Lab Canada

Top honour goes to scientific director of Douglas Hospital Research Centre

Montreal, QC – Dr Rmi Quirion, scientific director of the Douglas Hospital Research Centre and the first scientific director of the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, has won the Wilder-Penfield Award. This award is given in recognition of a researcher’s overall contribution to biomedical science and is the highest honorary award presented by the Quebec government.

In 1983, at age 28, Dr Quirion assumed the role of director of the Neuroscience Laboratory at the Douglas Hospital Research Centre. He and his team focused on the study of neuropeptides (neuropeptides Y, CGRP), growth factors (nerve growth factor and insulin-like growth factor-1), and the role of programmed cell death in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. His team enjoys an international reputation in the field of neuroscience, with several discoveries to its credit.

In 1995, he was named scientific director of the Douglas Hospital Research Centre. Under his direction, the centre tripled its number of researchers and grants. Today, it operates with a budget of $12 million.

In 2000, the federal government recognized Dr Quirion for his leadership as a researcher and administrator by appointing him the first scientific director of the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA), one of the 13 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He has just accepted a second four-year mandate to head this institute.

Since joining the Douglas Hospital Research Centre, Dr Quirion has trained more than 75 doctoral and post-doctoral students from throughout the world, thus playing a key role in training the next generation of neuroscientists-a personal mission to which he is devoted and in which he has invested enormous time and energy.

He has received many awards, including the 1997 Prix Lo-Pariseau, awarded by the Association canadienne-franaise pour l’avancement des sciences (ACFAS); the Ambassador’s Medal at the 1999 “Gala du rayonnement” from the University of Sherbrooke for his contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge; and the 1997 Prix Galien Canada for excellence and innovation in Canadian pharmaceutical research. He was recently named Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and awarded the title of National Champion of Mental Health by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health. In addition, he received the mdaille de l’Assemble nationale du Qubec.