The Research Professionals Excellence Awards

The Research Professionals Excellence Competition is awarded by each Fonds, and aims to recognize the contribution of research professionals to research, knowledge mobilization, training for new generations of researchers or supporting groups of researchers in all areas covered by the three Fonds de recherche du Québec.

1st prize: Pascale Chevallier, CHU de Québec-Université Laval

Pascale Chevallier, a research professional at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Centre, holds a PhD in polymer chemistry. She is the head of an advanced platform for the modification and characterization of material surfaces that encourages a transdisciplinary approach to improve the clinical performance of biomaterials and cardiac, vascular, dental, orthopaedic and, more recently, neurological implants.

An active member of the Canada Research Chair in Biomaterials and Bioengineering for Innovation in Surgery team, she is also an essential resource for the researchers at two research centres recognized by Université Laval and the FRQ: the Research Centre for Advanced Materials (CERMA) and the Quebec Centre for Advanced Materials (CQMF).

Since 2006, she has been a daily reference for more than 150 student researchers from 40 different countries, more than 25 of whom are now professors. Involved in 60 projects in collaboration with research teams from the five continents, Pascale has co-authored 135 scientific articles and 3 patents. She has also contributed to the development of several medical devices and antibacterial products.

Pascale is highly involved in the life of the laboratory, the development and writing of grant applications, the implementation and management of industrial research contracts, and the writing of scientific publications. Her interpersonal skills also enable her to manage the day-to-day activities of collaborative industrial and university projects at the international level.

2nd prize: Denis Sarrazin, Université Laval

Denis Sarrazin has been working at the Centre for Northern Studies (CEN) for over 20 years. After completing a master's degree in geographical sciences, he was hired to maintain and develop the Sila and Qaujisarvik networks. He has set up more than 90 automated environmental data acquisition stations for the Sila network and continues to manage this network, from logistics planning and component manufacture to deployment, programming, and data retrieval. Today the Sila network is the largest environmental monitoring network in the circumpolar north, placing Québec at the forefront of northern research in Canada and around the world.

His work takes him to hostile, isolated environments with a high level of risk. Each year, he spends 4 to 5 months in the field, travelling through northeastern North America, covering more than 4,200 km of latitude. He has the privilege of supporting, collaborating with and guiding research teams, both local and international, in a variety of capacities including organizing their mission, advising them on data acquisition protocols, ensuring different aspects of their safety, and helping supervise their students.

3rd prize: Serge Bisaillon, Université de Montréal

Serge Bisaillon began his career as a research professional at CIRRELT 23 years ago, with a multidisciplinary academic background that allowed him to develop effective decision support systems adapted to the needs of the many industry and public sector partners involved in CIRRELT's research projects.
About one third of his time is spent sharing his knowledge with students through supervision, assistance with the implementation of their projects, and training adapted to their needs.  He has also brought his expertise as a supervisor, modeler, developer and liaison officer to major projects on rail, road and air transportation, insurance coverage and, more recently, assigning internships to students from Université de Montréal's Faculty of Medicine. As part of this project, he developed an innovative algorithm to solve a mathematical problem with more than 1 million constraints, reducing the resolution time by more than 80%.
In 2009, he was part of the team that won the international ROADEF challenge on airline disruption management (organized by the French Society of Operations Research). The original algorithm he developed allowed his team to provide solutions to extremely complex problems within the short time allowed.

1st prize: Nathalie Turgeon, Université Laval

Nathalie Turgeon earned a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and pursued her graduate studies (master and doctorate) at Université Laval under the supervision of Professor Sylvain Moineau. Since joining the bioaerosols research laboratory at Université Laval in 2004, she has worked with Professor Caroline Duchaine and established a new research niche within her team: in vitro aerosols. Over the past eight years, Nathalie has contributed to the design and development of seven new aerosolization chambers with a range of partners. She has also created practical training sessions on the topic for collaborators and ground-breaking models of virus transmission via aerosols.

Since 2017, she has worked with members of the research unit of the Québec Heart and Lung Institute and its animal facilities to implement an axenic animal platform that has become a point of pride for the centre.

Nathalie Turgeon also actively contributes to knowledge transfer and training activities by welcoming and supporting graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate interns in the laboratory.

2nd prize: Cindy Grant, Université Laval

Cindy Grant graduated in oceanography and have acquired 17 years' research experience in benthic communities—the organisms that live on the ocean floor. She had the opportunity to work in arctic and tropical waters and the local St. Lawrence system.

In addition to conducting research projects and supporting students, Ms Grant also had the honour of coordinating the Notre Golf project: an intersectoral innovation network on the socioecological environment of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Highly aware of the importance of knowledge communication and transfer, she was involved in organizing a number of scientific communication events, including science bars, seminars and facilitation activities and co-planned the fourth edition of the World Conference on Marine Biodiversity, a major symposium held in Montréal in May 2018.

