Research themes

The CRCHUM is Quebec's only hospital-based research centre that incorporates the entire research continuum: basic research, clinical research and population health research.


Theme leader:
Réjean Lapointe, Ph.D.

+ Publications of the researchers

This multidisciplinary theme brings together clinicians, basic researchers and epidemiologists. Its current activities are grouped into six sub-themes.

Treatment and chemoprevention

This sub-theme, plays a front line role through the development of new treatments and chemotherapies targeting many different tumoural sites (breast, ovaries, prostate, bladder, lungs, skin and kidneys).

Genetic and environmental risk factors

Several research groups have consolidated their efforts to study genetic risk factors (genes implicated in genetic instability) and environmental (influence of lipid, retinoic acid and iron metabolism) for the development of breast, ovary, prostate and lung cancers.

Growth, apoptosis and angiogenesis

Using cell culture and animal models, researchers study the signalling pathways involved in regulating cell growth and death and the migration and invasion of tumoural and endothelial cells.

Biology of tumoral cells

Using DNA chips and tissues, several teams directly dissect the biology of tumoural cells through comprehensive screening and testing the expression of genes imvolved in tumour development and progression.


Identification of new immunological targets in melanomas and hormone-dependent cancers, especially in breast cancer.

Molecular medicine

Identification of new early molecular diagnosis and prognosis markers with genomics and proteomics technologies.


Theme leader:
Thierry Alquier, Ph.D.

+ Publications of the researchers

Metabolic diseases, including obesity and diabetes, are major risk factors for the development of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, and are the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in Western countries. The research components of this multidisciplinary axis focus on 4 complementary themes, (1) pathophysiology of hypertension, diabetes and obesity, (2) cardio-renal and endocrine disorders, (3) neuronal metabolism and (4) phenome, genome and metabolome.

Hypertension, diabetes and obesity

  • Etiology of atherosclerosis, pre-eclampsia and hypertension, environmental and genetic risk factors, hormonal signaling and oxidative stress.
  • Function and plasticity (proliferation and cell death) of insulin secreting pancreatic beta cells and metabolic signaling pathways in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes.
  • Neural circuits and metabolic signals controlling energy balance (body weight and appetite) and carbohydrate homeostasis and their involvement in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
  • Adipose tissue development and function, insulin signaling pathways and pathophysiology of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Cardio-renal and endocrine disorders

  • Angiogenesis, stem cells and vascular and cardiac remodeling in ischemia.
  • Renal function and development of renal failure (nephropathy) during diabetes.
  • Growth factors involved in thyroid and adrenal cell proliferation and cancer development.
  • Pituitary and somatotropic function in aging

Neuronal metabolism

  • Impact of nutrition, macronutrients and obesity on motivated behaviors and mood disorders.
  • Metabolic signaling in neuronal cells, neuroinflammation and obesity
  • Glia-neuron communication in the central nervous system and energy homeostasis

Phenome, genome and metabolome

  • Animal modeling (dietary, transgenic, loss of genetic function) and behavioral, metabolic and cardiovascular phenotyping.
  • Identification of therapeutic targets and genetic and metabolic biomarkers (genomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics) for the detection and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases.


Imaging and engineering

Theme leader:
Jacques A. de Guise, ing., Ph.D.

+ Publications of the researchers

This page is under development.


Theme leader:
Nathalie Grandvaux

+ Publications of the researchers

The overarching goal of the Immunopathology theme is to enhance translational research in areas affecting the host defence mechanisms: in particular, inflammatory responses induced by bodily injuries like infection, allergic and autoimmune conditions, burns, transplantation and inflammatory disorders of the hepatic and gastro-intestinal system. The theme's research interests are made up of the following sub-themes.

Infectious diseases

Studies of the various aspects of viral infections including innate immunity, adaptive immunity and their immuno-pathological effects, Research foci include sexually-transmitted infections and blood-borne infections, namely, HIV and hepatitis C and B as well as respiratory Syncytial virus, a major cause of respiratory infections in children and the elderly.

Allergy and autoimmunity

Exploration of the basic inflammatory and immunological mechanisms involved in various allergic and autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis using a variety of in vitro systems and in vivo animal models. In addition, translational research involving direct analysis of immune responses in affected patients is being performed in collaboration with other CRCHUM research themes. Burns and their sequelae: exploration of the factors that promote tissue regeneration after burns or injury. Researchers focus on the roles played by stress hormones, oxidative stress and dietary lipids in the immune suppression of T lymphocytes that occurs after burns. In particular, there is an emphasis on plastic surgery and novel techniques to improve tissue perfusion and regeneration following injury.

