Montreal, QC – Dr. Michel Chrétien, IRCM emeritus research professor and former scientific director of the institute, is receiving the 2015 Wilder-Penfield Prix du Québec.
“Dr. Chrétien is an outstanding researcher known worldwide as the pioneer of the prohormone theory and for his discovery of proprotein convertase,” said Tarik Möröy, PhD, IRCM president and scientific director. “His impressive career continues to inspire countless scientists. For his invaluable contributions to biomedical research and his precious commitment to Quebec and Canadian academic life, this prestigious Wilder-Penfield Prix du Québec was naturally destined for him.”
A physician and endocrinologist by training, Dr. Chrétien has made significant contributions to basic science, including functional endoproteolysis, which led to numerous clinical applications. He arrived at the IRCM the year it was founded, in 1967, and opened the first protein chemistry laboratory in Quebec. He spent the majority of his career at the institute and directed it for 10 years. His remarkable scientific productivity includes over 600 publications in the most prestigious scientific journals.
“As a young endocrinologist, my intuition to deepen my knowledge of the chemistry of hormones served me well, as it allowed me to combine basic research and clinical activities,” said Dr. Chrétien. “The prohormone theory opened a new chapter in biology and led to a large number of medical applications. This new paradigm and its outcomes defined my entire scientific career. It is a great honour for me to accept the Wilder-Penfield Prix du Québec. I am pleased to realize that my research will have contributed to advancing biomedical research and led to new therapeutic approaches for metabolic and cardiovascular disease.”
Today, Dr. Chrétien continues to supervise a laboratory in functional endoproteolysis at the IRCM, where his team studies the importance of proprotein convertases in metabolic homeostasis, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease and infections such as malaria and the Ebola virus.
Dr. Chrétien completed his medical degree and clinical research studies at the Université de Montréal McGill University, followed by a residency in internal medicine and endocrinology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. He was also a research assistant at Berkeley and completed sabbaticals at Cambridge Universirt (England) and Salk Institute (California). He is IRCM emeritus research professor and director of a laboratory in functional endoproteolysis. He was scientific director of the IRCM from 1984 to 1994. Dr. Chrétien is also emeritus professor at the Université de Montréal, emeritus scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, as well as founder and professor at the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology (University of Ottawa).