RI-MUHC ANNUAL REPORT 2021
FOCUS ON OUR TRAINEES
WHAT IS OUR NEW GENERATION OF RESEARCHERS ACHIEVING TODAY?
Over 1,200 research trainees play a vital role in advancing biomedical research at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). These highlights celebrate only a few of the bright minds at work over the past year!
Best oral presentation, 2020 Skin Research Group of Canada Conference
“I’m working to unravel a novel mechanism that can be exploited in chemotherapy-resistant cancer cells,” says doctoral student Jennifer Gantchev. Her winning talk: “The relationship between meiomitosis, HORMAD1 and genomic instability in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.”
Arthritis Society’s Top 10 Breakthroughs in 2020
Studying spine degeneration, postdoctoral fellow Hosni Cherif found that RG-7112, a synthetic drug, and o-Vanillin, a natural compound, triggered changes that helped grow new, healthy cells while also killing senescent or “zombie” cells. These findings could lead to new drugs for back pain.
Winners of the 2021 McGill Clinical Innovation Competition
Remote Optical and Nura Medical
The Remote Optical team, first-place winner of the Marika Zelenka Roy Innovation Prize, included three M.Sc. trainees from the Injury Repair Recovery Program, as did NURA Medical, which took second place and also won the Bereskin and Parr Innovation Prize. Now members of the Clinical Innovation Platform at the RI-MUHC, Remote Optical aspires to revolutionize eye care and Nura Medical, to prevent medication errors that impact children.
FIRST AUTHORS OF NOTABLE PUBLICATIONS
LSD and social behaviour in mice
Danilo De Gregorio
Unanimously awarded the Leyton Addiction Research Prize by McGill University for his publication: “Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) promotes social behavior through mTORC1 in the excitatory neurotransmission” (PNAS)
Risk factor for cardiovascular diseases
Analysed millions of genetic variants in almost 300,000 individuals: “Genome-Wide Association Study Highlights APOH as a Novel Locus for Lipoprotein(a) Levels” (Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol.)
Pregnancy, diabetes and sleep apnea
Investigated whether treatment of sleep apnea can improve glucose control during pregnancy: “Maternal Sleep-Disordered Breathing in Pregnancy and Increased Nocturnal Glucose Levels in Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus” (Chest)
Sarcopenia, dynapenia and aging
Won the February 2020 Relève étoile Jacques-Genest award for her publication: “Physical function‐derived cut‐points for the diagnosis of sarcopenia and dynapenia from the Canadian longitudinal study on aging” (Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle)
Explored dysanapsis, a mismatch between airway tree and lung size, in a high-impact factor publication: “Central Airway Tree Dysanapsis Extends to the Peripheral Airways” (Am J Respir Crit Care Med.)
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships
Kaitlyn Easson, Mackenzie Michell-Robinson, Haitham Shoman and Lashanda Skerritt
Earned Canada’s most prestigious graduate award at the doctoral level in 2020
MITACS Elevate postdoctoral fellowship
Received in 2020 to participate in a research management training program while working with Dr. Nancy Braverman and venture capital fund AmorChem
Société québécoise d’hypertension artérielle Scholarship
Received in 2020 for work on the impact of recurrent gestational diabetes mellitus and gestational hypertension on cardiovascular disease risk among spousal partners
FOSTERING COMMUNITY AND PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
On the CIHR’s Youth Advisory Council
(Former RI-MUHC trainee, now research assistant)
Appointed to new national council by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) in 2020
In projects funded by DCAT
- Khalil Anchouche
- Diana Di Iorio
- Adamo Donovan
- Gina Kemp
- Amanda McFarlan
- Amir Razaghizad
- Laura Rendon
- Sophie Sun
- Cynthia Rosa Ventrella
- Jeremy Zwaig
Piloted new ways of connecting in pandemic times through four projects awarded funding from the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training (DCAT), RI-MUHC. The inaugural 2021 competition supported trainee-led activities that foster community and professional skills.
DCAT offers structured career support to RI-MUHC trainees alongside their graduate or postdoctoral training. The RI-MUHC thanks Desjardins for generous support in enhancing career development opportunities for its trainees.
Read more about these and other trainee achievements in Training news on the RI‑MUHC website