NSERC Grants: Our Imaging and Engineering Researchers Stand Out


Neila Mezghani and Frédéric Leblond, both from the Imaging and Engineering research theme, have received $50,000 in NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC appealed to the country’s natural science and engineering research teams. A total of 177 projects received over $8.8M in funding.

Neila Mezghani received the first grant for her project Analyse de données physiologiques et de mouvement pour le suivi à distance de l’état de santé mentale dans le contexte de la pandémie COVID-19. In collaboration with researchers from TÉLUQ University (Leila El Kamel, Belkacem Chikhaoui, Pier-Olivier Caron and Suzie Bond) and the CHUM Research Centre (Dr. Nicolas Bergeron), Mezghani will develop a mobile application to remotely monitor patients’ mental health status based on their sleep quality and physical activity.

The second grant received by Neila Mezghani will be used to finance the development of a tool that COVID-19 patients at risk of having breathing problems can use at home to monitor their cough. Automatic detection and quantification of the cough will be done through a connected textile that will record movements and physiological data.

For this project, the researcher will be able to count on the expertise of Khadidja Henni (TÉLUQ University), Philippe Dixon (Université de Montréal) and Dr. François Tournoux (CHUM Research Centre).

Frédéric Leblond will benefit from his grant to carry out his project, High-speed and high-throughput label-free, primer-free COVID-19 saliva test using surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. He will collaborate with Michel Meunier, Ludvik Martinu and Jolanta-Ewa Sapieha from Polytechnique Montréal.

Last May, our researcher had already obtained a NRSEC Alliance grant of $900,000 over two years for the research project entitled Intraoperative margin assessment technique for breast conserving surgery using Raman spectroscopy imaging (co-applicants: Samuel Kadoury and Dominique Trudel, CHUM Research Centre; Sarkis Meterissian , MUHC).

Discovery Grants

Regarding this NSERC program, the distinguished work of three other regular Imaging and Engineering theme researchers, as well as Neila Mezghani, have earned them funding for a five-year period. The Discovery Grants Program supports ongoing research programs with long-term research goals rather than a single project or series of short-term projects.

Sophie Lerouge
Modular injectable scaffolds for cell therapy and 3D bioprinting ($55,000 a year)

David Labbe (renewal)
Study and development of immersive multi-sensory systems for avatar embodiment in virtual reality($29,000 a year)

Samuel Kadoury
Prediction of Immunotherapy Response with Geometric Deep Learning in Medical Imaging ($48,000 a year)

Neila Mezghani (renewal)
Classification et interprétation des données multimodales et longitudinales en génie biomédical ($28,000 a year)

Finally, in the context of the Collaborative Health Research Projects managed by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research in partnership with NSERC, Sophie Lerouge and Gilles Soulez will receive up to $564,000 in funding for their projec Optimization and preclinical testing of a sclerosing and embolizing gel for embolization of varicose veins.