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The College of Montreal stands out within the Prix du Québec


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Marie-Thérèse Chicha, Michel Gauthier, Bertrand Routy, Michel Chrétien, Charles Richard-Hamelin and Alain Saulnier receive a prize. Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo is a finalist for the Relève scientifique prize.

The list of winners of the Prix du Québec 2022 has been unveiled. Among them are five professors and one researcher from the University of Montreal. Marie-Thérèse Chicha, Michel Gauthier, Bertrand Routy and Michel Chrétien receive a science prize, while Alain Saulnier and Charles Richard-Hamelin receive a culture prize. Professor Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo is one of the finalists for the Relève scientifique prize.

Since 1977, the Prix du Québec has been awarded to individuals whose careers have had a significant impact on the scientific and cultural spheres. This award, the highest awarded by the provincial government, comes with a $3,000-$30,000 stipend, as well as a silver medal and calligraphic parchment.

Marie-Thérèse Chicha is the winner of the Marie-Andrée-Bertrand Prize

Marie Therese Chicha

Marie Therese Chicha

Credit: Quebec Prices | Eric Labonte

The Marie-Andrée-Bertrand Prize went to Marie-Thérèse Chicha, full professor at the School of Industrial Relations. An economist by training, she played a pivotal role in transforming the lives of women in Quebec and elsewhere. Originally from Egypt, she is aware of the socio-economic inequalities faced by women in her country. Consequently, she will dedicate her career to addressing the inequalities that members of historically disadvantaged groups experience in the labor market. She will publish the book in 1989 Systemic Discrimination: Principles and Methodology of Equal Employment Programs during his tenure at the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse du Québec. The researcher’s interdisciplinary approach, which takes perspectives from economics, law, sociology and human resources, has made the book a reference in the field.

She is internationally recognized and has been invited to participate in several committees and research groups that have had a major impact on the labor market. In 1995, she chaired the Advisory Committee on the Quebec government’s proactive Equal Pay Act. In 2001 she also participated in the task force responsible for developing a new legislative approach to equal pay in Canada. She has also been appointed as an expert for the International Labor Office, a specialized agency of the UN. She worked on the application of the Convention on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women for Equal Work and then wrote the Guide Promote pay equity through gender-neutral job evaluation, published in 2009. His current work leads him to examine the regional dimension of immigration in the context of labor shortages and demographic decline in specific regions and to be interested in the deskilling of immigrants and its consequences.

Michel Chrétien receives the Armand Frappier Prize

Michael Christian

Michael Christian

Credit: Quebec Prices | Eric Labonte

Michel Chrétien, professor emeritus at the Faculty of Medicine, received the Armand Frappier Prize. The work of this world-renowned neuroendocrinologist will revolutionize the study of multiple diseases. As early as 1967 he formulated the theory of prohormones and wanted the body to produce substances from precursors. In 1976 he discovered endorphins. The resulting endoproteolysis process would have major implications for research related to various diseases, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

As a pioneer in his field, he made it his mission to promote scientific research. At the Montreal Clinical Research Institute, he set up the first protein chemistry laboratory in Quebec and established the Department of Molecular Neuroendocrinology. During his tenure as director from 1984 to 1994, the institution experienced significant growth in academic productivity and gained national and international prominence. Throughout his career he has also worked to defend public funding for research and freedom of education.

A prolific author, he remains interested in many subjects today. His work in recent years has focused on COVID-19, atherosclerosis and cholesterol. He recently discovered a genetic mutation in four Quebec families that would protect against cardiovascular and liver disease.

Michel Gauthier wins the Lionel Boulet Prize

Michael Gauthier

Michael Gauthier

Credit: Quebec Prices | Eric Labonte

The Lionel Boulet Prize was awarded to visiting researcher from the Department of Chemistry Michel Gauthier. A key figure in lithium battery research, he played an important role in acquiring Quebec’s lithium battery expertise. During his time at the Hydro-Québec Research Institute, he designed various strategies to meet the need for chemical storage of electrical energy. He was particularly involved in the polymer electrolyte battery project and is the source of 36 of the 108 patent families the company holds for this technology.

As an innovator, he founded the company Phostech Lithium in 2001, with which he wants to build the first iron phosphate production plant in the world. A scientific advisor since leaving Hydro-Québec, he strongly believes in the idea of ​​using intellectual property to stimulate economic development. Together with his son, he is now founding a company that will focus on a new process for manufacturing iron phosphate as a battery material.

Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo is a finalist for the Emerging Scientist Award

Julie Hlavacek Larrondo

Julie Hlavacek Larrondo

Photo credit: Amélie Philibert | University of Montreal

Associate Professor of the Department of Physics Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo is one of the two finalists for the Relève scientifique prize. After 2019, this is the second nomination for the researcher.

Julie Hlavacek-Larrondo specializes in the study of supermassive black holes and their role in galaxy formation and evolution. During her career, which began at UdeM in 2013, she has had the opportunity to use some of the largest telescopes in the world, including the Very Large Array, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble as well as those of the Gemini Observatory. The data obtained allowed her to publish several articles that had a significant impact on her discipline, including that on the supermassive black hole M87. The researcher is also at the origin of the first collected image of a black hole.

As Director of the Canadian Astronomical Society, she has held the Canada Research Chair in Observational Black Hole Astrophysics since 2014. Her work has received several awards. During her studies at Stanford University in the United States, she was notably an Einstein postdoc. In 2018 she joined the Royal Society of Canada and became a Fellow of the College of New Scholars and Creators in Art and Science.

She firmly believes in the place of women in traditionally male fields and is co-founder of Parité Sciences, which aims to increase female enrollment in university programs in computer science, mathematics and physics.

Bertrand Routy is the winner of the Relève scientifique prize

Bertrand Routy

Bertrand Routy

Credit: Quebec Prices | Eric Labonte

The New Scientist Prize was awarded to Bertrand Routy, Associate Clinical Professor in the School of Medicine. As a specialist in hemato-oncology, he is interested in the microbiome and its influence on the effectiveness of immunotherapies in cancer treatment. His published scientific work to date has earned him over 12,000 citations and has made him a rising star in his field.

As director of the laboratory for immunotherapy and oncomicrobiome at the Center de recherche du Center hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, he is working to elucidate different bacteria in the digestive tract, half of which are still unknown. He and his team recently isolated four of these gut bacteria, including one he discovered and named Alistipes montrealensis, as a tribute to the metropolis in which he works.

The researcher is also investigating the possibility of altering the microbiome of patients to help them fight cancer. The remedies under consideration range from stool transplants to tablets that would dissolve in the small intestine to probiotics and prebiotics.

Charles Richard-Hamelin receives the Denise Pelletier Prize

Charles Richard Hamelin

Charles Richard Hamelin

Credit: Quebec Prices | Eric Labonte

The Faculty of Music’s visiting professor, Charles Richard-Hamelin, received the Denise Pelletier Prize. Despite his young age, this world-renowned pianist has a well-stocked track record. Since 2014 he has given more than 400 concerts. As well as touring abroad, including five in Japan, he has taken part in several major festivals such as the Prague Spring Festival and the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest.

His work has led him to collaborate with several renowned conductors. As a soloist he has joined about fifty musical ensembles and has performed with numerous symphony orchestras in Canada and other countries. A specialist in Frédéric Chopin, he dedicated the majority of the 10 albums he released to the Polish composer.

He received several honors during his career. In 2015 he won the silver medal at the Frédéric Chopin International Piano Competition and the Krystian Zimerman Prize for the best interpretation of a sonata. A year earlier he received second prize at the Montreal International Music Competition and third prize at the Seoul International Music Competition. In 2017 he was appointed Companion of the Order of Arts and Letters of Quebec.

Alain Saulnier wins the Guy Mauffette Prize

Alain Saulnier

Alain Saulnier

Credit: Quebec Prices | Eric Labonte

Alain Saulnier, Visiting Professor at the Communications Department, is the recipient of the Guy Mauffette Prize. He is a flagship of Quebec journalism and has more than 40 years of media practice. He was a journalist, producer and news service manager for Radio-Canada, where he helped establish Crown Corporation’s prominence in investigative journalism and international journalism.

A recognized leader, he served as President of the Quebec Journalists Association from 1992 to 1997. From 2003 to 2006 he was also chairman of the information commission of the French-speaking public radio stations, then he chaired the information commission of the French-speaking television community. As a board member of Culture Montréal, he was appointed co-chair of the Montreal Digital Commission, whose goal was to transform the city into one of the world’s leading digital arts and creativity companies.

Throughout his career he has advocated for journalism, the public’s right to information and freedom of the press. He was committed to training the next generation of journalists and was involved in the development of the UdeM’s specialized graduate diploma in journalism. He then served as executive producer on the program Earth, known today as stop on the world Produced by the University of Montreal’s Center for International Studies and Research.

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