and also supervise a growing number of graduate and doctoral students, postdoctoral trainees, fellows, medical residents for their research component, as well as undergraduate and college students. In 2018–19, our researchers supervised 258 postdoctoral students, as well as 282 interns. Note that the Institute is the hospital centre in the region that, every year, welcomes the highest number of fellows. 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.

Thanks to a grant of more than $40,000 through a Canada Summer Jobs funding, 19 students got the chance to become part of the Research Centre’s team during summer 2018. This program seeks to help students gain work experience related to their field of study. They have therefore benefited from the expertise of researchers and have had access to cutting-edge technology equipment.

Photo: Nathalie Thibault, Director of Nursing, Michèle Clavet, Executive Director of Research, Joël Lightbound, Member of Parliament for Louis-Hébert, and Denis Richard, Director of the Research Centre, with students. From left to right: Maria Lebeuf, Isabelle Chouinard, Frédérique Proulx, Sarah-Maude Gagnon, Gabrielle Pageau, Charles Dhuyser and Renée-Maude Boisvert.

Scientific animation and organization of major events

The scientific animation plays an important role, and helps create a dynamic environment where the knowledge exchange remains constantly present. In fact, the Centre is holding once per year its Scientific Days dedicated to research which allow students and professionals the chance to disseminate their work. Furthermore, several journal clubs, seminars and conferences are occurring annually. As leaders in their fields, our researchers regularly organize major scientific events. These activities set up in Quebec or elsewhere in the world are gathering the most illustrious international researchers and promote exchanges on studies underway as well as new discoveries. Here are a few examples:

  • 2019 Société Legallois pour l’étude du contrôle respiratoire Symposium
  • International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk Satellite Symposium
  • Research Chair in Obesity Symposium
  • 2018 Cœur-Poumons Symposium
  • Canadian Obesity Weekend from the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons
  • Department of Molecular Medicine’s Day
  • 3rd edition of the Symposium sur la réadaptation cardiorespiratoire
  • 4th edition of the Thoracic Surgery Congress in Quebec City

Annual fellowship competition for students

For a number of years, the Research Centre offers a scholarship competition 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. For scholarships provided during fiscal year 2018–19, the evaluation committees that had met in the fall of 2017 were composed of Drs. Benoit Drolet, Steeve Provencher and Vicky Drapeau (for those at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels) and Drs. Marie-Renée Blanchet, Mathieu Laplante and Benoît Arseneault (for those at the master’s level). In total, ten students benefited from these, being:

  • Cristina Bosoi (Dr. André Marette)
  • Étienne Bourdages-Pageau (Dr. Paula Antonia Figueroa Ugalde)
  • Andrée-Anne Clément (Dr. Pascale Mauriège)
  • Sarah Imhoff (Dr. Patrice Brassard)
  • Nadia Milad (Dr. Mathieu Morissette)
  • Pénélope Paradis-Deschênes (Dr. François Billaut)
  • Kevan Rahimaly (Dr. Patrice Brassard)
  • Emma Roy (Dr. François Maltais)
  • Erwan Salaun (Dr. Philippe Pibarot)
  • Elisabeth Walsh-Wilkinson (Dr. Jacques Couët)

Five researchers among the planet’s most influential scientists

In November 2018, five researchers from the Centre were identified on World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds list of this year put up by the strategic information society Clarivate Analytics. This prestigious annual ranking brings together the scientists whose works are the most frequently cited by their colleagues around the world. Among the eight researchers of the Quebec City region named on this list, five are working within the Institute, being Drs. Gilles R. Dagenais, Jean-Pierre Després, Vincenzo Di Marzo, Philippe Pibarot and Josep Rodés-Cabau.



The dynamism of our Centre is reflected by groundbreaking discoveries and achievements that are circulated in the media. Here are a few examples:

  • First in North America: new treatment for patients with chronic bronchitis
  • Innovative research project to test a new strategy of home hospitalization for COPD patients
  • Implantation by catheter for the treatment of mitral insufficiency
  • Central to a new familial form of emphysema discovered, a Quebec family
  • Type 2 diabetes in patients suffering from obesity: choosing the best surgical approach improve the cure rate

All press releases are available on the Institute’s website in the section Communiqués.

Expanding Infrastructure

Inauguration of a Modern Catheterization Laboratory Devoted to Research

Through an expansion project of the Institute, the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sport, also the Minister Responsible for the Capitale-Nationale Region and Member of the National Assembly for Jean-Talon, M. Sébastien Proulx, inaugurated new facilities at the Institute, including the modern catheterization laboratory devoted to research. In financial terms, the Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation also confirmed through the Research Support Program, a $1.68 M funding to the organization to support the implementation of the catheterization laboratory.

Expansion of the Research Centre (Phase 5)

Over the past year, the Research Centre continued the expansion concerning its facilities, after accessing grants through competitions from the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s Innovation Fund and the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The project (Phase 5) will allow the development of new research spaces (3,200 m2), including a modern laboratory to accommodate the Canada Research Excellence Chair’s activities on the microbiome as well as the animal supply facility expansion. The construction of the exterior building envelope was completed over the past year. The interior work will continue throughout the year 2019–20, only up to spring 2020.

Balance sheet of the Research Ethics Committee

The Institute’s Research Ethics Committee (REC) is designated by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MHSS) under the Civil Code of Quebec, section 21. It reports to the Board of Directors from the Institution. Over the past year, it held eleven meetings. From April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019, 133 new clinical research projects started at the Institute. Of these, 100 were assessed by it, while 33 projects obtained approval by another REC from the health and social services network (RSSS). As of March 31, 2019, 651 files were underway at the Institute. The single-window service (GUR) offered to research teams two information meetings in order to discuss issues on diverse themes related to research involving humans, including the follow-up on ethics of projects as well as one that is brief dealing with developments for synchronizing Nagano for those multicentred.

Achievements over the past year are:

  • REC’s continued involvement in the training and the awareness of good practices for research;
  • Further work in order to broaden the scope of general consent to research and to optimize its use at the Institute;
  • Update of the Research Ethics Committee’s operating rules, including the addition, in its composition, of a non-voting member enabling it to gain efficiency in the continued follow-up on ethics of projects;
  • Further work on continuing improvements involving among others, the elimination of document printing for the conduct of REC’s meetings (paperless ones);
  • Refection on the place of artificial intelligence in research;
  • Contribution to the development, by the Quality, Assessment and Ethics Directorate, of the terms of references in ethics at the Institute;
  • Participation in an advisory committee on using cannabis in research set up by Université Laval’s Vice-Rector for Research, Creation and Innovation and in a working group on the Nagano usage emanating from mandates in priority by the MHSS’s National Table of Research Directors.

These highlights are taken from the 2018-2019 Activity Report. Click here to view past issues.