Four Burning Questions with Dr. Gustavo Turecki

To mark the 75th anniversary of McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry, Canada’s first academic department in the field, a special symposium will be held at the St. James Theatre on November 29. Under the theme “Looking Forward, Looking Back” the event will provide participants with the opportunity to hear from a distinguished lineup of international speakers and to network with old and new colleagues alike.

To commemorate the milestone the Department has also established a goal to raise $100,000 towards the creation of the Psychiatry 75th Anniversary Fellowship, which will support trainees in the pursuit of excellence related to brain and mental health clinical care, research, education and innovation.

Ahead of the event we sat down with Dr. Gustavo Turecki who has been Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill since 2015 and was recently appointed Chief of Psychiatry at the Montréal West Island IUHSSC and Scientific Director of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute.

Read more.

Far from a classroom exercise happening behind the walls of the ivory tower, university research is a fundamental component of Canada’s economic health – both today and into the future.

Some of our country’s greatest inventions and world-renowned accomplishments, such as canola and insulin, have happened on the nation’s university campuses.

Universities in Canada carry the country’s burden of research and invention, and that burden is made heavier by limited funding from private resources. And, while Canada has contributed many significant discoveries to the world through its academic research, it has also received its fair share of criticism, mainly due to gaps in funding for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) research.

The 2017 Canada’s Fundamental Science Review, reports that, “Despite high levels of talent, expertise, and dedication on the part of those serving each agency, there is evidence to suggest that the overall stewardship of the federal research ecosystem needs to be strengthened.”

But there is hope that change is coming. Click here for more.

Scientific breakthrough: promising new target for immunotherapy

Following the 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine, global attention is now more than ever turned toward the promise of immunotherapy in oncology. An international team’s work has shed new light on a molecule called TIM-3 that might play a key role in the regulation of the immune response. Scientists and physicians from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC (MCH-MUHC) and McGill University, in collaboration with French teams from AP-HP, Inserm, Université Paris-Descartes, Université Paris-Diderot, and the Imagine Institute at the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital, have singled out this protein as the next potential target for immunotherapy treatments in patients with cancer and other diseases.

“This study places the TIM-3 protein at the heart of immune system regulation. We could use it as a target in immunotherapies to trigger enhanced immune responses in patients with cancer and better treat them,” says co-lead author of this study, Dr. Nada Jabado, who is a researcher from the Child Health and Human Development Program at the RI-MUHC and an hemato-oncologist at MCH-MUHC.

Researchers found that when the TIM-3 protein is suppressed or inactive, the immune system becomes completely “unleashed” and T cells are uncontrollably over-activated, resulting in a rare form of lymphoma (a form of cancer that starts in the lymphocytes) called subcutaneous panniculitis T lymphoma (LTSCP). Read more here.

McGill Accomplishments at CAGC

Congratulations to the following McGill faculty and students for their recognition at the annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors (CAGC), held last week in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Janine El Helou, MScRecipient of the 2018 CAGC New Leader Award


Addressing barriers for rapid cancer genetic counselling: Triage system for treatment-focused genetic testing” MORGAN Amanda, WONG Nora

“Fetal sex discordance by non-invasive prenatal testing: Current practices and possible explanations” LEVY Tess, HODSON Katherine, POUCHET Carly, FITZPATRICK Jennifer McGill University Health Center, Dynacare, Montreal QC

Platform presentations:

“Incidence and carrier frequency of Tay-Sachs disease in French-Canadians from Quebec: a retrospective analysis covering 24 years (1992-2015)” SILLON Guillaume, ALLARD Pierre, DRURY Stella, DE BIE Isabelle

“A familial investigation of recurrent Osteogenesis Imperfecta over three decades”


Scientific Planning Committee Co-Chair

Laurence Baret, MA, MSc

Congratulations, all!

In Memoriam: Dr. Geoffrey Hendy (1947 – 2018)

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Dr. Geoffrey Hendy, Professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University and a senior scientist in the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC).

A native of the United Kingdom, Dr. Hendy obtained his PhD in England in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey L.H. O’Riordan at the Middlesex Hospital in London. He would go on to complete his postdoctoral training at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before being recruited to the Calcium Laboratory of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine at McGill in 1985.

At McGill, Dr. Hendy’s laboratory studied the molecular genetics of mineral metabolism disorders with a focus on functional analysis of inherited mutations in genes controlling calcium and skeletal homeostasis, and particularly genes encoding the calcium sensing receptor and menin (the Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 1 gene product).

