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Jacques Simard

Canadian Research Chair in Oncogenetics; Professor, Department of Molecular Medicine, Université Laval

Jacques Simard, PhD holds a Canadian Research Chair in Oncogenetics since 2001. He is Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Université Laval’s Faculty of Medicine and is a senior scientist at the CHU de Québec - Université Laval Research Center since 1990. He is also Vice-Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at the Faculty of Medicine of Université Laval.

He is the author of more than 430 publications, review articles and book chapters. His research focuses on the genetic susceptibility of hormone-dependent cancers, including breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Specifically, he participated in the characterization of the impact of mutations in the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2. He has been Director of the Interdisciplinary Health Research International Team on Breast Cancer Susceptibility (INHERIT BRCAs), an international interdisciplinary health research team on genetic susceptibility to breast cancer funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) 2001 -2007, which was renewed in 2008 for five years as the CIHR Team in Familial Risks of Breast Cancer. The establishment of this international team has allowed Dr. Simard to pursue numerous collaborations allowing him to accelerate the development of his oncogenetics research activities. Indeed, his close collaboration with several international consortia, notably the Breast Cancer Consortium Consortium (BCAC) and the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1 and BRCA2 (CIMBA), has led to a significant increase in the validity and the impact of scientific breakthroughs to improve the identification of women at increased risk of developing breast cancer which should benefit most from a better adapted clinical follow-up.

He was also the Lead Investigator, with Professor Bartha Maria Knoppers (co-Lead), of a large-scale interdisciplinary project funded by Génome Québec/Genome Canada/CIHR/Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation (2013-2018) entitled Personalized Risk Stratification for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer (PERSPECTIVE), that brought together 27 co-researchers from Quebec, Ontario, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany. This project was designed to develop the tools needed to implement a risk stratification approach that will target breast cancer screening in women most likely to develop the disease. The outcomes of this project have allowed Dr. Simard to recently obtain a $ 15,217,975 grant as part of the Genome Canada "Large Scale Applied Research Projects" competition - Genomics and Precision Health". This project, entitled Personalized Risk Assessment for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer: Integration and Implementation (PERSPECTIVE I&I), brings together 26 co-investigators from five countries and represents phase II of the PERSPECTIVE project. The overall goal is to improve personalized risk assessment to provide risk-based prevention and early detection of breast cancer, and to determine the optimal implementation approaches in the Canadian health system.

Pr. Simard is also a partner on two large European Commission Horizon 2020 (2015-2020) projects entitled BRIDGES (Breast Cancer Risk after Diagnostic Gene Sequencing) and B-CAST (Breast Cancer Stratification: Understanding the Determinants of Risk and Prognosis of Molecular Subtypes). Briefly, the BRIDGES project aims to develop a targeted prevention program for breast cancer, specifically to promote the health of women with a family history of the disease. In achieving its objectives, the BRIDGES program will improve targeted prevention of breast cancer, primarily in the context of oncogenetic clinics for breast cancer. To that end, Pr. Simard is the Principal Investigator of a grant from the Ministry of the Economy, Science and Innovation ($ 1.5 million) entitled PRÉ3VENTION (Predisposition, Prediction and Prevention of Breast Cancer), to substantially increase the collaboration of his interdisciplinary team with the BRIDGES project in order to validate and increase the impact of the discoveries made under the PERSPECTIVE project.