Experimental Medicine at McGill was created just after the last war in order to provide full staff membership of Ph.D. non-M.D. investigators in the Department of Medicine. At the beginning, nearly all of these investigators were located in the research laboratories of the Royal Victoria Hospital, off campus, and with few exceptions, unable to have access to graduate student programs. An M.Sc. and a Ph.D. program in Experimental Medicine were therefore established, and a set of courses (some didactic, some seminar) at the graduate level accepted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies. For the first 30 years, Experimental Medicine was a department within the Faculty of Medicine, (although its chairman was also the chairman of the Department of Medicine and Clinical Medicine, the latter comprised of professors involved in clinical practice and the teaching of medical students, interns and residents). The anomaly of joint chairmanship was removed in 1975 when Experimental Medicine became a Division of the Department of Medicine with a Director and Executive Committee.
The strength of biomedical research at McGill stems, in no small part, from the creation of Experimental Medicine, since this opened the way for the academic appointment of Ph.D. investigators in the various teaching hospitals of the university, and has led to a strong collaboration between M.D. and Ph.D. researchers, regarded as equals in the Department of Medicine. Today, the majority of the staff of the Division of Experimental Medicine work in the research institutes of the Montreal Children’s, Montreal General, Royal Victoria, Montreal Neurological and Jewish General Hospitals.
Moreover, through a long-standing association between the Institut de Recherches Cliniques, founded by Dr. Jacques Genest, and the Department of Experimental Medicine, investigators at the IRCM who are professors at the Université de Montréal, are appointed Associate Members of the Division of Experimental Medicine, and permitted to supervise graduate students at McGill.
Potential thesis projects in the Division of Experimental Medicine cover a wide area of biomedical cell, including (but not limited to) cell biophysics, respiratory physiology, exercise physiology, neuroscience, molecular endocrinology, molecular oncology, cellular immunology, molecular virology and pharmacology. Given the diversity in thesis projects, and the large number of students and supervisors scattered over a wide area of the city centre and beyond, Academic Advisors have been appointed (in each of the Institutes and Research Centers) to follow the progress of the students. The Advisors are instrumental in setting up and chairing the student’s yearly thesis committee and the comprehensive oral committee. The Advisors also consult with the thesis supervisors and with the Director to solve such problems, academic or non-academic, as may arise.
The privilege of supervising graduate students in the Division is granted by the Executive Committee to Members and Associate Members of the Department of Medicine holding peer-reviewed grants and judged to have sufficient research experience. It is mandatory for supervisors to pay students holding no external agency, internal McGill or Hospital Research Institute studentships or fellowships, a stipend to cover tuition fees and living expenses from operating or other funds. here are presently over 200 Members or Associate Members in the Division of Experimental Medicine. A list of approved thesis supervisors and their research projects is updated on a yearly basis and is available on our web site for consultation by students requesting admission to our graduate programs.