From Med e-news

Simon Papillon-Cavanagh, a PhD student in Department of Human Genetics at McGill University, is the award winner of the Fonds Santé, one of the three Fonds awards of the Fonds de recherche du Québec. His Award-winning publication: Impaired H3K36 methylation defines a subset of head and neck squamous cell carcinomas is published in Nature Genetics.

Using public data, Simon Papillon-Cavanagh and his team discovered that head and neck cancers may be classified into five categories according to patients’ specific clinical features.

Read the full abstract here.

In addition to promoting research careers in Quebec, this competition recognizes the exceptional research contributions of university students (master’s, doctorate), postdoctoral fellows and members of professional bodies who are enrolled in advanced research training programs in the areas covered by the three Fonds de recherche du Québec.

To learn more about the awards, click here.

Congratulations Simon!


Dr. Patricia Tonin awarded the Karen Campbell Award for Research Excellence

From RI-MUHC and Med e-news

Congratulations to Dr. Patricia Tonin on receiving the 2017 Karen Campbell Award for Research Excellence from Ovarian Cancer Canada.

Dr. Patricia Tonin, professor in the Department of Human Genetics and Faculty of Medicine received this award at The Lady Ball event, the first in a series of special events being held this year to celebrate fearless women everywhere. The Karen Campbell award recognizes overall research excellence and important scientific achievements that impact the understanding and treatment of ovarian cancer. Dr. Tonin’s outstanding contribution to the advanced understanding of the role of specific gene mutations in the development of ovarian cancer, particularly among French Canadians was recognized.

[Read more]


Dr. Roderick McInnes appointed Acting President of CIHR

Our congratulations to Dr. Roderick McInnes on being appointed the Acting President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

On March 31st, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health has announced that Dr. Roderick McInnes was appointed the responsibility of Acting President of CIHR. Dr. McInnes said, “It is a great honour to be asked to assume this important position at this critical time in CIHR’s history. I look forward to listening to the research community for its guidance in helping me and my CIHR colleagues to build on the opportunities ahead.”

For more information, visit this webpage.


In Memory of


Gillian Elizabeth MacLean

December 17, 1987 – March 21, 2017

A former student of the Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, having completed her M.Sc. in February 2013 under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Braverman and whose academic pursuit lead her to the University of British Columbia to pursue a second Masters degree in Genetic Counseling.

Arrangements have been entrusted To Brunswick Funeral Home, Perth-Andover and Plaster Rock.

Resting at St. Andrew’s United Church in Plaster Rock with visitation on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 6-8 pm. Funeral service will be held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 2 pm from the church. Rev. Sarah Magie officiating.

Should you wish to share your memories or express your condolences, please visit here.

A memorial page has been set up by UBC to share their memories, please visit here.

Our most sincere sympathies to Gillian Elizabeth MacLean’s family and friends.


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.”



Having climbed as high as he could at McGill, the time has come for Thomas to move on. His last day in the office will be Tuesday, July 31.



The annual Department of Human Genetics Teaching Award is given to one member of the clinical faculty and one member of the research faculty to recognize their contributions in the teaching, supervision and mentorship of students.

This year’s winners were chosen from among several nominations submitted by students, residents and faculty members, and were announced at the Department meeting on March 14th and at the Graduate Student research Day on June 21st.

David Rosenblatt, MD

Patricia Tonin, PhD

Congratulations to the winners!

Please keep your ideas in mind for next year’s award nominees.

The Faculty Awards Committee:

Ken Dewar
Jennifer Fitzpatrick
Pablo Lopez
Aimee Ryan
Yannis Trakadis


Congratulations to the Winners of our Research Day Prizes:

Xiaoyang Liu – 1st prize, oral presentation

Jaeseung Kim – 1st prize, poster presentation

Juan Pablo Lopez – 2nd prize, oral presentation

Lena Dolman – 2nd prize, poster presentation

Gregory Boivin – 3rd prize, oral presentation

Jeremy Saban – 3rd prize, poster presentation


 David L. Rimoin, MD, PhD

The American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMG) Mourns the Loss of Founding President and Genetics Pioneer David L. Rimoin, MD, PhD


After a career that spanned nearly half a century, Dr. David L. Rimoin, founding president of ACMG and in many ways the founder of one of the most fast- paced specialties in modern clinical medicine, passed away on Sunday May 27, 2012 in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer, which had only been diagnosed a few days before.

Dr. Rimoin was a giant in the field of medical genetics. He leaves not only an enduring legacy but also a void in the hearts of the many who loved him, including his beloved wife Ann of 32 years and their three cherished children, Anne, Michael and Lauren.


Click here to read full tribute


Clarke Fraser

Clarke Fraser was inducted to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2012 http://www.cdnmedhall.org/list-name?year=2012

If you haven’t heard it already, Dr. Fraser was interviewed by CBC radio.  The podcast can be heard here (fast forward to about 19 minutes 30 seconds) http://podcast.cbc.ca/w6/worldatsix.mp3

 Nada Jabado

On April 24, during a ceremony at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Mary Argent-Katwala, Director of Research at the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, presented the William E. Rawls Prize to Dr Nada Jabado, researcher at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at McGill University.


The Canadian Cancer Society wants to recognize “Dr Nada Jabado’s remarkable contribution to our understanding of brain cancers in children in the last decade,” Mary Argent-Katwala said at the award ceremony.

At the Montreal Children’s Hospital, Dr Jabado diagnoses fatal tumours. Brain cancers are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among children because existing treatments are often ineffective. A caring doctor, Dr Jabado focuses on research to one day give hope to the children she treats. “What I am hopeful and proud of is that my work might one day help cure these cancers,” the researcher said.

Innovative in her research, Dr Jabado established a multidisciplinary team composed of pediatric oncologists, bioinformaticians, pathologists and basic scientists. She then equipped the laboratory with a database of childhood tumours, thanks to the collaboration of her peers in Canada and abroad.

To this day, her work has led to great progress in the understanding of brain cancers in children and paved the way for promising treatments. Dr Jabado’s team has most notably identified a genetic mutation present in 40% of glioblastomas, a type of brain cancer. It explains the resistance of glioblastomas to radiation and chemotherapy.

Her recent work has also been the subject of several articles, notably two that appeared in Nature magazine (January and February 2012 issues).

She also won the Maude Abbott prize which was established in 2010 by the Faculty of Medicine in order to recognize outstanding female Faculty Members who excel in Education, Research or Administration with a focus at the early career stage.

















Congratulations to our new Human Genetics Students Society (HGSS) members for 2011-2012. We have students from many different sites, which should help with communication and organizing. Click here to find out more about our HGSS members!


The Department’s Human Genetics Graduate Student Research Day was held on June 2, 2011, with many of our students presenting their work, and featuring keynote speaker Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D. – Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH.

Three students were awarded prizes for presenting talks, and four students were awarded for poster presentations. The third prize winner for presenting a talk was Justine Garner, a student in Dr. Jacquetta Trasler’s lab, and winner of a $200 prize.



The Department’s Human Genetics Graduate Student Research Day was held on June 2, 2011, with many of our students presenting their work, and featuring keynote speaker Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D. – Director, National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH.

Three students were awarded prizes for presenting talks, and four students were awarded for poster presentations. The second prize winner for presenting a talk was Woranontee Weraarpachai, a student in Dr. Eric Shoubridge’s lab, and winner of a $300 prize.