3rd prize: Olivier Gauron, Université de Sherbrooke

Olivier Gauron has worked as a research professional in the Centre de recherche en génie parasismique et en dynamique des structures (CRGP) at Université de Sherbrooke since 2009 and is a member of the Canada Research Chair in Earthquake Engineering led by Professor Patrick Paultre. He holds a master's degree in mechanical engineering from École Centrale de Lyon (France, 2005) and a master's degree in civil earthquake engineering from Université de Sherbrooke (2009).

In the past decade, Olivier has applied his expertise in mechanical and civil engineering to develop several of the CRGP's major projects, including the use of elastomer materials in civil structures (dampers and insulators) and the establishment of a platform for the remote monitoring of Québec's bridges. His expertise in experimental methods and equipment was critical to the activities of the major structures laboratory at Université de Sherbrooke.

Since 2009, he has coordinated the Centre d'études interuniversitaires des structures sous charges extrêmes (CEISCE)—a strategic cluster of the FRQNT that brings together 29 researchers—and contributed to two rounds of renewed funding. Olivier Gauron helped secure 17 sources of research funding for the CRGP (over $5M) from national programs over the last ten years. Also focused on knowledge dissemination, he organizes the CEISCE's annual scientific symposiums and is currently among the main organizers of the 12th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering (Québec, June 2019).

1st prize: Martine Lizotte, Université Laval

Martine Lizotte has worked as a research professional in the Department of Biology at Université Laval since 2010. She earned a PhD in oceanography and specializes in the dynamics of dimethyl sulfide—a gas released by marine microorganisms that helps regulate the planet's climate.

Martine is a member of the Canada Research Chair on Ocean Biochemistry and Climate held by Prof. Maurice Levasseur. She is also the coordinator of Beacons of Northern Dynamics (BOND), a Sentinel North project that merges photonics, chemistry, limnology and oceanography to monitor climate-active gases in the Arctic, a guest member of the UN expert group focused on the impacts of ocean acidification on marine gas flows, vice-president of international relations of APECS and co-chair of a review group for the IPCC's Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. She is also a member of a number of scientific networks, including ArcticNet, NETCARE, Québec-Océan, Sentinel North, SOLAS and Takuvik, and gained sea mission expertise on 17 research cruises during which she spent a total of 19 months at sea.

Martine plays an active role in mentoring graduate students, undertaking joint projects to examine the impacts of climate change on the living biota at the interfaces of the hydrosphere, cryosphere and atmosphere.

2nd prize: Sandra Helena Messaddeq, Université Laval

Sandra Helena Messaddeq joined the Centre d'optique, photonique et laser (COPL) in 2011 as a research professional on the Canada Excellence Research Chair team.
She holds a PhD in materials engineering and has developed unique expertise in the physical chemistry of glass. Indeed, her skills and expertise in photonic materials—and more specifically their interactions with light—strengthen the research group. At her urging, the COPL acquired new installations that increased the centre's research capacity and substantially enhanced the training environment for students. She has implemented three world-class research infrastructures: the thin film deposition for mid infrared laboratory, the Raman spectroscopy laboratory and the sol-gel deposition laboratory. These unique facilities enable the group to meet the needs of our graduate students, as well as those expressed by our industrial partners, more efficiently.

Sandra Helena's contributions in the field of photonics have led to the development of innovative new materials with very specific properties.  

3rd prize: Dominic Létourneau, Université de Sherbrooke

Since 2001, Dominic Létourneau has worked as a research professional in the IntRoLab laboratory led by Prof. François Michaud. While earning his masters, Dominic developed a passion for artificial intelligence, embedded systems and robotics technologies. He brings a different perspective to the development and dissemination of research results by making certain projects available through open source licenses. The open source model has provided him with international visibility, initiating significant opportunities to collaborate with organizations in a range of technology sectors.

Dominic is recognized for his versatility and contributes to research project development and planning, technical implementation and knowledge dissemination. He has acquired expertise in integrated design for interdisciplinary robotics and fast prototyping for functional systems. His holistic vision enables him to recommend innovative avenues to overcome research challenges. 

His passion for his work extends beyond the academic setting: he shares his knowledge with those around him, creating an interest in science in a whole new generation.

1er prix : Philippe Marier, Consortium de recherche FORAC, Université Laval

Philippe Marier est professionnel de recherche avec le consortium de recherche FORAC de l'Université Laval depuis plus de 14 ans. Il est un des très rares scientifiques canadiens qui maîtrisent les sciences de l'administration, du génie industriel et en grande partie du génie forestier, et qui puisse développer des systèmes d'aide à la décision et des modèles d'optimisation en misant sur ses connaissances de la recherche opérationnelle et des sciences informatiques. M. Marier est lui-même à l'origine de contributions scientifiques majeures (28 publications avec comités de lecture).

Ses travaux de recherche portent sur le développement de techniques algorithmiques issue de l'intelligence artificielle, d'approches basés sur les agents et de modèles mathématiques novateurs pour résoudre des problèmes de planification et d'aide à la décision très complexes impliquant des millions de variables de décision. Il est actuellement en première ligne relativement au transfert vers l'industrie de trois technologies développées par FORAC et faisant l'objet de déclarations d'inventions pour lesquels il est identifié par l'Université Laval comme l'un des inventeurs.

