Our team

Principal investigators


Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, MD, PhD

Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret is an endocrinologist at the  Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) and at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Director of the Diabetes Clinic and the Metabolic Diseases Research Unit at the IRCM and professor at the Université de Montréal . The primary focus of its type 1 diabetes research program is to reduce the frequency and consequences of hypoglycemia: 1) Test different strategies to prevent exercise-induced hypoglycemia; 2) Test the effectiveness of the external artificial pancreas to control blood glucose; 3) Study the consequences of hypoglycemia on the heart; 4) Evaluate whether hypoglycemia treatment recommendations should be reviewed; 5) Establish a registry of individuals with type 1 diabetes in Quebec and optimize the use of new technologies and therapies to prevent hypoglycemia. His team is also studying ways to increase the duration of the insulin pump catheter. The research group he directs has published more than 300 papers, presented data at over 100 conferences, and supervised 45 graduate students. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2017 Research Award from the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ).

Anne-Sophie Brazeau, RD, PhD

Anne-Sophie Brazeau is an Assistant Professor and Program Director of Dietetic Education and Practice in the School of Human Nutrition in the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at McGill University. She is a registered dietitian and a member of the Ordre Professionnel des Diététistes du Québec (OPDQ) where she is involved in several committees, including the revision of the Clinical Nutrition Textbook. Her research program focuses on strategies to improve health behaviours of individuals with type 1 diabetes to optimize their control of the disease and its complications but also on prevention of type 2 diabetes in at risk populations through health behaviors changes. She was awarded the Prix Engagement 2017 – Lussier Dale Parizeau by l’OPDQ.

André Carpentier, MD

André Carpentier is a physician at the Sherbrooke University Hospital Center (CHUS), Director of the Diabetes, Obesity and Cardiovascular Complications Research Axis at the CHUS Research Center and Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Sherbrooke, Québec. His translational research program aims to promote better management of diabetes and lipid disorders through molecular imaging innovations developed within his laboratory. Dr. Carpentier has published more than 300 abstracts and peer-reviewed papers and 130 peer-reviewed publications. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards and was recently elected a Member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Kaberi Dasgupta, MD, M. Sc.

Kaberi Dasgupta is the Director of the Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). She is a physician scientist who leads a large research program addressing behavioural and social determinants of diabetes prevention and management. She headed the SMARTER trial which demonstrated that physician-delivered step count prescriptions can increase steps and reduce A1C in type 2 diabetes. This was incorporated into the 2018 Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines. Her studies have demonstrated that gestational diabetes and gestational hypertension have individual and additive risks for diabetes not only in mothers but also in fathers. She has conducted novel studies in family based diabetes prevention. She has examined stigma among youth in type 1 diabetes and co-built a virtual network for peer support. Her studies are funded by the CIHR, Diabetes Canada, the Lawson Foundation, the Medavie Foundation, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and was the recipient of the Jacques de Champlain award from the Société québécoise d’hypertension artérielle in 2012 and the Preventive Cardiology Award of Excellence from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Quebec in 2013. She has held the CIHR New Investigator Award and was an FRQS Senior Clinician Scientist.

Claudia Gagnon, MD

Claudia Gagnon is an endocrinologist at the University Hospital of Laval University (CHU de Québec), researcher at the Research Center of the CHU de Québec and at the Research Center of the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec and Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine of Laval University. Dr. Gagnon is also a research associate at the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods at Laval University. Her work focuses on the impact of obesity, diabetes, and other endocrine disorders (and their treatments) on bone health. Dr. Gagnon has received several awards for her research, including the 2017  Research Award of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec (FMSQ), a 2015 Young Researcher Award from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and an award at the International Symposium on Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis, in 2015.

Paul C. Hébert, MD

Paul C. Hébert is Chief Medical Officer at the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Senior Scientist at the CHUM Research Center, and Full Professor in the Department of Medicine at the Université de Montréal . He has published more than 300 articles and editorials, obtained more than $ 63 million in research funding, trained many students, and participated in Pan-Canadian Peer Review Panels (including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement), in addition to receiving numerous awards and honors. He is the recipient of the Chair of Transfusion Medicine and is the Chair of the Canadian Critical Care Research Group. He was a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in June 2010

Mélanie Henderson, MD, PhD

Mélanie Henderson is a pediatric endocrinologist – researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine holding a doctorate in epidemiology from McGill University. Her research interests focus on metabolic health, cardiovascular disease and the etiology of childhood obesity, and their prevention. She is particularly interested in the influence of lifestyle habits (physical activity, sedentary lifestyle, diet, sleep) on metabolic health, in various populations, including healthy children, as well as those with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). She is also co-director of the CIRCUIT center at CHU Sainte-Justine (Pediatric Center for Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation), which proposes innovative strategies for the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular diseases in children.

