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Message from the Executive Director

Vassilios Papadopoulos, D.Pharm., PhD


Dear Colleagues,

Reflecting on the first six months of 2015 at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), I have to admit that I feel as if stepping down from a roller coaster, in need to pause and take a deep breath to regain balance!

Following the inauguration of our new facilities at the Glen site, we proceeded with the move of labs from the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH), Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH), Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) to the Glen, as well as with MGH renovations, the move of labs from the RVH to the MGH, the move of animals from three viviaria to the one at the Glen, and the opening of the Centre for Innovative Medicine (CIM) and research building at the Glen. Moreover, we are now on the right track to assemble the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) group in two facilities, the 5252 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West and R buildings at the Glen and MGH sites, respectively.  

Thus, most RI-MUHC members, trainees and staff have now settled down in their new work spaces and most of the new equipment is in place, pending the completion of equipment purchases in September. I want to thank all members of our research community, including the transition, redevelopment and technical teams, for the hard work that secured a smooth and successful transition.

After four years of negotiations, a new tenure-track agreement with McGill University was recently signed. Our Board of Directors, Dean of Medicine, Ministry of Health, and MUHC leadership are to be thanked for this achievement.

We were also successful in obtaining Canada Foundation for Innovation funding to bring a next generation of magnetic resonance imaging to the MGH. While many people participated in this endeavour, special thanks go to Drs. Alain Ptito, Reza Farivar and Nancy Fournier, as well as to the MGH Foundation, for their leadership roles.

The new RI-MUHC programs and technological platforms, including the CIM, are now in place; the new leaders took up their mandates this spring and staff were recruited. The RI may rely on these excellent structures for its future. The financial investment in terms of operating expenses for the programs and platforms is above $3M per year, an investment we are confident will pay off in terms of research productivity.

In April, Dr. Jacquetta Trasler completed eight years of service as Director of Pediatric Research – a contribution for which I am deeply grateful – and Dr. Bruce Mazer stepped in to guide the pediatric research community. We welcomed Dr. Simon Wing as the new chair of the Research Program Council and thanked Dr. Mazer for his contributions to the community over six years in this position. We also held a retirement send-off for François Schubert to thank him for his contributions to the RI-MUHC as head of administration, and in June, welcomed Cinzia Raponi in that new role.

We agonized, and are still agonizing, over recent Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) changes and the uncertainty that these have created, but we are working hard to adjust and adapt. With help from Dr. Costas Karatzas of our Business Development Division, we  continue to expand our sources of funding beyond the CIHR and across many borders. 

All of these achievements were possible thanks to the remarkable efforts of RI-MUHC members, trainees and staff.  We have undergone some difficult times in the last few years, but I am certain that the wait and anxiety were worthwhile. I believe that together, we have made history, and the RI-MUHC will continue to play a prominent role in our community, in Montreal, in Quebec and in Canada.

I wholeheartedly thank you for your confidence and continuous support.

Best wishes for a great summer's end.

Vassili