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, MSc  – Recipient 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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