Dr. Hendy was a passionate researcher driven by science and discovery. He remained engaged in these pursuits until his final week. Described as possessing a sense of humour typical of 1960s British school boys as well as a keen interest in British Blues music, when it came to his work Dr. Hendy was known for his creativity and compulsive attention to detail. Combined with great perseverance, he harnessed these traits into a remarkable ability to take even a sloppily-written manuscript and transform it into something professional and publishable. He made many outstanding contributions to science over the course of his career while enjoying an exemplary international reputation in his field.

Dr. Hendy was also very active as an educator at McGill, teaching and mentoring students in the Departments of Human Genetics and Medicine and was a popular choice for undergraduate students when first choosing a laboratory for their practicum. Dr. Hendy also served as a mentor to numerous graduate students and started them on successful research careers, as well as serving as an Academic Advisor for many others.

Dr. Hendy devoted his life to science and teaching. While he was a private person, he was generous with his time and his knowledge and made an impact on his colleagues and numerous trainees at all levels, helping to shape the careers of many. A celebration of his life was held at the RI-MUHC on September 29.

Our condolences go out to his family, friends and colleagues. He will be missed by all. (med e-news)


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Funding, Jobs and Other Announcements:

Jobs and Other Opportunities:

  • McGill Doctoral Internship Program offers McGill’s doctoral students at the end of their degree the opportunity to learn and grow outside of academia through a 3-month remunerated internship. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Click here for testimonials.

Awards – Call for Nominations:

Funding Opportunities

  • Endeavour Leadership Program 2019 Funding opportunity for short-term Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral research in Australia Deadline: November 15, 2018
  • DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) is offering Study Scholarships and Research Grants for highly qualified graduate students, PhD candidates, and post-doctoral researchers in all disciplines to study and carry out research at universities or research institutes in Germany. Information session: October 3, 2018 at 10am, RSVP by Sept 12, 2018
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November 2018

  • November 15, 2018 at 10:00am Mona Wu’s Ph.D. Oral Defence entitled “DICER1 syndrome:assays, associations and models”.  Supervisors: Drs. Marc Fabian & William Foulkes. To be held at the Jewish General Hospital, 5750 Côte-des-Neiges, Room A-139 (Nurses Lecture Hall)
  • November 19, 2018 at 3:00pmMcGill’s Integrated Program in Neuroscience hosts Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President and Bing Presidential Professor of Stanford University for the 2018 Dr. Bernice Grafstein Lecture in Neuroscience.  To be held at the Montreal Neurological Institute , Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre.  Register here.
  • November 19, 2018 from 8:30am to 4:00pmSymposium on Computational Medicine  To be held at the Research Institute of the MUHC – Glen site, 1001 Decarie boul, Cruess Amphitheatre, Block E, Rm E S1.1129  RSVP by November 13, 2018
  • November 29, 2018 at 4:00pm Simon La Charité-Harbec’s M.Sc. Seminar entitled “Studying the role of claudins during lung branching morphogenesis” Supervisor: Dr. Indra Gupta.  To be held at the MUHC, Glen site,1001 Decarie boul Room EMD.2225
  • December 4, 2018Save the Date! Rendez-vous Genome Quebec focusing on Next Generation of Genomics Applications Keynote Speaker: Dr. John Quackenbush of the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute. Details to follow shortly
  • December 06, 2018 at 3:00pm Vafa Keser’s Ph.D. Oral Defence entitled “Scarf2 and Snap29; candidate genes implicated in the generation of phenotypic variability in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome”. Supervisor: Dr. Loydie Majewska. To be held in the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, 1160 Pine Ave W, Room 501.

Technology Day

Dr. Ragoussis is organizing a Technology Day for the Department of Human Genetics in collaboration with the HGSS. The purpose of this is to educate and inform all members of the Department about technologies and methodologies relevant for ongoing research at the Department available at different sites, as well as ones that would be desirable to bring in. It will also serve to bring together students and scientists from the different sites and promote communication and exchange of ideas as well as experiences across sites.

Please help us design this endeavor by completing this survey. Thank you on behalf of Dr. Ragoussis and the HGSS

French Credit Courses – McGill School of Continuing Studies

French for Professional Communication Part-Time Program:  This program is especially designed for people who need French for their work and who hope to use French as an important tool or catalyst for their careers. All Graduate students that are new to the program, and wish to register for the Winter 2019 semester must take an Entrance Placement Test prior to registering for a particular course. Please click the following link to reserve your spot at the next Entrance Placement Test on November 15th: (Other dates will be available soon on our page but we encourage you to register ASAP since we have limited spots available: November 21st; December 4th & 11th; late registration: January 3rd) .  Returning students can now register directly on Minerva, or contact our department if you encounter any registration restrictions.

