Award winner of the Fonds Santé (Leora Witkowski and Jian Carrot-Zhang)

S_Witkowski-Zhang_WP-300x198PhD students in Human Genetics, McGill University

Award-winning publication:

Germline and somatic SMARCA4 mutations characterize small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type

Published in Nature Genetics 46, 438-443 (2014)

“Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) is the most common undifferentiated type of ovarian cancer diagnosed in women below the age of 40. While it is rare, with only ~400 cases described in the English literature, it is a very aggressive disease, with 5-yr survival rates for early stage diagnoses at 33%. Prior to our publication, the histogenesis of the disease remained elusive, and publications discussing the histogenesis of SCCOHT were merely speculative. Our publication confirmed for the first time that SCCOHT is a monogenic disorder and that deleterious germline mutations in the chromatin remodelling gene SMARCA4 predispose to the development of SCCOHT. Our discovery provides women with a family history of early onset ovarian cancer with the option of being tested for germline mutations in SMARCA4, and provides patients with an answer as to why the cancer developed.”

[Read More About It]


Cette molécule qui nous déprime (Institut Douglas – Université McGill)

Turecki(2)Par Dominique Forget – 03/12/2014

Que se passe-t-il dans le cerveau en cas de dépression?
En autopsiant des cerveaux, des chercheurs de l’Institut Douglas ont trouvé qu’une petite molécule, la miR-1202, était présente en moins grande quantité dans le cerveau des personnes dépressives que dans celui des personnes en bonne santé mentale. Ce «micro-ARN» régule l’expression de plusieurs gènes, dont celui du récepteur au glutamate, un neurotransmetteur qui exerce un effet stimulant sur le cerveau. L’équipe a aussi découvert que la miR-1202 est moins abondante dans le sang des personnes dépressives. Et ce n’est pas tout: le taux de miR-1202 augmente chez les patients qui répondent bien aux médicaments antidépresseurs. Ce marqueur constitue donc à la fois un indicateur de dépression et un indicateur de réponse au traitement, mais aussi une piste pour mettre au point de nouveaux médicaments contre la dépression.


[Video: Québec Science et Canal Savoir]

[Video: Daily Planet from Discovery Channel]


Appointment of Dr. Gustavo Turecki as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill

GustavoTurecki  2014

It is with great pleasure that we announce the appointment of Dr. Gustavo Turecki as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, effective March 1, 2015. Dr. Turecki succeeds Dr. Mimi Israël, who led the department with great distinction since 2007. We take this opportunity to offer our sincere thanks to Dr. Israël for her outstanding leadership throughout her term, and we wish her continued success.

Dr. Turecki is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill, where he currently is Associate Chair of Research and Academic Affairs. He has been an Attending Psychiatrist at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute since 1999, and he is also Director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies, as well as head of its Depressive Disorders Program and Co-Director of the Douglas Bell-Canada Brain Bank. In addition, he is the Director of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) funded provincial network on suicide and mood disorders.

Dr. Turecki studied at Escola Paulista de Medicina in Brazil, earning an MD, as well as a Masters of Science in Psychiatric Epidemiology/Genetics. He completed his Psychiatry residency at São Paulo General Hospital in Brazil, and he obtained a PhD in Neuroscience (Genetics) at McGill. He is a Fellow of several scientific and professional organizations, has served as President of the International Academy of Suicide Research, and currently sits on Council for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the International College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

[Read More About It]


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Funding, Jobs, and Other Announcements:

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February 19 – March 05, 2015

4th Global Congress – American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)

ASME 4th Global congress on Nanoengineering for Medicine and Biology will focus on nanoscale materials, methods and devices for the study of biology and the treatment of diseases.

To be held in Minneapolis, MN from April 19 – 22, 2015

Further details


Registration: Deadline – April 16, 2015 


2015 – HG Excellence Award Winners

On behalf of Graduate Training Committee;

This year we have awarded 3 M.Sc. and 7 Ph.D. candidates, Excellence Awards ($2,500). The Committee evaluated your contributions while enrolled in graduate studies in the Department of Human Genetics for 2014. The GTC would like to congratulate all applicants on their productivity during the past year. You have made many important contributions both locally, nationally and internationally in the form of talks, posters and publications. Congratulations also to those of you who have been awarded scholarships during 2014. We wish you continued success in 2015!

