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Bravo Alexandre Poirier, Recipient of the FRQS Jacques-Genest Rising Star Award

Alexandre Poirier, trainee at the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Institute (GCI) in the Tremblay lab, has been awarded the FRQS Jacques-Genest Rising Star award. These awards recognize recent publications and the research accomplishments of students and postdoctoral researchers. The FRQ announcement of the November awards can be read here.

Alexandre is a 5th year PhD candidate in the department of Experimental Medicine. His research focuses on understanding the role of an enzyme called TAOK3 in the context of inflammation. His recent publication in the journal Immunity & Aging titled ‘ TAOK3 limits age-associated inflammation by negatively modulating macrophage differentiation and their production of TNFα' is recognized by the Rising Star Award. The GCI community extends our congratulations to Alexandre for this impressive distinction!

Read our interview with Alexandre about his accomplishment below:

Can you tell us about your research and the publication for which you received this award?

“I am working on a specific gene, a serine/threonine kinase called TAOK3, and trying to better understand the role of this enzyme in the immune system and during inflammation. What we discovered in the publication is that if you take out the gene (Taok3 knockout), the mice have a shortened lifespan due to chronic inflammation. Essentially, Taok3 prevents the differentiation of macrophages and their production of pro-inflammatory factors such as TNFα, which helps prevent chronic and age-associated inflammation.”

What does receiving this award mean for you?

“It’s a relief because it means the work I am doing is being recognized and is important. It helped me convince myself that my research was meaningful and filled me with a sense of purpose.”

Can you tell us about the moment you found out you were selected to receive this award?

“I was really surprised, honestly. I was not expecting it since it is often given to really important publications, and I did not think mine would make the cut.”

What motivated you to apply for this award, and how did you prepare for the application process?

“For a couple of years now, I have been reading the research that is highlighted in the Relève Étoile and felt like I had nothing to lose from finally trying. The preparation ended up being fun, making me reflect and put a new perspective on the work I thought I already knew.”

Do you have any short- or long-term career goals that receiving this award will help you to achieve?

“This will definitely help with the post-doctoral applications I am doing right now! I am applying to a few places in the US that are working on RNA therapeutics. These labs are very competitive, and this distinction is a gust of wind in the right direction.”

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

“Thank you for highlighting this, I am grateful! For all of those who have a publication they are proud of, don’t hesitate to reach for the recognition you deserve. If you have any questions on the publication or the award don’t hesitate to reach out at alexandre.poirier [at] mail.mcgill.ca. Cheers!”

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