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)

Dr. Nada Jabado elected as Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Dr. Jabado was one of 6 members of McGill’s Faculty of Medicine to receive this award, one of the highest honours for individuals in the Canadian health sciences community. Elections are based on a nominating and peer review process that seeks to recognize those who are marked by a record of substantial accomplishment.

Dr. Jabado was the first to identify a histone mutation in human disease, thereby generating a paradigm shift in understanding the biology of cancer. Her landmark papers demonstrate a direct effect of epigenetic dysregulation during development in the causal origin of fatal brain tumors in children and young adults. Her novel approach has fundamentally advanced cancer research by focusing on the role of the epigenome in cancer genesis and progression. Read more here.

No-Nonsense Approach to Genetic Kidney Disease in Children

The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre’s (RI-MUHC) push to treat a rare genetic disease in children – with a higher percentage found in French Canadians – has received a $2 million as part of a national genomic contest led by Génome Canada.

Dr. Paul Goodyer’s team at the RI-MUHC is at the forefront of North American efforts to develop a novel drug for nephropathic cystinosis, a disorder that is 10 times more prevalent in Québec. Without treatment, all affected children require kidney transplantation and survival beyond the age of 30 is rare. Read more here.

Disease causing mutation found in French-Canadians

A team of Canadian scientists, including researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) has discovered the first French-Canadian founder mutation gene linked to synucleinopathies, a group of neurodegenerative diseases that includes Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia with Lewy-Bodies (DLB) and multiple system atrophy (MSA).

“We don’t know how frequent this mutation is in the general French-Canadian population, but it doesn’t appear to be very common. We’re going to test additional subjects so we can determine its exact frequency,” says Dr. Ziv Gan-Or, a genetics researcher at The Neuro and the study’s lead author. “This mutation causes Gaucher’s disease, so it has clinical importance for couples who want to have children. They can request genetic screening for this specific gene mutation.” Read more here.

Dr. Eric Shoubridge reappointed Chair, Department of Human Genetics

We are delighted to announce the re-appointment of Dr. Eric Shoubridge to the position of Chair of the Department of Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. Dr. Shoubridge originally took on this role in 2013 and has successfully led and grown the Department over the course of his first term.

A two-time McGill graduate (BSc and MSc), Dr. Shoubridge completed his PhD at the University of British Columbia in 1981 and his post-doctoral training at Oxford prior to joining the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI) in 1985. Dr. Shoubridge is a James McGill Professor, as well as a Professor of Human Genetics and of Neurology and Neurosurgery. In 2015, he was named Isaac Walton Killam Chair in Neurology and Neurosurgery. At the MNI he is a member of the Rare Neurological Diseases and Neurodegenerative Diseases research groups.

Dr. Shoubridge’s laboratory at the MNI focuses on the molecular genetics of mitochondria and the identification and characterization of mitochondrial disease genes. His lab developed the first animal models to investigate the transmission and segregation of mtDNA, pioneered functional cloning methods to identify the genetic defects in individual patients with autosomal recessive mitochondrial disease, and incorporated next generation sequencing methods to rapidly identify the spectrum of genetic mutations associated with these disorders. His lab is now using proteomic tools to characterize the mitochondrial protein interactome, with a view to discovering the networks where individual proteins work, and to investigate how these networks are altered in disease states.

Dr. Shoubridge has published widely on mitochondrial disease with over 150 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, reviews and editorials to his name. Among his honours and awards, he has been an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute and a Senior Investigator of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He currently holds research grants from the CIHR, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, among others.

Dr. Shoubridge was the recipient of the Jacob’s Ladder award for outstanding research in Neurogenetics in 2006, the Established Investigator Award from the MNI in 2009, and the Champion of Genetics Award from the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation in 2012. Dr. Shoubridge was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2004 and named a Fellow of the Canadian Institutes for Advanced Research in 2006.

As Chair of McGill’s Department of Human Genetics, Dr. Shoubridge provides leadership to continue its tradition of excellence in teaching and research. As part of the Faculty Leadership Council, he advises the Dean on all academic matters pertaining to the Department, while continuing to pursue his own successful research program. Additionally, he oversees the recruitment of leading scientists to the Department.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Eric Shoubridge on his re-appointment and in wishing him the greatest success in continuing to build on the Department’s excellence and enhance its outstanding international reputation.