Transplantation and tissue injury

Focusses on understanding the immunological and inflammatory mechanisms modulating the integrity of the organ to be transplanted and implicated in organ rejection. The researchers in this group have developed innovative approaches to conserving and better predicting the function of organs to be transplanted and to reducing immunogenicity. The links between tissue injury, cell death and the acceleration of alloresponse by auto-immune phenomena are actively studied. These researchers conduct research programs in bioethics focused on notions of justice in approaches to organ donation and transplantation. Several of these projects are developed in association with the Canadian National Transplant Research Program.


Exploration of the pathophysiology of hepatic diseases and their treatment through cutting-edge research methods into place. This group also plays an important role within the CHUM as a tertiary reference centre as part of its clinical research activities. The group has developed a translational research approach to study the immunopathology of viral hepatitis, liver cancer, metabolic disease and neurological complication of hepatic disorders, the treatment of hepatic diseases and liver transplantation. The group is also involved in various clinical trials and vaccine initiatives aimed at developing new therapies and vaccines for viral hepatitis.


Studies of digestive motoricity and more particularly the action of ghrelin in humans. Research is also conducted in the fields of viscerosensitivity and functional digestive disorders, with a view to providing a better understanding of pain through the use of cerebral magnetic resonance imaging. The group has developed a new line of research on inflammatory intestinal diseases like inflammatory bowl disease and probiotics.

Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub

Theme leader:
Lise Gauvin, Ph.D.

Deputy head:
Janusz Kaczorowski, M.A., Ph.D.

+ Publications of the researchers

This theme reflects the determination to make CHUM a learning, teaching and communicating hospital. It fosters solutions issues involving care or the organization of care, through research activities.

The Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub (Carrefour de l'Innovation et de l'Évaluation en Santé - CIES) relies on the thoroughness, critical approach and creativity of scientific studies to develop innovative responses to health issues observed in practice. Whether an assumption originates from a care team, medical team or any other authority seeking to rely on the unique strength of the CIES, the community of scientists, clinicians and managers working within the Carrefour strives to gain a better understanding of a situation, convert data from evidence into innovations applicable in care settings, and assess the impact.

The CIES strives for more effective and efficient care by applying the scientific process to innovation in the healthcare field. It fosters alignment between the clinical, research, teaching and management components. It helps tear down silos and enables all authorities interacting with patients to work together in the search for lasting, proven solutions adapted to the public's needs.

The CIES current activities are grouped around the following sub-themes:

  • Professional Practice Improvement / Disease Prevention / Health Promotion
  • Transformation of Healthcare Systems / Health Services / Programs & Public Policies
  • Epidemiology / Risk Factors / Evaluation / Pragmatic Trials & Implementation Science / Quantitative & Qualitative Methods / Knowledge Transfer & Exchange

What is CIES?

The CIES is a unique, effective, and agile forum that brings together researchers, clinicians, managers, patients, and students. The scientific method is used to transform professional practice in the health professions, healthcare, and public health as well as to foster the integration of innovations by mobilizing the expertise of all members. CIES members address issues encountered by professionals throughout the healthcare system, by supporting patient-centred research, and knowledge transfer and exchange focused on action. CIES members also strive to be on the cutting edge of methodologies in patient-centred research.

What is the mission of the CIES?

The CIES mission is to contribute to the continued improvement of healthcare, services, programs, and policies by participating in the creation of an environment favourable to the development of patient-centred research projects, supporting evaluation of innovations for optimized treatments and prevention, and facilitating data analysis and knowledge generation to support continued learning.

What are CIES objectives?

  • Mobilize the research and clinical communities, industry, patients, policy makers, and practitioners to transform and improve professional practices through stimulating scientific activity.
  • Provide specialized expertise with innovative approaches to support projects for improving and transforming patient-centred care and services.
  • Provide training and supervision.

What are the main foci at the CIES?

  1.  Sustainably integrating scientific knowledge and activities into all departments at the CHUM, in order to:
     - Share issues identified in clinical practice and the organization of care;
     - Share recognized expertise;
     - Promote promising projects;
     - Foster knowledge transfer and exchange.

  2. Supporting projects originating from communities of practice, in order to:
    - Increase success by improving the design of research projects, providing consultations in biostatistics and research methods, establishing databases, discussing contemporary patient-centred research issues;
    - Expedite the transfer of scientific knowledge to users and patients.

  3. Developing methodological approaches for conducting patient-centred research and promoting knowledge transfer and exchange, in close cooperation with CHUM's Teaching Directorate, the Académie du CHUM, and CHUM's Evaluation of Technologies and Intervention Modalities Unit

What support and collaboration opportunities does the CIES offer?


