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Highlights 2019-2020

A Hub for Discoveries and Training

Arrival of new researchers

The Research Centre had the pleasure this year of welcoming Drs. Aida Eslami, Alexandre Caron and Natalie Micheal (obesity–type 2 diabetes–metabolism). In addition to these new scientists, ten researchers in the CPDP started their research programming over the past year. Also two foreign researchers were invited to temporarily join the ranks for two years.

Research Chairs

Seventeen 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.


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 2019–20, our researchers supervised 265 postdoctoral students, as well as 263 interns and residents. 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 $36,000 through a Canada Summer Jobs funding, 21 students got the chance to become part of the Institute Research Centre’s team for the summer period. 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 of researchers and have as well access to cutting-edge technology equipment. The Canada Summer Jobs program provides funding to assist non-profit organizations, public-sector employers and small businesses in creating summer job opportunities for students aged 15 to 30 years.

Researcher Productivity and Knowledge Transfer

Researchers published this year 671 articles in leading international scientific journals, such as: The New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Nature Reviews Genetics, Nature Medicine, The British Medical Journal (BMJ), European Heart Journal, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine and others. Research scientists are also participating in numerous congresses and international symposia. This year 335 invited lectures and 574 summaries of communication were presented worldwide by the physicians, researchers and students of the Centre. Our Research Centre remains by this influence an international determinant player in the fight against major societal chronic diseases. About thirty doctoral students from the University of Wageningen (Wageningen University & Research), just as an example, took part in October 2019 in a conference day at the Institute and toured the medical imaging facilities during the course of the project PhD Tour Canada. Lectures were given by visiting and research students from the Institute. Numerous exchanges between visiting students and research teams allowed them to share knowledge as well as to establish new contacts.

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. The Centre is indeed holding once per year its Scientific Days dedicated to research which allow students and professionals the chance to disseminate their work. In addition several journal clubs, seminars and conferences are occurring annually. As leaders in their fields, finally, our researchers regularly organize major scientific events. These activities set up in Québec 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:

  • Research Chair in Obesity Symposium
  • 2019 Cœur-Poumons Annual Symposium
  • Department of Molecular Medicine’s 7th Day at Université Laval
  • 5th edition of the Thoracic Surgery Congress in Quebec City
  • EPOP’s mini-symposium – “Prévenir l’obésité: des solutions, leurs promesses et défis

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 Vicky Drapeau (for those at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels and clinical fellows) and Drs. Marie-Renée Blanchet, Mathieu Laplante and Benoît Arseneault (for those at the master’s level). Ten students in total benefited from these scholarships.

  • Afonso Barroso (Dr. Mathieu Bernier)
  • Jérémy Bernard (Dr. Philippe Pibarot)
  • Élizabeth Dumais (Dr. Nicolas Flamand)
  • Sofian Laouafa (Dr. Jorge Soliz)
  • Raphaëlle Jacob (Dr. Vicky Drapeau)
  • William Harvey (Dr. Steve Charette)
  • Pénélope Paradis-Deschênes (Dr. François Billaut)
  • Mohamed Salah Annabi (Dr. Marie-Annick Clavel)
  • Éliane Tardif-Pellerin (Dr. David Marsolais)
  • Émile Voisine (Dr. Mario Sénéchal)

Four Researchers from the Centre among the Planet’s Most Influential Scientists

Researchers from the Institute are included in the prestigious annual ranking of scientists for a third consecutive year, whose works are the most frequently cited in the entire world. This list is drawn up by Clarivate Analytics, a corporation that holds and manage several scientific journals. The four researchers are this year Drs. 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:

  • Approval by Health Canada of FreeO2, a completely new single medical device and entirely designed in Québec
  • Pulmonary arterial hypertension: first global epigenetics study for dealing with this disease
  • New study: bacteria might be involved in the development of type 2 diabetes
  • Official launch of an educational toolkit on lung cancer to raise the awareness of secondary school kids
  • Official position of the International Mobilization Committee in the Fight Against Visceral Obesity

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

Wear Red Canada

On the initiative of Dr. Marie-Annick Clavel, a researcher, the Research Centre participated on February 13th, 2020, in the campaign Wear Red Canada of the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre to remind that the heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the world. Dr. Clavel gave media interviews in connection with women’s heart health.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

The Research Centre highlighted on February 11th, 2020, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. The Centre emphasized on this occasion the exceptional contribution of all those who are working in it. They represent 61% of the Institute Research Centre’s members.

Quebec City’s Incubators/Accelerators Sign a Collaboration Charter

In collaboration with the city, the group of Québec City’s incubators/accelerators officially signed in November 2019 a shared commitment. All signatories thereby pledge to pool their expertise, resources and their networks facilitating the entrepreneurial development and the creation of conditions favourable to business start-up, growth and expansion in greater Québec City area. The Institute is committed to support the life sciences component.

Partnership in Support for Research Development and Innovation

First day for innovation and partnerships at the Institute

Through a partnership between the cities of Québec and Rennes, the Institute organized the first edition of the Day for Innovation and Partnerships in October. A delegation of Rennes’ businesses and research centres in medical technology had occasion on that particular day to discuss needs of health institutions. The event brought together more than 80 people and several of our researchers were able to present their projects.

Expanding Infrastructure

Expansion of the Research Centre (Phase 5)

The Research Centre continued over the past year 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 is finished, and the interior work was completed in April 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 Québec, section 21. It reports to the Board of Directors from the Institution. It held eleven meetings over the past year and the activities carried out are summarized as follows:

  • Approval of 120 new research projects
  • Continuing ethics review for the 558 research projects underway on March 31st, 2020, at the Institute
  • Continued involvement in the training and the awareness of good practices for research
  • Contribution to the harmonization provincial works in the use of the Nagano tool in a multicentric ethical assessment of research projects conducted in the RSSS
  • Reflection on the use of cannabis in research
  • Participation in the content development of the Day for Sharing Means of RECs from the RSSS – 4th edition
  • Participation in the advisory committee to prepare the Symposium on Research Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Discussion with an expert and reflection on the use of metadata and artificial intelligence in research

These highlights are taken from the 2019-2020 Activity Report. Click here to view past issues.