Michel DESJARLAIS (prize supported by Fondation Antoine-Turmel)
Postdoctoral fellow, Université de Montréal
Laboratory : Dr Sylvain Chemtob
Publication: Desjarlais, M., Rivera JC, Lahaie I, Gagnone G, Wirt M, Omri S, Chemtob S. MicroRNA expression profile in oxygen-induced retinopathy model. PlosOne 2019 Jun 12;14(6)
Holder of a doctorate in biomedical science from the University of Montreal, I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Dr. Sylvain Chemtob (MD, PhD) at the Maisonneuve Rosemont Hospital Research Center. My research aims to elucidate various mechanisms involved in the abnormal modulation of post-ischemic vascular repair (insufficient and excessive) during ischemic retinopathies (IRs). More specifically, I focus mainly on the identification of new post-transcriptional mechanisms including microRNAs that are altered during vascular degeneration. My postdoctoral research is a continuation of my doctoral thesis on the mechanisms modulating neovascularization during cardiovascular diseases. Passionate about science, my current research allows me to explore the function of microRNAs in vascular biology in a new pathological field (ophthalmology). I also hold a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, and I am the recipient of over 15 Excellence Awards (including: 2015 and 2016 CRCHUM Publication Awards, Gold Awards at the CIHR Canadian Doctoral Student Competition health research in 2016), authors of 14 scientific articles including 7 as first authors and recipient of the CRHMR postdoctoral fellowship (2018) and the ophthalmology fund of the University of Montreal (2019).
PhD student, Université Laval
Laboratory : Dr Sylvain Guérin
Publication: Desjardins P, Couture C, Germain L, Guérin SL. Contribution of the WNK1 kinase to corneal wound healing using the tissue‐engineered human cornea as an in vitro model. J Tisue Eng Regen Med. 2019; 1–14.
I started my academic training in Biomedical Sciences at Université Laval. During my Bachelor’s degree, I had the chance to carry out many research internships in various fields of study. My first experience took place at the Centre Universitaire d’Ophtalmologie (CUO-Recherche / LOEX) at the CHU de Québec under the supervision of Dr. Sylvain Guérin. Afterwards, I also had the opportunity to work on Alzheimer’s disease, Eph receptor signalling in cancer and the development of the respiratory control system. These internships quickly confirmed my interest in research. Having particularly enjoyed studying at the Centre Universitaire d’Ophtalmologie, I renewed my experience with Dr. Sylvain Guerin when it was time to start my Master’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology in 2016. During my master’s degree, I studied the role of various signalling mediators, including CREB, Akt and more particularly WNK1, on corneal wound healing by using a human tissue-engineered cornea as model. As for my PhD, which I started last fall, I’m studying the specific contribution of the WNK1-SPAK/OSR1 signalling pathway and their effector proteins on corneal wound healing. In the last few years, I had the chance to travel to Honolulu, Greece and Switzerland to present the results of my works at international conferences. In addition, my works led to the publication of several scientific articles, in addition to leading to the establishment of a patent.
Seung Hyun (Sam) MIN
PhD student, McGill University
Laboratory : Dr Robert Hess
Publication: Min SH, Baldwin AS, Hess RF. Ocular dominance plasticity: A binocular combination task finds no cumulative effect with repeated patching. Vision Res. 2019 Aug;161:36-42
During high school, I was diagnosed with a nerve injury on my right hand from playing the clarinet, leaving me with no choice but to become ambidextrous. I had to longitudinally retrain my brain so that my left hand could properly write alphabets and hold chopsticks, the responsibilities that had been formerly assigned to my right hand. The experiences from my recovery sparked my interest in neural plasticity. For my undergraduate education, I pursued Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University and graduated within the top 10% of my class on June 2017. Since then, I have been working on my graduate degree at McGill University with Prof. Robert Hess on neural plasticity. The focus of my thesis has been on finding means to harness remaining levels of neural plasticity in the adult brain, a topic that parallels my experiences from playing music. I currently have three first author publications, two of which are from my graduate work. During spare time, I enjoy practicing the clarinet (yes, I still do play) and reading historical fiction novels. I am very grateful for the publication award and for all the support I have received from my mentors during my research training.