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Just a few 2000 highlights


A research team led by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), has broken new ground in our understanding of the complex functioning of the brain. The research, published in the current issue of the journal Science, demonstrates that brain cells, known as astrocytes, which play fundamental roles in nearly all aspects of brain function, can be adjusted by neurons in response to injury and disease.


Dr. William Foulkes, a cancer geneticist, researcher at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and at the Jewish General Hospital (JGH), and Professor of Medicine, Human Genetics and Oncology at McGill University leads a team of researchers to find a new breast cancer gene.

A new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital find that a protein commonly found in human cells could be an important switch that activates cancer cell metastasis.

Dr. Robert Koenekoop’s clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) uncovers a new gene that is critical for vision.

A research team at the Montreal Children’s Hospital from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) brings forth a potential vaccine that nudges the immune response away from developing allergies.

Scientists at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital -The Neuro, at McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre, have made a breakthrough in understanding an important protein that appears to act as a kind of cellular “marriage broker.”

A new study (published in the journal, Molecular Psychiatry) by a team led by Salah El Mestikawy, researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’île-de-Montréal), professor at McGill and head of research at CNRS INSERM UPMC in Paris, opens the field to new understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying addiction in humans.

The MUHC has conducted the first islet cell transplant in Quebec. The breakthrough was made at the Glen site of the MUHC after the complex process of isolating islet cells from a donor pancreas was achieved at the MUHC Human Islet Transplant Laboratory.


Gustavo Turecki, a psychiatrist at the Douglas and professor at the McGill Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, discover, together with his team, that the levels of a tiny molecule, miR-1202 may help battle depression.

Dr. Judes Poirier, of the Douglas Mental Health Institute and McGill, and his team have discovered that a genetic variant can actually delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by as much as four years.


A research team led by Dr. Robert Hess from uses the popular puzzle video game Tetris in an innovative approach to treat adult amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye.”

Co-principal investigator, Dr. Nada Jabado, Hemato-oncologist at the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC and an associate professor in the McGill Department of Pediatrics come one step closer to understanding a deadly childhood brain cancer.


Dr. F. Clarke Fraser, one of Canada’s first medical geneticists, and Dr. Peter T. Macklem (1931-2011), one of Canada’s greatest pulmonary clinician-scientists, are inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.


Dr. Michael S. Kramer is elected to the Royal Society of Canada, Division of Life Sciences for his research on infant feeding and adverse pregnancy.

Goodman Cancer Research Centre provides compelling new evidence that a gene known as 14-3-3σ plays a critical role in halting breast cancer initiation and progression. The study, led by the Dept. of Biochemistry’s William J. Muller, is published in the journal Cancer Discovery.

Rochester Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences researchers in collaboration with colleagues at The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, James Tsui and neuroscientist Dr. Christopher Pack have found new insight into the brain processes that causes a certain optical illusion. The study is published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is proud of Drs. Albert J. Aguayo and Jonathan C. Meakins on their induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Dr. Aguayo, who built his career at the Montreal General Hospital and as an emeritus professor at McGill University, is a pioneer in neural regeneration. Dr. Meakins, who was a former physician-in-chief of the Royal Victoria Hospital, a dean of the Faculty of Medicine as well as the first chair of the department of Medicine, was a pioneer of the bench-to-bedside research model.


Dr. Alice Chan-Yip of The Montreal Children's Hospital receives the Order of Canada for her contributions to the provision of health care in Montreal as a pediatrician, medical educator and volunteer. Particularly noted for her innovations in treating immigrants. 

Dr. Constantin Polychronakos and his research team make a discovery that brings hope in the treatment of diabetes. They discovered that the gene known as RFX6 is needed to form islets of Langerhans, cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. The results are published in Nature. 

A research team led by Dr. Nada Jabado and Dr. Jacek Majewski at McGill University has proven for the first time that it is possible to identify any genetic disease in record time thanks to a powerful and reliable exome sequencing method. The results of the team's research are published in the journal Human Mutation.


First brain surgery on a child in The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC's new Pediatric Interventional Brain Suite. Home to the first intraoperative magnetic resonance (MRI) in a Canadian pediatric hospital.

A five-month old baby, the youngest and smallest baby in Canada to do so, is able to go home with his own normally functioning heart after temporary support and an artificial heart. One of only a few worldwide!

Researchers at MUHC/McGill uncover key role played by a molecule in the process of infection used by the parasite that causes leishmania

Researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital - The Neuro, McGill University discover a genetic mutation.

Dr. Rak, a professor in pediatric oncology at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine and a researcher at the Research Institute of the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC, identifies a fundamental mechanism by which tumour cells spread.


Dr. Sam Daniel (Surgeon, Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery) receives Canada's Top 40 under 40 Award, which celebrates outstanding leaders in their fields.

Québec Science readers select MCH researcher Dr. Janusz Rak's recent cancer breakthrough as the Discovery of the Year.


Philippe Gros and his researchers identify the gene that causes spina bifida.
Dr. Marc McKee, Professor of Dentistry and Anatomy and Cell Biology, and a team of researchers prove the existence of a mechanism that controls calcification in bones, teeth and other bodily tissues.
Dr. Hemant Paudel and his research team identify a key, two-part process in normal brain development that could shed new light on what causes some people to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
A Canadian-led team of researchers, including McGill’s Constantin Polychronakos and Rob Sladek, uncovers several genes that make people susceptible to the most common form of diabetes.
Michel L. Tremblay and a team from the Cancer Centre identify PTP1B, a gene associated with the propagation of breast cancer in two of five affected women.


Dr. Judes Poirier’s research lab at the Centre for Studies in Aging identifies a defective gene that produces Apolipoprotein E type 4 (ApoE4), preventing the transport of cholesterol to the brain and leading to the onset of Alzheimer's.


Working with colleagues in Australia and Japan, gastrointestinal pathologist Jeremy Jass of the McGill University Health Centre identifies the genetic basis of a type of hereditary colon cancer.


McGill University Health Centre molecular geneticist and James McGill Professor Dr. Erwin Schurr, as part of an international research team, discovers that small changes in certain genes result in a highly increased susceptibility to leprosy.


McGill pharmacologist Moshe Szyf and neuroscientist Michael Meaney of the Douglas Hospital provide the first definitive evidence that genes can be influenced and shaped by environmental factors.


McGill physiologist John White discovers that exposure to vitamin D3 can inhibit growth of head and neck cancer cells.