  1. Scientific activities
    • Emerging Protocols
      Monthly activity designed to provide researchers feedback on research protocols in progress
    • Mastering Methods
      Activity under development designed to make new and emerging methodologies known and promote sound use of frequently used methods
    • Ideas Incubator
      Exchange activities designed to identify clinical and management questions and issues that might become the focus of research projects
    • Cultivating a Learning Healthcare System at the CHUM
      Knowledge exchange and transfer activities to foster dissemination of knowledge acquired produce through scientific research to improve the quality of care, programs, and policies
  2. Methodological Support and Consultation
    • Access to expertise available from CIES members and qualified staff
      Rapid validation of an idea and orientation towards the most appropriate methodological approach
    • Facilitation of collaboration between research teams and support staff
      Inclusion of support staff on the project team to provide required methodological backing
    • Ad hoc support in the form of services
      The current areas of expertise are:
      • Design and implementation of studies;
      • Biostatistics;
      • Clinical and evaluation studies in a real-world contexts;
      • Research partnerships with patients and the public.
  3. Initiation of a Seed Funding Program to support ?Patient-centred Research Project?
    • Seed funding of up to $35,000 for projects designed to improve clinical or management practices by generating and analyzing evidence to respond to a relevant applied research question.
  4. Implementation of knowledge transfer and exchange in partnership with the CHUM Teaching Directorate and the Académie du CHUM
    • Develop knowledge transfer and exchange tools ? Coming Soon
    • Development of teaching materials to facilitate implementation of innovative interventions that were either developed or evaluated ? Coming Soon

 How can I take part in the CIES?

  1. By leading a project requiring the expertise and support of the CIES team
  2. By becoming a member of the CIES (researchers, clinicians, managers)

Contact Lise Gauvin, Director, Carrefour de l'innovation et de l'évaluation en santé:
514 890-8000 ext. 31441



Theme leader:
Nathalie Arbour, Ph.D.

+ Publications of the researchers

The mission of the Neuroscience research axis is to elucidate the biological, environmental and social mechanisms of neurological diseases and to develop novel and innovative therapies to prevent, treat or cure them. The research activities are grouped into five themes, incorporating clinical, basic and translational research.

Neurodegeneration and neurorepair

Researchers of the neurodegeneration and neurorepair theme are devoted to understanding the biological mechanisms that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, dementia, glaucoma, Huntington's disease, and movement disorders. In addition, some teams investigate therapeutic options such as neural stem cells, pharmacological approaches and gene therapy to promote neuronal survival and facilitate neural tissue repair; while others are dedicated to the development of high-throughput screening tools based on simple animal models (zebrafish and the worm C. elegans). This latter approach permits the rapid identification of potential therapies for neurodegenerative diseases and lay the groundwork for subsequent human testing.


The clinical and basic research activities of the neuroimmunology theme are primarily focused on multiple sclerosis. Our teams investigate the interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system in the context of this neuroinflammatory disease. Using multiple cutting-edge technological approaches, our groups strive to uncover pathobiological mechanisms that contribute to and drive the development and evolution of multiple sclerosis with the goal to identify new therapeutic targets. The clinical teams participate in numerous clinical trials and in the development of improved diagnostic and prognostic tools (aging, cognition, etc.) for multiple sclerosis patients.


Researchers of the epilepsy theme aspire to identify genetic causes of epilepsy and define their impact through the use of in vitro, ex vivo and transgenic in vivo models. In addition, innovative approaches are developed to improve the evaluation and treatment of pharmacoresistent forms of epilepsy. This group develops and evaluates novel techniques to detect, localize and monitor epileptiform activities (MRI, magnetoencephalography, functional MRI combined with EEG, near infrared spectroscopy, intracerebral EEG).


The neurovascular (stroke) theme investigates diagnostic tools, epidemiology and imaging of stroke and evaluates novel stroke treatments. Research is concentrated on haemorrhagic strokes and cerebral vasculitis. Based on the well-recognized expertise and the impressive volume of clinical activities, the clinical team is uniquely positioned to provide state-of-the-art training in stroke care to other groups in Quebec and throughout Canada.

Addiction and mental health

Researchers of the addiction and mental health theme investigate different types of substance misuse and their associated psychiatric and physical comorbidities. Clinical studies are aimed at developing innovative treatments for these conditions and at identifying behavioural risk factors and new targets for future interventions. The CHUM is one of four main nodes of the CIHR's Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse.

Continuum rechercheResearch priorities