Laurent Legault, MD

Laurent Legault is an Assistant Professor specializing in endocrinology in the Department of Pediatrics at McGill University and is head of the Diabetes Clinic at Montreal Children Hospital. Dr. Legault is recognized in Canada for his clinical work on children with type 1 diabetes and his pioneering role in the use of insulin pumps in Quebec. He was the first medical director of the Montreal Children’s hospital’s insulin pump centre, a freestanding centre dedicated to the teaching of families and management of children on insulin pump therapy. He was one of the leaders of a government-mandated pilot project on the implementation of a provincial wide government sponsored pediatric insulin pump program. Dr. Legault has been involved in multicenter trials looking at prevention of type 1 diabetes and exercise-based interventions in the field of pediatric obesity and has been involved in the development of an artificial pancreas.

Meranda Nakhla, MD, M.Sc.

Dr. Meranda Nakhla is a Pediatric Endocrinologist, McGill University Assistant Professor and Fonds de recherche en santé du Québec (FRQS) Clinician Scientist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, McGill University Health Centre. She is a health services researcher whose research focuses on healthcare access and use in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. She has expertise in health outcomes using health administrative data and the transition from pediatric to adult diabetes care. The results of her studies aim to identify the healthcare needs of children and youth with diabetes and ultimately help to inform how best to deliver diabetes care, including transition care for emerging adults. She is the recipient of FRQS Chercheur-Boursier Clinicien junior awards and operating grants from FRQS, Diabetes Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Bruce Perkins, MD, MPH

Bruce A Perkins is Professor, Endocrinologist and Diabetes Complications Clinician-Scientist at the University of Toronto appointed to the Faculty of Medicine and to the Institute of Health, Policy, Management and Evaluation. He holds the Sam and Judy Pencer Family Chair in Diabetes Clinical Research. His research work focuses on early biomarkers of diabetes complications, and interventions for prevention of complications, including artificial pancreas technologies and adjunctive-to-insulin therapies. In 2015, he was awarded the Canadian Diabetes Association/CIHR Young Scientist Award for his research. Among other projects funded by the NIH, JDRF, and Diabetes Canada, he leads an Innovations in type 1 Diabetes group within Diabetes Action Canada, a national patient-oriented research strategy.

Cynthia Turcotte, PhD

Cynthia Turcotte holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology specializing in Childhood and Adolescence as well as a Research-Intervention Doctorate specializing in health psychology. From 2007 to 2015, she was a hospital psychologist for adults with chronic physical illnesses. As part of her duties, she and a multidisciplinary team (nutritionist, doctor, nurse, pharmacist) gave group classes to people with diabetes who addressed psychological adjustment to physical illness. She is also a speaker and author. Among other things, she has collaborated on the writing of publications on topics such as diabetes and autism spectrum disorders. Over the years, she has given several lectures on various topics, including psychological adaptation to chronic physical illness and the psychology of children and adolescents.

Research staff

Virginie Messier M.Sc.

Research Coordinator, Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM).
Virginie completed a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences at the Université de Montréal  in 2006. She then completed a master’s degree in nutrition at the Université de Montréal . In 2009, she joined Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret’s research team as a research assistant. Since 2013, Virginie coordinates the research program on the external artificial pancreas of Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret’s laboratory. Since 2015, she has full responsibility for academic research activities in type 1 diabetes.

Amélie Roy-Fleming RD, CDE, M.Sc.

Research Assistant, McGill University
Member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ) since 2007 and Certified Diabetes Educator since 2010, Amélie began her practice as a nutritionist in a First Nations’ community in the James Bay region from 2008 to 2012 where she developed expertise for education in diabetes. She then pursued her career in public health at Diabetes Quebec (from 2012 to 2016) and as a clinician at the Université de Montréal  Nutrition Clinic. Her recent master’s degree in nutrition confirms his interest in type 1 diabetes research.