Quebec Tuition Fee Rate  may apply when registering for any French credit courses.  See list of exclusions at

Please visit our website for more details about our Certificate Program

3rd Annual Graduate Student Recruitment Day – Goodman Cancer Research Centre

McGill’s Goodman Cancer Research Centre (GCRC) is hosting its third annual graduate recruitment event on January 24 and 25, 2019. This event provides prospective students with an opportunity to meet current students and faculty members and receive a one-year studentship to study at the GCRC.  Application deadline: November 12, 2018

More information can be found on our website.

2018 Dr. Bernice Grafstein Lecture in Neuroscience

McGill’s Integrated Program in Neuroscience is honoured to host the President and Bing Presidential Professor of Stanford University, Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, as the keynote speaker for this year’s Dr. Bernice Grafstein Lecture in Neuroscience. This celebrated lecture aims to honour and recognize the accomplishments of Dr. Grafstein in the field of neuroscience, including being the former President of Society for Neuroscience. The event will take place on Monday November 19 2018, in the Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre at the Montreal Neurological Institute, at 3:00 PM. The event itinerary will commence with a keynote address by Dr. Tessier-Lavigne, and will be followed by a cocktail reception in the foyer.  REGISTER HERE

Science Policy and Exchange Student Group, Montreal

Survey on Graduate Student & Postdoc Funding – The Science and Policy Exchange (SPE) student group in Montreal has developed a national survey on studentships/fellowships.  Results of this survey will be used to generate a report that informs and provides recommendations/improvements for graduate student/PDF funding in the next federal budget. This is a great opportunity for students to get involved and share their experience about the current funding situation in Canada. The link to the survey is here . The survey is open from October 9 – November 12, 2018


myProgress – New Degree Milestones Tracking Tool

A NEW web based tool designed to help graduate students navigate their progress through their Master’s or PhD degrees.

Benefits of myProgress

  • See course and program requirements for your McGill degree
  • Monitor your progress towards your degree
  • Receive reminders of upcoming or missed academic milestones in thesis programs

Who can access myProgress?

  • Students who have been admitted to a graduate program in Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Summer 2018 and Fall 2018.
  • Supervisors of students admitted to McGill as of Fall 2017.

How to access myProgress

Students and supervisors can access myProgress by going to and login using their McGill Username and Password.

Be sure to watch the “myProgress Quick Tour”  video for instructions on how to use myProgress.

Check back often as we update your records towards your degree progression!


Career Development and Professional Skills for Research Trainees

Presented by the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training of the RI-MUHC (McGill trainees who are not part of the RI-MUHC are welcome to attend most events and activities).

Sessions include Peer Career Groups: for trainees who want to explore possible careers for health scientists and researchers, Preparing Winning Scholarships and Fellowships, and Developing Your Soft Skills For Today and Tomorrow in an Interconnected Society.

For more information and to register for sessions, click here


Would You Fund It?

SKILLSETS is offering fellowship consultation sessions  to graduate students applying for external funding.

Students will have the opportunity to have their two-page project summary reviewed by a former Tri-council or Quebec committee reviewer in one or more 30-minute one-on-one consultations. The reviewer will scan the document and provide feedback on the structure, relevance, and language accuracy with suggestions on how to strengthen the draft.

The Fall 2018 series will run on September 17, 20, 26, and on November 26 in the Redpath Library Building.

Register for your session(s) of choice here.


HGEN 698 – Advanced Readings in Genetics

This course aims to familiarize students with the evolving field of epigenetics and
chromatin biology and the role of epigenetics in development and disease.

For more information: HGEN 698 epigenetics_and_chromatin



This fall, Graphos is offering 1-credit, pass/fail courses designed to help students develop clear and coherent manuscripts and oral presentations. Several courses are available and Doctoral students and many Master’s students can take the courses without extra fees, thanks to the University’s tuition sponsorship program.  To see the list of courses see here for more detail.


Quebec Forum on Genetic Discrimination – Updated

(Please note that while the forum is in French, you can comment in the language of your choice English or French)

An innovative research initiative by McGill’s researchers is looking for members of the Quebec public to voice their opinion on one of the great issues linked to the use of genetic data.

The use of genetic information can lead to differential treatment of individuals because of their genetic profile, giving rise to a phenomenon known as genetic discrimination. The Genetic Discrimination Observatory (GDO) is currently holding an online public forum on genetic discrimination to enable residents of Quebec to share their opinion or questions on this subject. The data collected will be used to assess your concerns, needs and opinions.

Join the discussion today at:


MATH 697: Reading Course in Statistics

This new course covers much of the material in MATH 323-324; i.e. foundational statistical inference concepts. It is designed for graduate students who are interested in improving their statistics knowledge but who have not taken 323-324 or equivalent.

After taking this course, students should have the prerequisite material needed for graduate level regression or generalized linear models (i.e. MATH-523 Generalized Linear Models, etc).

Please email Alexander DeGuise ( for permission to register.



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