Welcome from the Associate Dean and Director of the School of Biomedical Sciences

Alba GuarnéWelcome to the School of Biomedical Sciences. Our School unites the Departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Human Genetics, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Physiology, as well as the Goodman Cancer Institute and the McGill Genome Centre, within McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences.

The School was established in April 2020, at the very height of the first wave of the pandemic here in Quebec, with many of our researchers and learners putting aside their own projects to join in the battle against COVID-19. Under these challenging circumstances, our missions of providing the highest quality education and fostering innovative biomedical research were forged and strengthened. I am immensely proud of our members for their resilience and dedication.

With over 1500 undergraduate students, about 650 graduate students and nearly 200 faculty members, our School is one of the leading institutes in biomedical sciences education and research in Canada and the world. Indeed, our Anatomy & Cell Biology group regularly ranks in the world top 10.

Within the structure of the School, our graduate students will be able to tailor their research experience exactly to their career needs. This student-centred approach allows our graduate students the flexibility to gain exposure to the range of compelling areas of research we have on offer. To facilitate their investigations, our researchers and learners have access to McGill’s top notch core facilities, which are among the best in the world. Our multidisciplinary, interprofessional approach, including collaborations with clinical partners such as the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and the Lady Davis Institute, gives our trainees opportunities to team up with experts in both basic sciences and patient care

Situated in the multicultural, multilingual city of Montreal, McGill’s diverse setting is reflected in its student, academic and staff populations, which include the best and brightest from around the world. But we recognize that we can and must do better in this area, and our School is committed to fulfilling the Faculty’s aim to become more inclusive of people from all backgrounds.

We are proud to have been home to McGill’s first Black professor, William Wright, who was also the first Black head of a department, Materia Medica, now known as Pharmacology & Therapeutics. The memory of the second Black head of that same department, Kenneth Melville, is honoured through the Melville Undergraduate Research Bursary in Pharmacology, which provides funding for a student from an underrepresented group to complete a summer internship in a Pharmacology & Therapeutics laboratory. The first bursary was awarded in the summer of 2021 to Pharmacology student Arrani Thambimuthu.

Biomedical research is at its core a lifelong journey of discovery for the inquisitive, the creative and the determined. We in the SBMS hope you will join us on your own journey, and help us grow into something even greater.

Please come and discover for yourself!

Alba Guarné
Associate Dean and Director, School of Biomedical Sciences



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