Sarah Haag, Nurse

Research Assistant, McGill University

Sarah graduated as a nurse clinician in France in 2011 before arriving in Quebec in 2013.
From 2014 to 2018, she worked at the CHUM’s Endocrinology Clinic where she monitored and trained people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. She developed during these four years an expertise and a greater interest in the education and support that surrounds type 1 diabetes.

Meryem Talbo, RD

Research Assistant, McGill University

A registered dietitian and a member of the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ) since 2017, Meryem began her practice as a nutritionist in a variety of settings in Montreal as well as overseas with a penchant for diabetes education. She then furthered her involvement in diabetes teaching and community participation through her work as a co-chair of the Diabetes Canada chapter in Montreal as well as by pursuing different volunteering opportunities with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She then pursued a master’s degree in nutrition to learn and improve on her research skills.

 

Patient-partners


Aude Bandini

Aude was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1991. She teaches at the Université de Montréal . With the team of researchers and patients of the BETTER project, she would like to help people living with type 1 diabetes find simple, effective, safe ways to avoid and overcome hypoglycemia.

 

 

Michel Dostie

Michel Dostie, a type 1 diabetic for nearly 30 years, wants to highlight the importance of a social approach to diabetes and a reflection on its sociological, ethical and political aspects. He would like to contribute to better access to the latest advances in the treatment of type 1 diabetes and to the empowerment of those who must manage this condition.

 

 

Patricia Kearns

Patricia has been living with type 1 diabetes for 35 years. She likes representing the patient’s perspective in health research as she knows how important it is that studies are focused on patients’ real priorities. Patricia is excited to bring her combined experience of living with diabetes and her knowledge of patient oriented research to the BETTER program to help ensure  that relevant research into how new technologies along with educational and social support can assist people with type 1 diabetes to reduce their frightening and exhausting instances of hypoglycemia and live healthier, happier lives! 

 

Fati Merah

Fati has had type 1 diabetes since 2000 and is a massage- and kinesitherapist. She is a very active woman who practices triathlon and running. She also practiced judo at a high level. Through her participation in the BETTER project, Fati hopes to share her life experience with type 1 diabetes and promote research into type 1 diabetes.

 

 

Jacques Pelletier

Jacques has been a type 1 diabetic for about 40 years. As a patient, he has been with the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) for several years and has been involved in many research projects on various aspects of diabetes. In addition, he was a human resources administrator for twenty years in Quebec research institutes. He hopes that his experience as a diabetic patient and his professional experience will be a positive contribution to the success of the BETTER project.

 

Melinda Prévost

Melinda has been living with type 1 diabetes since she was 11 years old. She is studying at Concordia University and playing for the Concordia University Women’s hockey team. Melinda is the head of the peer leaders of the “Virtual Peer Network” where youth with type 1 diabetes can communicate with one another to offer a variety of health and practical tips. Her input as a young woman living with type 1 diabetes will be important for the BETTER program.

 

Monia Rekik

Monia Rekik is the mother of a 6 year old child who has been living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 3. Her child’s blood sugar is very sensitive to physical activity and, most of the time, he is not able to recognize or treat episodes of hypoglycemia. She hopes that her experience as a parent will enable the BETTER project to identify solutions for parents in the same situation to better manage their child’s hypoglycemia and reduce its onset.

 

Sébastien Sasseville

Sébastien was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002 when he was 22 years old. His experience as a patient with type 1 diabetes and his experience as a corporate speaker will allow him to promote participation in the BETTER registry and to participate in the dissemination of the results of this research project.

 

 

Michael Wright

Michael was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16 and has been using an insulin pump since the age of 20. He enjoys running and finds that exercise is crucial in his life. This not only helps him manage his blood sugar, but also keeps him happy. He is passionate about sharing with other young people with diabetes. He is a physiotherapy student at McGill University.

 

Co-investigators and collaborators

Simon Bacon  – Concordia University

Claudia Blais – Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec

Jean-Marie Boutin – Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal

Jean-Pierre Després – Laval University

Katherine Desjardins  – Montreal Clinical Research Institute

Isabel Fortier – McGill University Health Center

Thierry Gaudet Savard – Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec

Antony Karelis – Université du Québec à Montréal

Éric Racine  – Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal

Elham Rahme   – McGill University Health Center

Michael Riddell – York University

Daria O’Reilly – McMaster University

John Weisnagel  CHU de Québec research center

Students


Li Feng Xie, RD, M.Sc.

Nutrition PhD student, McGill University

 

 

 

Nadine Taleb MD, M.Sc.

PhD candidate, Université de Montréal