[1920-2014] Dr. F. Clarke Fraser

cfraserDear Colleagues,

Regretfully, I must inform the Department of the death yesterday of F Clarke Fraser at the age of 94.

One of the founders of medical genetics, Clarke was both a PhD (1945) and MDCM (1950) graduate of McGill University. Together with Charles Scriver, he was one of the pillars of the ‘golden age’ of genetics at the MCH. His achievements in his chosen field are legendary and were recognized several years ago by both the awarding of a Honorary Doctorate from McGill and induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

For those who had the privilege of knowing Clarke and working with him, his intelligence, kindness and passion for both science and its application to the clinical situation was always readily apparent. He always radiated class and distinction and delivered his wisdom wrapped in a sly humor that was accompanied by a twinkle in his eye. He demonstrated an enormous intimacy and dexterity with language. Learning with him was Socratic and also always osmotic. He launched many of us in the direction of first chromosomes and then genes and now the epigenome.

He will be missed. He will be remembered.

Please join me in extending our condolences to his family and friends.


Michael Shevell, MD CM, FRCPC, FAAN, FANA, FCAHS
Chairman, Department of Pediatrics
Professor (with Tenure)
Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology/Neurosurgery
McGill University

Departmental History – The Department of Genetics and Dr. F. Clarke Fraser


Dr. William Foulkes Inducted as CAHS Fellow

Dr William FoulkesThe Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) recently elected Dr. William Foukles as a Fellow. It is one the highest honours that is presented in the Canadian health sciences community. The Department of Human Genetics at McGill congratulates Dr. Foulkes on receiving this prestigious honour.

Dr. Foulkes a Professor in the Departments of Oncology, Medicine and Human Genetics at McGill, and Director of McGill’s Program in Cancer Genetics, has made seminal contributions to cancer genetics in Canada.

As a clinician, he has offered counselling and advice to thousands of individuals at increased risk for cancer. In the laboratory, he has identified the cause of some forms of cancer and has studied their clinical-pathological correlates.

His work has been highly cited and its excellence has been recognized both nationally and internationally.


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Funding, Jobs, and Other Announcements:

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Happy Holidays: December 11 – January 8

  • December 18, 2014 at 1:30pm - Dr. Andreas Hoenger, candidate for the position of Chair at University of Colorado at Boulder, is presenting a seminar titled “3-D Cryo-Electron Tomography Studies in Microtubule-MAP interactions in vitro and in situ” to be held at the Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building,  Room M-1

Complex Trait Analysis of Next Generation Sequence Data, Berlin, March 23-27 2015

The Complex Trait Analysis of Next Generation Sequence Data is holding a course at the Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine in Berlin from March 23-27, 2015. The concentration of this course is performing complex trait association analysis using sequence data in particular the analysis of rare variants.

Application Deadline Jan. 15, 2015

Detailed information


Fragile X Study Offers Hope For New Autism Treatment

People affected by a common inherited form of autism could be helped by a drug that is being tested as a treatment for cancer, according to researchers from the University of Edinburgh and McGill University.

The scientists, who have identified a chemical pathway that goes awry in the brains of Fragile X patients, say a cancer drug candidate could reverse their behavioural symptoms. The researchers have found that a naturally occurring anti-fungal called cercosporamide can block the pathway and improve sociability in mice with the condition.

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Rare Diseases: Models and Mechanisms Network for Clinicians and Clinical Scientists

Canadian Rare Disease Models and Mechanisms Network (RDMM) have created a network to link clinicians and clinical scientists who have discovered a new rare disease gene with a basic scientist who is able to carry out functional analysis on an orthologous gene in a model system. Their goal is make these connections at the time of the disease gene discovery.

Also, the Network will catalyze establishment of these connections, and provide a $25,000 catalyst grant to the model organism lab as seed funds for immediate collaborative experiments in validating the disease gene mutation(s).

Further details

Official website


Excellence and Travel Award Applications

Graduate Training Committee is now soliciting both Excellence and Travel Awards from graduate students in the Department of Human Genetics. Please see instructions for the application process on the links below:

Excellence Award Nomination Form , deadline January 15, 2015

Graduate Travel Award Form , deadline January 30, 2015


McGill Ph.D. student in Human Genetics wins the Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles Award

Congratulations to Juan Pablo Lopez, Ph.D. student in Human Genetics, winner of the Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles award in the Fonds Santé category. The major impact of his publication: miR-1202 is a primate-specific & brain-enriched microRNA involved in major depression and antidepressant treatment published in Nature medicine is “the identification a new molecular target for antidepressant treatment. It provides important steps in the development of early diagnostic tools, preventive strategies, and effective pharmacological treatment for mood disorders.” To learn more about him and other Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles award winners visit the Fonds de recherche du Québec website.


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