Dr. David Eidelman
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Lesley Fellows
Vice-Dean, Academic Affairs


Dr. Aimee Ryan appointed Associate Dean, Biomedical BSc, Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Aimee Ryan to the position of Associate Dean, Biomedical BSc, Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University.

Dr. Ryan takes over from Dr. Elaine Davis who for two years as Assistant Dean, Graduate Studies and then for two terms in the expanded Associate Dean role, initiated new programs, resolved problems and facilitated communication for over 4,000 postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students. She participated in the creation of many successful new graduate programs, ensuring continual improvement of the quality of education and research in the Faculty. Dr. Davis led the Faculty’s graduate support programs, in which she was responsible for fund distribution and allocation, and participated in award granting. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Davis for her outstanding contributions during the past decade and wish her ongoing success.

Dr. Ryan received her BSc in Genetics in 1985 from the University of Manitoba. She followed this with an MSc in Human Genetics in 1988 and a PhD in Biochemistry in 1994, both at Queen’s University. She then held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego from 1994 to 2000.

Dr. Ryan joined McGill’s Faculty of Medicine in 2000 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics. She became Associate Professor of Pediatrics in 2010 and Associate Professor of Human Genetics in 2014. From 2013 to 2018 she was the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Human Genetics. She is currently Interim Deputy Executive Director and Deputy Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Interim Head of Child Health Research at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.

Dr. Ryan’s own research focuses on morphogenesis, the process that drives organ formation in early embryonic development. Her laboratory is currently investigating the role of the claudin family of genes in the development of the left-right axis, neural tube closure, kidney development and the blood-testis barrier. She is the recipient of research grants from, among others, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.

Reporting directly to the Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)/Dean, as Associate Dean Dr. Ryan will be a liaison to the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (GPS) and the Faculty’s academic departments and schools. She will provide strategic guidance and oversight to the Faculty’s graduate programs and represent the educational interests of the biomedical science programs at the Education Leadership Council. She will also develop and implement interdisciplinary initiatives and oversee activities to ensure that the needs and priorities of the Faculty of Medicine are met with respect to education and training of students and postdocs in the biomedical BSc, and graduate and postdoctoral programs, including the MDCM & PhD program and the new BSc/MSc thesis track program.

Dr. Ryan will manage the annual allocation of GPS funding (over $4 million) to the individual graduate programs and various competitions, and provide strategic guidance for the use of these funds to enhance recruitment and retention. She will also organize and chair Graduate Program Directors and Graduate Program Coordinators meetings to discuss procedural issues, new policies and initiatives.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Ryan and wishing her every success as she embarks on her new role.


Dr. David Eidelman
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
Dr. Lesley Fellows
Vice-Dean, Academic Affairs

Dr. Anna Naumova – New Graduate Program Director, Department of Human Genetics

I am pleased to announce that Anna Naumova has agreed to take over the position of Graduate Program Director (GPD). Anna has served on the Graduate Training Committee for a number of years, and I am sure that she will take over seamlessly where Aimee left off. Please join me in welcoming Anna to this important position in our Department.

Sincerely, Eric Shoubridge, Ph.D. Chair, Department of Human Genetics

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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


  • 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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October 2018

