Canadian House of Commons Passes S-201: Genetic Nondiscrimination Act

A message from the CCMG National Office: “Yesterday, Canadians became closer to being able to make‎ informed decisions about genetic tests without fear.  Bill S-201 passed the 3rd reading in the House of Commons.  The Bill still needs to go back to the Senate but all indications are that it will be supported.  After several attempts by the Liberal Justice Minister to gut the Bill through amendments, it passed in its entirety.  The Bill includes Pan-Canada legislation that makes it a criminal act to discriminate against a person based on their genetic test information, as well as amendments to the Canada Labour Code and amendments to the Canadian Human Rights Act.  The bill passed by a free vote (in which MPs are allowed to vote according to their own personal conscience rather than according to an official party line) with an overwhelming majority of 222-60.  This is a historic development, as Canada is the only G8 country without this type of legislation.”


A surprise advance in the treatment of adult cancers

Researchers at the RI-MUHC have made a discovery that could improve care for about 15% of patients with head and neck cancer linked to alcohol and tobacco use

Simon Papillon-Cavanagh, McGill University PhD candidate, Drs Nada Jabado and Jacek Majewski, PhD


A team of researchers at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has found an epigenetic modification that might be the cause of 15% of adult cancers of the throat linked to alcohol and tobacco use. This is a first in the field of epigenetics and the researchers are hopeful that the discovery can blaze a path in the development of new, targeted, more effective treatments that could arise over the next few years.

“This discovery was absolutely unexpected since it seemed highly improbable that the kind of alterations of the epigenome that we had previously found in other types of tumours in children and young adults could also target an epithelial tumour like throat cancer that occurs only in adults,” explains Dr. Nada Jabado, a researcher at the RI-MUHC and one of the principal authors of the study published in Nature Genetics.

Head and neck cancers, also called oropharyngeal cancers or throat cancer often have devastating consequences. Standard treatments involve surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Unfortunately, the side effects of these treatments are significant and relapses are common. That’s why oncologists are searching to develop more effective treatments that will be less harmful and have fewer deleterious effects. The discovery of this epigenetic modification opens new treatment possibilities. In fact, some promising drug molecules are already on the market for other illnesses and could possibly be tested for head and neck cancers as well as other cancers like multiple myeloma and lung cancer.

Dr. Jabado, who is also a pediatric hemato-oncologist, has hopes that this discover will have positive repercussions for pediatric cancers as well. “Now that we’ve identified this cohort of patients, we can move quite quickly since in the case of adults, as opposed to children, there are more patients and lots of clinical trials. The medicines could then be tested on children afterward.”

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Prof. Mark Lathrop re-appointed Scientific Director, McGill University Genome Quebec Innovation Centre

Our congratulations to Prof. Mark Lathrop on being re-appointed as the Scientific Director at McGill University Genome Quebec Innovation Centre.

Vice-Principle and Dean of The Faculty of Medicine, Dr. David Eidelman along with Vice-Dean, Dr. Mara Ludwig made the following announcement “It is with pleasure that we announce the re-appointment of Mark Lathrop, PhD, to the position of Scientific Director, McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre, a position he has held since 2011, during which time he has helped strengthen our position as a hub for genomic research in Quebec and a leader nationally and internationally.

A native of British Columbia, Professor Lathrop completed his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degrees at the University of Alberta before obtaining his PhD from the University of Washington (Seattle) in Biomathematics. He then moved to France, where he was one of the founders of the Centre d’Étude du Polymorphisme Humain, which pioneered international collaboration on the human genome in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1993, Dr. Lathrop moved to the University of Oxford, where he was a Wellcome Trust Principal Fellow and Professor of Human Genetics, during which time he co-founded and was first Scientific Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, an institute created to apply genomic approaches to understanding the molecular basis of human disease. In 1997, he was asked by the French government to form the Centre National de Genotypage outside of Paris in Evry, which he directed until 2012.

Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill, Professor Lathrop’s current research is focused on the use of the human genome sequence, and other information about the human genome, to understand the molecular basis of disease, and how these can be applied to individualize approaches to disease prevention and treatment. His work has been recognized with many honours throughout his career, including the French Order of Merit and the French Legion of Honour.”

[Read more]


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Funding, Jobs and Other Announcements:

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Awards – Call for Nominations:

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March 2017

  • March 24, 2017 – Medical Genetics Academic Half Day is CANCELLED due to ACMG conference.
  • March 27, 2017 at 4:00pm - MRCCT Seminars presents a talk by Dr. Jean-Pierre de Villartay entitled “DNA double strand breaks in the Immune System: a dangerous game”. To be held in the McIntyre Building, Martin Amphitheater, Room  504.
  • March 31, 2017 at 4:00pmMarc-Aurèle Chay’s M.Sc. Seminar entitled “Impact of Childhood Abuse on Histone Modification Landscape in the Amygdala”. Supervisor: Dr. Gustavo Turecki. To be held in the Stewart Biology Building, Room W4/12.
  • April 05, 2017 at 4:00pm – HGEN 690 course presents a talk by guest speaker Dr. Livia Garzia entitled, “Clonal selection drives tumor evolution through space and time”. To be held in the Stewart Biology Building, Room W4/12. The talk is open to all. The speaker will meet with course students from 3:00 – 4:00pm in W4/12.
  • May 03, 2017 at 4:00pm – Gabriel André Leiva-Torres’ Ph.D. Seminar entitled “Mouse chemical mutagenesis to identify new immune mechanisms against cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus 1″. Supervisor: Dr. Silvia Vidal. To be held in the Stewart Biology Building, Room N2/2.

March 27-31: Academic Career Week

Getting ready to launch your academic career? Academic Career Week is designed to help.

See the Academic Career Week 2017 Roster below:

Strategies for a Successful Thesis Defence Monday, March 27 | 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm | Brown 5001
The Academic Interview & The Job Talk Tuesday, March 28 | 12:30pm – 2:00 pm | Brown 5001
(MAC) The Academic Interview & The Job Talk Tuesday, March 28 | 11:30 am – 1:00 pm | Mac Campus Faculty Lounge
How to Get Your Research Out Wednesday, March 29 | 1:00 pm – 2:30 | Brown 5001
Collaboration & The Dissertation: Getting the Most Out of Your Supervisor Wednesday, March 29 | 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm | Brown 5001
The Academic Dossier: Teaching & Research Statements Thursday, March 30 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm | Brown 3001
Negotiating Your Job Offer Thursday, March 30 |  5:30 pm – 7:00 pm | Brown 5001
The Academic CV & Cover Letter Presentation Friday, March 31, 2017 | 10:00 am – 11:30 am | Brown 5001    


Please see details on how to register and panel details here:

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Susan Molner



McGill graduate students enrolled in an MSc/PhD program, who hold Canadian citizenship or permanent residence status are eligible to apply for:

  • 3-12 months research stays at a non-Canadian Commonwealth institution as a part of their Master or PhD research;
  • Applications accepted on an ongoing basis

The “Quantitative Biology and Medical Genetics for the World” program offers awards of $6000 to $8000 to help with travel and living expenses during the stay. Institutions at all commonwealth countries are eligible, including:

South Africa, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland.

Eligible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Quantitative genetics
  • Population genetics
  • Genetic/genomic epidemiology
  • High-throughput experimental methods in biology associated with quantitative analysis of data
  • Bioinformatics and computational genomics

For further information and application instructions, consult the guidelines.

For more info contact:


McGill Global Health Workshop: Advanced Grantsmanship for Postdoctoral Fellows

McGill Global Health Programs is organizing a series of workshops targeted to McGill postdocs working in a global health field.

The first workshop will focus on Advanced Grantsmanship and will be held over two days on April 11 and 13, 2017 between 11:30AM and 4:30PM.

Registration is required as space is limited.

