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.

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[1920-2014] Dr. F. Clarke Fraser


Dear 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



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Funding, Jobs, and Other Announcements:

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January 22 – February 05, 2015

  • January 28, 2015 at 3:00pm – Ting-Heng (Jason) Yu’s Ph.D. Seminar entitled “Functional investigation of amino acid polymorphisms associated with BCG-triggered TNF production”. Supervisor: Dr. Erwin Schurr. To be held in the Stewart Biology Building, Room W4/12.
  • January 30, 2015 at 10:30am - Dr. Sascha Sauer is presenting a seminar entitled “Food, genes and diseases”. To be held in Cancer Goodman Centre, Room 501.
  • February 2, 2015 at 12:30pm - McGill Research Group on Health and Law (RGHL) is hosting it’s second annual Health and Law Seminar entitle “Population Biobanking, autonomy and the duty to inform: Streamlining access to data while protecting participants”. Presented by RGHL member Me Ma’n H. Zawati, Academic Coordinator at the McGill Centre of Genomics and Policy and D.C.L. Candidate at the McGill Faculty of Law. To be held in the NCDH, Room 316.
  • February 4, 2015 at 10:00am - McGill Skillsets is hosting an interactive workshop titled Research Integrity, facilitated by Ma’n H. Zawati, Academic Associate, at McGill Centre of Genomics and Policy. To be held in McLennan Library Building, Room MS-74. 
  • February 10, 2015 at 3:00pm – Mark Bazett’s Ph.D. Seminar entitled “Lung mechanics, the intestinal microbiome and their interactions in a cystic fibrosis mouse model”. Supervisor: Dr. Christina Haston. To be held in the Stewart Biology Building, Room W4/12.
  • February 18, 2015 at 3:00pm – Maryam Alshareef’s M.Sc. Seminar entitled “An autosomal Recessive Alopecia Areata locus with lymphoproliferative syndrome in mice.” Supervisor: Dr. Constantin Polychronakos. To be held in the Stewart Biology Building, Room W4/12.
  • February 11, 2015 at 4:00pm – McGill Complex Traits Groups presents: Workshop Series entitled “Inflammation at Barrier Surfaces: From Bench to Bedside”. To be held in McIntyre Medical Sciences Building, Palmer Amphitheater, Room #522. 

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


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


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