Ranked by Degree & Alphabetically:

  • Fillion, Marie-Lyne (M.Sc. 3) – Gupta Laboratory
  • Kwong, Aaron (M.Sc. 1) – Yamanaka Laboratory
  • Patoine, Alexa (M.Sc. 2) – Moffatt Laboratory
  • Choquet, Karine (Ph.D. 2) – Brais & Kleinman Laboratory
  • de Kock, Leanne (Ph.D. 2) – Foulkes Laboratory
  • Lopez, Juan Pablo (Ph.D. 4) – Turecki Laboratory
  • Monlong, Jean (Ph.D. 3) – Bourque Laboratory
  • Papillon-Cavanagh, Simon (Ph.D. 2) – Majewski Laboratory
  • Witkowski, Leora (Ph.D. 3) – Foulkes Laboratory
  • Zhang, Jian (Ph.D. 6) – Majewski Laboratory


2015 – Canadian Consortium for Humanitarian Training (CCHT)

CCHT is pleased to announce that the 2015 Edition of the Disaster and Humanitarian Response Training Program will be held from May 4-17 in Montreal, Quebec.

This exciting, multi-disciplinary training program that includes in class learning and a 3-day field simulation, will provide students and mid-career professionals with the core humanitarian competencies that are essential for anyone involved in disaster response and/or humanitarian assistance.

Participants will learn about the background and context of humanitarian emergencies, international humanitarian law, doctrines and operating procedures for technical areas. Instructed by a community of humanitarians and faculty from around the globe the program also offers an occasion to join an exciting network of humanitarians.

 Details and contact information


Recruiting participants – Information technology adoption and learning

Seeking graduate students, library staff and faculty at McGill to participate in a survey regarding the adoption of reference management (RM) software (e.g., EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks, Zotero). This study is being conducted as part of a Doctorate of Business Administration dissertation research.

To Participate in Research Study


RI-MUHC Extension for Thesis Submission Deadline of April 15th, 2015

Associate Dean MemoNote Graduate students who plan to submit their thesis by next April should inform the thesis office: of their intention to do so, before Jan 31st 2015.


2015 Cold Spring Harbor Lab Course in Mouse Development, Stem Cells and Cancer

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is now accepting applications to the 2015 Cold Spring Harbor Lab Course in Mouse Development, Stem Cells, and Cancer. Since 1983, the NIH-funded Mouse Course has been the premier venue for scientists at all levels to learn cutting edge tools of mouse genetics and interact with some of the most engaging speakers in the field. To ensure opportunities for interaction and maximize learning, space is limited.

Further Details

Registration. Deadline: March 15, 2015


2015 – European Research Projects on Rare Diseases, Joint Transnational Call

Three Canadian institutes: CIHR Institute of Genetics, Genome Canada, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé are jointly participating to provide Canadian researchers an opportunity to ‘work with their European colleagues to build an interdisciplinary, multilateral research project based on complementarities and sharing of expertise, with a clear translational research approach’.

Further details

These international collaborations will help in coordinating the research efforts in the field of rare diseases and to implement the objectives of the International Rare Disease Research Consortium (IRDiRC).


Desjardins and the Montreal Children Hospital partner to support the next generation of leaders in pediatric research

The Research Institute of the Montreal Children Hospital (MCH) is pleased to announce a major partnership agreement with Desjardins Group to fund the Desjardins Scholarships in Child Health. This collaboration will allow young talented researchers specialized in pediatrics to benefit from research scholarships for a total of $1,000,000 over 10 years.

This year, eight young researchers have the privilege of benefiting from a Desjardins Scholarship in Child Health. Learn more about them by visiting their website.

  • Bahaaeldin  AbdRabo, MD : Neurosurgery
  • Kelly Benisty : Nephrology
  • Kyle Dickinson : Nephrology
  • Marie-Lyne Fillion : Nephrology
  • Nancy Lévesque, PhD : Genetics
  • Joanna Merckx, MD : Immunology and Infectious Diseases
  • Namrata Varma , MD :  Otorhinolaryngology
  • Laura Whidden : Genetic Development



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