Additional information and the registration link can be found here:


Calling all graduate students: Be part of the Acfas Congress at McGill! May 8-12, 2017

More than 150 volunteers needed!

The annual congress of the Association francophone du savoir (Acfas) is the largest multidisciplinary research event in the Francophonie and McGill is proud to be hosting it this year. From May 8-12, some 6,000 participants from Quebec, Canada and abroad will descend on lower campus to take part in about 220 colloquia and hundreds of oral and poster presentations. Participants are primarily researchers, but also include graduate students and postdocs. In order to guarantee its success, we will need your help. In return, get a free pass to the Congress!

Click here to read more!

To participate, fill out this online form before March 31st.


March 23: 17th Annual McGill Biomedical Graduate Conference

The 17th Annual McGill Biomedical Graduate Conference (AMBGC) is a one-day conference for the students of the Department of Experimental Medicine. Students from other departments, as well as from neighbouring universities in Quebec and Ontario are also invited to participate. This conference has been running for 16 consecutive years, and has grown to be the second largest student-led conference in Canada, bringing together all fields of research covered in our academic division, such as Cancer Biology, Developmental Biology, Genetics, Neuroscience, Physiology, Immunology, Development, Endocrinology, Cardiovascular System, Epidemiology, and Bioethics.

Conference Date: March 23, 2017

Conference Location: Hotel Omni Mont-Royal (1050 Sherbrooked St. W)

Abstract submission deadline for posters: March 06, 11:59pm.

Registration for conference: Free

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Keith Mostov, UCSF, San Fransico, CA

For further details, visit the Conference website


Graphos workshop: Writing and Publication

The upcomingGraphos workshops focused on writing and publication, are offered free of charge but requires registration:

Feb 21: Publishing and Peer Review

Mar 9: Strategies for Effective Outlining

Mar 21: Responding to Journal Reviewers: Getting through the R&R stage


Academic Job Search Boot Camp

Hitting the job market for faculty positions?

Applying for postdoctoral positions?

The Academic Job Search Boot Camp (offered in collaboration with the Experimental Medicine Graduate Student Society) is for those seeking information, tips and advice about either an academic PI position or a postdoctoral fellow position. These sessions will include a workshop by CaPS, and panels with academic PIs (who will also offer the perspective of faculty hiring committees).

Session 1: Academic Job Applications | March 2, 2017 | noon – 3:30 pm | EM1.3509, Glen site

(lunch will be provided to registered participants of session 1)

Session 2: Academic Job Interviews | March 16, 2017 | 3 – 5 pm | EM1.3509, Glen site

Session 2: Academic Job Interviews | March 31, 2017 | 3 – 5 pm | L7-140, MGH site

(coffee and snacks will be provided to registered participants of session 2)

Registration: click here (Please register for all the sessions that you plan to attend)

For more information visit


Summer 2017 Internship Opportunity in Panama

Do you want to gain work experience with the United Nations? Are you passionate about topics of safety and security in Latin America? Do you enjoy extensive research and analytical writing?

The United Nations Office of Safety and Security is seeking an intern for summer 2017 to work in its office located in Panama City. Applications must be returning to McGill in fall 2017, and possess intermediate to advanced language proficiency in Spanish.

For more information, please see the internship posting or visit our website:

For more info contact: Laura Di Maio (514-398-2916)


CALL FOR NOMINATIONS: GPS Graduate Mobility Award 2016-17

The Graduate Mobility Award encourages graduate students to study and conduct research abroad as part of their McGill degree program by defraying part of the cost of the international experience. The award, funded by the Government of Quebec, is available to all full-time thesis students enrolled in a graduate degree program at McGill who have been nominated by their academic unit and faculty to take part in a mobility opportunity. The mobility award is meant to contribute towards the completion of the student’s thesis. A limited number of Awards are available each year on a competitive basis.

Deadline: Rolling Submission. Submit your request to the Department of Human Genetics.

For information regarding eligibility and how to apply, visit here.


IRCM Conferences 2016-17



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