McGill University psychiatry professor and renowned researcher Michael Meaney has been named a Knight of the National Order of Quebec by Premier Jean Charest.
“Becoming a professor at McGill and then being recognized for my contribution to our province is tremendously gratifying for one who grew up in Quebec as the son of destitute Irish immigrants,” said Prof. Meaney. “This honour reflects the opportunities provided to all citizens in Quebec.”
Professor Meaney, who is deputy director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, is recognized internationally for his important work in epigenetics, the study of environmentally induced changes in gene function that occur without a change in the DNA sequence, and its repercussions on the emergence of various diseases. His expertise applies particularly to maternal care, stress and gene expression. He was one of the first researchers to establish the importance of the link between early maternal care, cognitive childhood development and later ability to handle stress. His research in this field is ongoing.
“It is with great pleasure that I congratulate, in the name of the entire McGill community, Michael Meaney for this great honour,” said Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum. “His groundbreaking research in the field of epigenetics has contributed enormously to the advancement of knowledge and discovery not only in Quebec and in Canada but worldwide.”
Professor Meaney is among 33 individuals receiving Quebec’s highest honour this year. These new members of the Order will be honoured for their exceptional contribution to the prosperity and reputation of Quebec at a ceremony to be held in the Legislative Council Chamber of the Parliament Building on June 20. Since its creation in 1984, the Order’s insignia has been conferred on some 45 members of the McGill community.