I was born in Montréal, where I obtained my education in basic sciences. I studied at CEGEP de Rosemont (a junior college in Québec) before undertaking courses in engineering at École Polytechnique de Montréal and in biochemistry at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
ACADEMIC AND RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
My early interest in heart diseases led me to start research in the biochemistry lab of the Montreal Heart Institute, where I pursued graduate studies in a Master’s program in cellular biopathology at Université de Montréal in the Department of Pathology. Under the mentoring of Dr. Bela C. Solymoss, medical pathologist and biochemist, I was soon introduced to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders of cholesterol, lipids, lipoproteins and apolipoproteins, closely related to coronary artery disease. I got the opportunity to work there on several important clinical research projects before beginning PhD studies. I went to Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) to pursue my program in cellular biopathology at the PhD level. I focused my work on characterizing metabolic abnormalities of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in premature coronary artery disease. I characterized the Familial HDL Deficiency in different aspects of biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology.
A Post-Doctoral Fellowship allowed me to further investigate the molecular genetics of Familial HDL Deficiency at the University of British Columbia where I worked for 2 years at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics to characterize the genetics of this lipid disorder. Under the direction of Dr. Michael Hayden, we identified the ABCA1 gene as the molecular cause of Tangier disease, an inherited form of severe Familial HDL Deficiency leading to an increased risk of coronary artery disease. This discovery in 1999 has opened a huge field of study worldwide, with more than 600 publications so far building on this observation, aiming to better understand the metabolism of HDL and investigate new pharmacological approaches to treat low HDL syndromes and reduce cardiovascular risk.
After Post-Doctoral studies, I came back to Montréal where I spent 8 years at the McGill University Health Centre (Royal Victoria Hospital) in the capacity of Research Assistant, then Assistant Professor in a non tenure track position at the Cardiovascular Genetics Laboratory of the Cardiology Division. There, I pursued research on the molecular physiology and genetics of HDL deficiencies using, among others approaches, high-throughput genomic and familial linkage studies. With my team, we characterized the role of acid sphingomyelinase gene (SMPD1) product in Niemann Pick disease associated to severe HDL deficiency and premature atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In 2007, I went to the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) as a Visiting Scholar in the Department of Human Genetics to work on genetics of lipid disorders in the team of Dr. Päivi Pajukanta. In 2008, I went back to the Montreal Heart Institute as a Research Associate in the Atherosclerosis Research Group to bring expertise to study HDL function in animal models.
My interest for proteomic studies and emerging technology led me to join in 2009 the Micro and Nanobioengineering group as a Research Associate with Pr. David Juncker in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at McGill University. My work focuses specifically on the development of ground-breaking high-throughput proteomics platform based on microfluidic technology and a novel antibody microarray format for large scale antibody profiling used for protein biomarker identification and validation in diseases.
Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building, McGill University, 3640 University Street, Room M5, Montréal, QC H3A 2B2
Lab: McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, 740 Dr. Penfield Ave., Room 6500, Montréal, QC H3A 1A4
Phone: 514 398-4400 ext. 09589