Montreal institutes unite to fight a leading cause of infant mortality


The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) have announced the awarding of $2.5 million for a multidisciplinary new research project that will investigate heart problems in children. The study, which will involve researchers from the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC, the CHU Sainte-Justine, the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal and the Institut de Cardiologie de Montréal, will investigate the genetic determinants of congenital heart disease — the leading cause of death in Quebec children under the age of one — and could have a significant impact on the prevention of infant mortality.

The CIHR grant will allow the team to study the significance of genetic factors in the appearance of pathologies using three complementary approaches:

  1. A search for new genes responsible for heart malformations;
  2. A study of the interaction between genes and the environment, especially nutritional factors in pregnant women;
  3. A study of the influence of genetic factors on the evolution of cardiac disease.

Dr. Rima Rozen, Scientific Director of the Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC and a joint Principal Investigator of the new study, will conduct research on the interaction between genes and nutrition. Her work will focus primarily on the interaction between genetic sequence variants and nutritional status during pregnancy and how these interactions impact the development of congenital cardiac problems.

Cardiac malformations affect up to 2% of children and account for 25% of all congenital malformations in humans, and represent the most common cause of death in infants less than one year of age.

The Montreal Children's Hospital is the pediatric teaching hospital of the MUHC. The institution is a leader in the care and treatment of sick infants, children and adolescents from across Quebec. The Montreal Children's Hospital provides a high level and broad scope of health care services, and provides ultra specialized care in many fields including: cardiology and cardiac surgery; neurology and neurosurgery, traumatology; genetic research; psychiatry and child development and musculoskeletal conditions, including orthopedics and rheumatology. The Research Institute of the Montreal Children's Hospital is an internationally renowned centre for research, with more than 100 research clinicians and scientists participating in more than 400 clinical and fundamental research projects. Fully bilingual and multicultural, the institution respectfully serves an increasingly diverse community in more than 50 languages.

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is a comprehensive academic health institution with an international reputation for excellence in clinical programs, research and teaching. The MUHC is a merger of five teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University — the Montreal Children's, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, and Montreal Neurological Hospitals, as well as the Montreal Chest Institute. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of the founding hospitals, the goal of the MUHC is to provide patient care based on the most advanced knowledge in the health care field, and to contribute to the development of new knowledge.

Contact Information

Ian Popple
MUHC Public Relations and Communications
ian.popple [at]
Office Phone: