Leaders in health research

Who are we?

The Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM) is the largest biomedical and healthcare research centre at Université de Montréal and one of the largest in Canada.

CRCHUM scientific committee

Daniel Kaufmann, Janusz Kaczorowski, Lise Gauvin, Jacques de Guise, Pierrette Gaudreau, Vincent Poitout, Anne-Marie Mes-Masson, Carole Jabet, Alexandre Prat and Paul Hébert. Absent from photo: Sylvie Beaulieu, Michel Roger and Johanne Tremblay.

 

Mission

The CRCHUM improves the health of adults through a high-quality academic research continuum which, by furthering our understanding of etiological and pathogenic mechanisms, fosters the development, implementation and assessment of new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

CRCHUM provides a training environment to ensure the development of new generations of researchers committed to research excellence.

 

Vision

The CRCHUM seeks to attain the highest standards of excellence in the development of new knowledge, in line with the hospital’s mission. As one of the hospital’s department, the CRCHUM seeks to play a major role in improving health care and health promotion. It fosters interdisciplinary exchanges and harmonizes laboratory research collaborations with patients and the population with a view to promoting health.

 

Research at the heart of a university hospital

Our research activities make a direct contribution to the five components of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal’s (CHUM) mission: care, research, teaching, health promotion and assessment of health treatment technology and methods. CRCHUM research priorities are also aligned with the hospital’s five poles of excellence, in Cancer, Neurosciences, Cardiometabolism, Transplantation and Musculoskeletal diseases.

Patient to patient

CRCHUM brings together under one roof a full research continuum: basic, clinical and population health research. Patients’ and the public’s health issues guide our scientific initiatives and mobilize our expertise to provide practical solutions for improving care and preventing disease.

The health issues of our patients inspire various types of studies that form part of a research continuum: understanding pathological mechanisms, studying new treatments, developing diagnostic tools, care practices and health services. The ultimate goal of this research is to meet patients’ needs and use this knowledge to improve care.

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Basic research covers about 60 percent of CRCHUM activities. Almost 80 researchers and 400 students are involved, with recognized expertise in solid cancers, metabolic diseases, immune, infectious and inflammatory processes, as well as neurological diseases. Intersectorial niches are in full development, with additional expertise in the field of imaging and biomedical engineering.
At CRCHUM, clinical research accounted for more than 400 projects in 2015-2016. This research is firmly anchored in CHUM’s clinical focuses. Thus, the CRCHUM is a recognized player for conducting clinical trials in the cancer field, or in neuroscience, to name just two. CRCHUM also stands out for its strong evaluative clinical trials component focused directly on improving patient care at CHUM through thorough analysis of practices.
With almost 30 researchers in the area of population health, CRCHUM provides notable leadership to influence changes in clinical practices based on newly generated evidence. These changes centre on access to care and methods for managing chronic diseases, with active patient involvement, or disease prevention programs for various pathologies (cancer, infections, chronic diseases).
Reflecting an essential need to accelerate conversion of a discovery into a rapid, practical application to benefit patients and the population, translational research is a major component of biomedical research. For this reason, CRCHUM has placed this sector at the very centre of its mission and supports its development through adapted infrastructure close to patients, and through research programs that specifically target deployment of a continuum “from patient to laboratory to patient.”

 

Translational research applied to prostate cancer

Several research projects conducted at CRCHUM illustrate the strength of this research continuum. For example, a CRCHUM multidisciplinary team is seeking to improve diagnosis and prediction of the progress of prostate cancer. In basic research, engineer and physicist Frédéric Leblond is developing an optical probe for enhanced viewing of cancer cells using Raman spectroscopy. This technology uses light diffused through tumour samples to give pathologists and oncologists valuable information about the stage and severity of cancer. Drs. Dominique Trudel and Fred Saad will pilot this clinical study designed to improve diagnosis and accurate forecasting of prostate cancer growth. Following this, epidemiologist Marie-Hélène Mayrand will plan the analyses used to validate application of the relevant data to populations of patients with cancer.

“It is a major challenge to have researchers in basic biology and clinicians, who are faced each day with the problems of diagnosis or treatment, work together for the good of all. And to advance in diagnosis and treatment, both communities of researchers and physicians must be able to support each other. It is difficult but crucial to find new drugs and new diagnostic processes. Otherwise, no progress in medicine is possible. Translational medicine is the future.”

Pierre Corvol, professor emeritus at the Collège de France and chair of the CRCHUM international advisory committee

7 research priorities

Key positioning on a global scale

CRCHUM focuses its research priorities on seven sectors of excellence, linked with the hospital’s activities. These research focuses are structured in a matrix to promote multidisciplinary exchanges.

Scientific core facilities

Our research activities are supported by about 10 scientific platforms on the cutting edge of technology. These platforms provide specialized service to CRCHUM researchers as well as those working in other academic settings and in industry. They form the core of the innovative approaches developed by CRCHUM researchers.

Achievements

CRCHUM is outstanding! This is the rating awarded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), the provincial agency that funds our research infrastructure, in its latest assessment in April 2016. This endorsement is the culmination of our drive for excellence. Following are CRCHUM’s primary achievements in the year between April 2015 and March 2016.

April 2015

Twelve researchers received a salary award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS).

Runners and donors raised more than $100,000 for research at the sixth edition of the Défi CRCHUM, an athletic event organized with the CHUM Foundation.

Dr. Daniel Kaufmann became one of the few Canadians to sit on the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation.

May 2015

An international advisory committee visited CRCHUM and advised management to ensure its positioning on the world health research stage.

Dr. Julie Bruneau was named to head the Quebec-Maritimes component of a new intervention research pole in addiction in Canada.

July 2015

A large grant was awarded to Marc Prentki for research on diabetes.

Naglaa Shoukry was name head of a new national hepatitis C network.

September 2015

Dr. Fabrice Brunet was appointed new President & CEO of CHUM and CHU Sainte-Justine, as part of amalgamation of the two institutions by the Government of Quebec.

Dr. Vincent Poitout, who had headed CRCHUM on an acting basis since June 2014, was officially appointed CHUM Director of Research and Scientific Director of CRCHUM.

Population health researcher Lise Gauvin was appointed to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, one of the highest distinctions granted scientists in Canada.

October 2015

The Grand Labo du CRCHUM, a philanthropic gala showcasing the research centre and its researchers, raised $407,000.

Robert J. Lefkowitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, gave an honorary lecture as part of the CRCHUM 6th scientific day. Dr. Fabrice Brunet, CHUM CEO, bestowed him with the title of honorary research fellow.

60 posted presentations by CRCHUM students, interns and residents also contributed to the scientific day.

November 2015

The Royal Society of Canada inducted Dr. Alexandre Prat into the Collège of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, an honour marking his contribution to the advancement of research on multiple sclerosis.

Video: english version

CHUM researcher, nephrologist and transplant surgeon Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert was named Vice-president (Research, Discovery, Creation and Innovation) at Université de Montréal.

A large grant was awarded to researcher Christine Vande Velde to conduct research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

January 2016

FRQS assessment committee members toured CRCHUM. At the end of this assessment conducted every four years, CRCHUM obtained the “outstanding” rating for the quality of its facilities and research activities. This is the third time that CRCHUM has obtained this endorsement.

Dr. Paul Hébert became the holder of the Héma-Québec – Bayer Foundation Chair in Transfusional Medicine at Université de Montréal.

February 2016

Researchers Paul Hébert, Karl Fernandes and Andrès Finzi won a CRCHUM Award for Research Excellence.

A vast clinical study was launched on prescription opioid dependency, piloted by Dr. Didier Jutras-Aswad. This is a pathfinder project under the Canadian Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Initiative, created earlier in the year and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

March 2016

Researchers Manon Choinière and Antoine Boivin joined a new research network on prevention and treatment of chronic pain.