  • October 16, 2018 at 12:30pm – Lina Abdrabo’s Masters Seminar entitled “Next generation sequencing to discover genes underlying methylmalonic aciduria”. Supervisors: Drs David Rosenblatt & Jean-Baptiste Rivière  To be held at the RI-MUHC Room EM1.3509
  • October 16, 2018 from 6:30-8:30pm Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives and SKILLSETS presents “Small Talk, Big Impact: Developing an elevator pitch for your neuroscience research”  Montreal Neurological Institute, Bell Room. Register here
  • October 17, 2018 from 15:00-18:00 Express Recruiting Life Sciences and Health Technologies presented by Montreal InVivo, 380 rue Saint-Antoine Ouest, suite 8000
  • October 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm  Genelle Harrison’s Ph.D. Seminar entitled “Natural selection has contributed to functional immune response differences between human hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists”. Supervisors: Drs. Erwin Schurr & Luis Barreiro. To be held in the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, Room 501
  • October 23, 2018 from 6:30-8:30pm Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives and SKILLSETS presents “The neuroscience of persuasion and effective public speaking”  Jay Olsen PhD. candidate, Psychiatry MOntreal Neurological Institute, Bell Room.  Register here
  • October 23, 2018 at 5pm Webinar:Harmonized CGS Masters Fellowship Click here to register
  • November 06, 2018 at 3:00pm Najmeh Alirezaie’s D. Oral Defence entitled “Next generation sequencing in medicine”.  Supervisor: Dr. Jacek Majewski. To be held in the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, 1160 Pine Ave W, Room 501.
  • November 08, 2018 at 3:00pm John Morris’ D. Oral Defence entitled “Genetic and Epigenetic Determinants of Osteoporosis”. Supervisor: Dr. Brent Richards. To be held in the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, 1160 Pine Ave W, Room 501.
  • November 15, 2018 at 10:00am Mona Wu’s D. Oral Defence entitled “In vitro modeling of DICER1-linked tumours”.  Supervisors: Drs. Marc Fabian & William Foulkes. To be held at the Jewish General Hospital, 5750 Côte-des-Neiges, Room A-139 (Nurses Lecture Hall).
  • December 06, 2018 at 3:00pm Vafa Keser’s 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.

Careers #Trending for Health Researchers

3rd Annual Career Half-Day for Trainees, presented by Presented by the Desjardins Centre for Advanced Training of the RI-MUHC

November 1st, 2018, 9 am – 2 pm, Glen site (Cruess Amphitheatre and Atrium)

This session will include a series of talks in the morning where you will learn about careers for scientists and health researchers available in emerging sectors such as: medicinal cannabis, artificial intelligence, and applied immunology.  Followed by a a two-hour networking lunch session attended by professionals from the private sector, government, and research agencies who are there to talk with trainees about careers.

Open to all McGill University graduate and postdoctoral trainees. Check out our website for more information and to register.


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 696 – Advanced Readings in Neuro-Genetics

This course will focus on the genetics of neurological disorders, highlight novel genetic methods and findings, and will provide the students with tools to design their own studies and critically assess the genetic literature.

For more information: HGEN696 FALL 2018 – Syllabus


EXMD632- Recent Advances in Virology & Antiviral Therapeutics

This course is designed to expose M.Sc, Ph.D and M.D students to the most recent developments in the field of virology.

More information can be found here.


EXMD642 – Principles of Clinical Epidemiology

This is a three-credit course that serves as the foundation for the Department of Medicine’s newly developing program in clinical research.  The main learning objective is to understand the basic principles underlying clinical epidemiological studies and thus be able to critically interpret papers published in the peer-review literature.

More information can be found here.



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.


EXSU 500: Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

Open to ALL Graduate Students and Undergraduate Students

September 10th –  Nov 26th   every Monday 5pm-8pm, MGH Hospital


Experimental Surgery : Introduction to artificial intelligence (AI) applied to issues in medical diagnosis, therapy selection and learning from health data. Various AI methods, electronic medical records, and ethical/security concerns. Machine learning approaches including deep learning and reinforcement learning without delving too deeply into the technical details.

 More information HERE.


Save the Date!

3rd International Conference on Stem cells, Development and Cancer, Montreal, Canada, October 18-19th, 2018

Cancer progression, embryo development and tissue regeneration have in common a strong dependency on stem and progenitor cells. Which characteristics are shared, and which are unique to embryonic, cancer and adult stem cells remain open questions.  Are cancer stem cells derived from adult stem cells or differentiated cancer cells that have acquired stem cell properties? What determines the potency of embryonic and adult stem cells? These questions and many others await a better understanding of stem and progenitor cell properties within different biological contexts.

To address these challenges, the third conference “Stem Cells, Development and Cancer” will be held in Montreal, October 18-19th, 2018 and is aimed at bringing together world experts in the fields of embryonic, adult and cancer stem cells. The synergy created by the reunion of leaders at the crossroads of these research themes will highlight novel approaches to address the important challenges associated with stem cell biology and therapeutics.

Please find attached the meeting flyer highlighting our world-class speakers.

 More information here:

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Montreal in October!




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