Philippe Marier est également l'un des principaux acteurs dans le développement du premier modèle de gestion intégrée des ventes et de la production pour le secteur du sciage. Il a aussi travaillé à rendre accessible un modèle pour la planification du chargement de paquets de bois dans les wagons. L'outil, disponible sur Internet, a été adopté par de nombreuses entreprises de l'industrie des produits forestiers.

2e prix : Joannie Ferland, Chaire d'excellence en recherche du Canada sur la télédétection de la nouvelle frontière arctique du Canada, Université Laval

Joannie Ferland est professionnelle de recherche au sein de la Chaire d'excellence en recherche du Canada du professeur Marcel Babin et membre de l'Unité Mixte Internationale Takuvik CNRS-Université Laval depuis 2011. Sa carrière a débuté à l'Institut des sciences de la mer en 2005.

Elle surveille les écosystèmes planctoniques arctiques dans le cadre d'études qui visent à améliorer notre compréhension des effets des changements climatiques. Elle a participé à 12 missions océanographiques pan-arctiques. Elle participe directement à l'avancement des connaissances par le biais de collecte d'échantillons, enseignement des techniques, conseils scientifiques, analyse de données et révision d'articles. Son rôle de chef de mission au camp de glace du projet Green Edge (2015-2016) au Nunavut est sans doute sa plus grande réalisation. Elle a coordonné les opérations logistiques et scientifiques de près de 100 scientifiques provenant de laboratoires français, canadiens et américains. Le projet a été un succès tant scientifique que pour l'intégration avec la communauté inuit de Qikiqtarjuaq.

Joannie a à cœur la valorisation des connaissances. Elle a ainsi participé à plusieurs conférences internationales, évènements grand public, documentaires et capsules éducatives. Elle a aussi contribué à plusieurs programmes éducatifs lors de missions en mer ainsi que co-organisé plusieurs bars des sciences.

3e prix : Christian Sarra-Bournet, Institut quantique, Université de Sherbrooke

Christian Sarra-Bournet possède des doctorats en génie des matériaux de l'Université Laval et en génie électrique de l'Université Toulouse III. De 2010 à 2011, il a fait partie du comité de direction des installations nationales australiennes de microfabrication.                        

Depuis son retour au Québec en 2012, Christian Sarra-Bournet a coordonné la rédaction et la réalisation de demandes de subventions majeures. Notamment, il a été un des architectes du projet De la science quantique aux technologies quantiques. Ce projet ambitieux fut un des cinq retenus au Canada au concours inaugural du Fonds d'excellence en recherche Apogée Canada en 2015 et représente la plus importante subvention de recherche jamais obtenue dans l'histoire de l'Université de Sherbrooke.

Depuis, Christian Sarra-Bournet est responsable de la gestion et la coordination de l'Institut quantique, regroupant plus de 25 chercheurs de renommée internationale. Il contribue de façon significative au développement de la recherche et de la formation en sciences et technologies quantiques afin de propulser l'Université de Sherbrooke et le Québec comme leader mondial pour accélérer la prochaine révolution quantique.

Denise Tremblay, professionnelle de recherche au Laboratoire du professeur Sylvain Moineau, Département de biochimie, de microbiologie et de bio-informatique et Groupe de recherche en écologie buccale, Université Laval

Denise Tremblay travaille dans le laboratoire du Professeur Sylvain Moineau, un chercheur de réputation internationale, depuis le tout début de ses activités à l'Université Laval en 1996. Ses réalisations professionnelles sont remarquables : 33 publications et 37 affiches ou présentations dans des congrès locaux, nationaux ou internationaux. La très grande majorité de ses articles scientifiques ont été publiés dans des revues ayant des facteurs d'impacts supérieurs à 3,5.

Depuis le début de sa carrière, Denise Tremblay a supervisé plus de 80 étudiants au baccalauréat, à la maîtrise, au doctorat et stagiaires postdoctoraux, et plusieurs étudiants internationaux pour des stages de quelques semaines à plusieurs mois.

Depuis 2003, elle gère les activités quotidiennes de la collection de bactériophages (phages) de l'Université Laval, soit le Centre de référence pour virus bactériens Félix d'Hérelle ( Experte pour l'observation des phages en microscopie électronique, elle est régulièrement sollicitée par des entreprises et des chercheurs pour son expertise. En effet, Denise Tremblay collabore avec différents laboratoires, incluant la réalisation de nombreux contrats de service et de recherche. Au fil des années, plusieurs laboratoires ont eu recours à ses services de spécialiste sur les phages.

Sa contribution ne s'arrête pas là. Elle donne régulièrement des formations techniques sur les phages pour des étudiants, des professeurs et même des chercheurs de laboratoires privés. A l'occasion, elle accompagne des jeunes de niveau secondaire ou Cégep à réaliser des projets sur les phages dans le cadre des Expo-Sciences. On a pu l'entendre il y a quelques années à l'émission Les Année Lumières sur la chaîne de Radio-Canada.