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«Research chairs are awarded to outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their respective fields. Chairholders advance the frontiers of knowledge in their fields, not only through their own work, but also by teaching and supervising students and coordinating the work of other researchers.» (Source :

 Dr. Sébastien Bonnet, Ph. D. Chairholder of the CIHR Canadian research Chair in vascular remodeling diseases

Vascular remodeling diseases are the number one killer and cause of hospitalization in Canada. Current treatments only limit or slow down progression, rather than cure the disease. Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a disease of the vessels carrying blood toward the lungs, and is characterized by narrowing of the pulmonary arteries impairing oxygenation and causing a fatal right heart failure. PAH can have many different causes, like vascular smooth muscle cell multiplication, resistance to programmed cell death (apoptosis), and inflammation, all of which make the blood vessel cells immortal so they build up, restricting blood circulation. The Pulmonary hypertension research group created by Dr Bonnet and Dr Provencher and supported by Dr Bonnet’s Canadian research chair offers a new research perspective for the treatment and the diagnostic of vascular diseases. Using a multidisciplinary and translational approach (from the genes to the population), the group is studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms implicated in vascular remodeling processes. This approach recently led to the discovery of new therapeutic targets and biomarkers for PAH including Pim-1; miR-204 and PARP-1. We believe that merging the forces between basic and clinical research will accelerate the discovery on new therapies.

Consult our website to learn more about our research.

 Dr. Louis Philippe Boulet, M.D. Chairholder of the Knowledge Transfer, Training and Prevention Chair on Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health (Lung and Heart Health)

Cardiopulmonary diseases affect a very large proportion of the population. The objective of this chair is to reduce the human and socio-economic burdens that constitute these diseases by assessing new knowledge transfer methods in this field for the benefit of health professionals, patients as well as other stakeholders. With the support of Dr. Paul Poirier and Dr. Sébastien Bergeron in terms of cardiovascular disease, along with numerous local, national and international partnerships, Dr. Boulet established a research program based on the development of educational materials, medical practice and pedagogical intervention facilitative tools as well as a research and communication program on the risk factors of cardiopulmonary diseases.

 Dr. Katherine Cianflone, Ph. D. Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair on Adipose Tissue

Obese people have much higher rates of insulin resistance, diabetes, and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Katherine Cianflone pioneered research on the adipokine ASP, a protein that stimulates fat synthesis. The goals of her work are to identify and characterize in greater detail and with greater precision the adipokines that may influence fat storage, to examine the physiological changes caused by them, and to develop weight-gain prevention strategies.

 Dr. Jean-Pierre Després, Ph. D. Chairholder of the International Research Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk, and Assistant Director of Research in Cardiology

Cardiovascular diseases remain an important worldwide public health concern. Abdominal obesity is now recognized as the most common cause of many metabolic complications that contribute to increase cardiovascular diseases. The objectives of the first international research chair on cardiometabolic risk are the promotion of research and educational activities focused on prevention, evaluation, and management of patients with abdominal obesity and associated metabolic syndrome components.

 Dr. François Maltais, M.D. Chairholder of the GSK – CIHR Research Chair on Chronic inflammatory diseases of the airways, Director of the Research Group in Respiratory Health, and Assistant Director of Research in pneumology

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is highly prevalent and the burden of this disease is only expected to increase in the coming 15-20 years. Once viewed as a disease limited to the lung, COPD is now recognized as a disease involving various organs. The impairment in lower limb muscle function is one of the most devastating systemic manifestations of COPD. Over the course of his CIHR-funded research program Dr. Maltais’ research group has established the impact of muscle wasting and poor lower limb muscle endurance on survival and functional status in patients with COPD. The research goal is to understand why a significant portion of patients with COPD become susceptible to muscle fatigue or muscle mass loss. Over the long term, he hopes to contribute to therapeutic development in this area, and ultimately, to impact on functional status, quality of life and survival in patients with COPD. The Hôpital Laval Research Centre, with its many researchers and physicians working together for the benefit of patients affected by COPD, makes it a unique and stimulating environment to support the activities of this research chair.

 Dr. André Marette, Ph. D. Chairholder of the Pfizer Canada – CIHR Chair in the Pathogenesis of Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Diseases

Insulin resistance is defined by a reduced action of insulin to induce metabolic effects in target tissues. Whereas it is widely recognized that insulin resistance is a key pathogenic factor in the development of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVD), its etiology remains elusive. It is now well established that obesity-linked diabetes and CVD are chronic inflammatory disorders. The underlying cause of inflammation in these metabolic diseases remains poorly understood. The research program of Dr. Marette’s Research Chair is intended to explore the mechanisms of insulin resistance. He wish to develop an integrative research program that will unravel those mechanisms. The realisation of this program will be achieved through multidisciplinary approaches that will involve several basic and clinical investigators.

 Dr. Philippe Pibarot, DMV, Ph. D. Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair in Valvular Heart Diseases

The number of cardiac valve surgeries, presently about one hundred thousand annually in North America, will likely double by the year 2020. The prostheses presently available for surgery are far from perfect and can cause various complications. Dr. Pibarot sees the task of his research as not only to create new prostheses that perform better, but also to develop a strategy that will make it possible to choose the prosthesis that is most appropriate, taking into account individual patient characteristics.

 Dr. Denis Richard, Ph. D. Chairholder of the Merck Frosst – CIHR Research Chair on Obesity, Director of the Hôpital Laval Research Centre, and Director of the Energy Metabolism Research Centre

In Canada, 20% of the population is considered to be obese, and over 50% is overweight. The cost associated with obesityrelated health problems is estimated at $4.3 billion. The Merck Frosst / CIHR Research Chair on Obesity will concentrate its efforts around two axes: ongoing research on the neuronal and hormonal processes that control and regulate energy balance, and the dissemination of state-of-the-art knowledge in obesity prevention and treatment. The Chair will pursue its educational work and maintain its prestigious annual international symposium, making Québec City a mecca for top scientists working in a variety of obesity-related research areas.

 Dr. Angelo Tremblay, Ph. D. Chairholder of the Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity, Nutrition and Energy Balance

The steady increase in the percentage of obese people is a phenomenon of great concern for society. Dr. Tremblay heads one of the world’s two most productive research groups in the study of obesity predisposition factors. He was the first researcher to show that the positive effect of physical exercise on energy balance was nutrition-dependent. The objectives of his work include: the identification and characterization of factors that can affect energy balance; the development of new tools for measuring energy balance components in the context of daily living; and the creation of new methods for evaluating the metabolic profile of individuals.

Research Groups

Two research groups of the Research Centre are recognized by Université Laval’s council: the Respiratory Health Research Group directed by Dr. François Maltais, respirologist, and the Energy Metabolism Research Centre directed by Dr. Denis Richard, Ph. D.