McGill Urology: A Culture of Research
The McGill Division of Urology Celebrated its 25th Annual Research Day
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Research has been an integral part of the Urology Division at McGill University for over 45 years. It was understood early on that a successful academic program required the presence of full-time scientists integrated with clinicians. In the 1980’s, under the leadership of Dr. Mostafa Elhilali, the division of Urology recruited its first basic scientist, Dr. Claude Gagnon and together developed a culture of investigation that is pervasive until today. Several scientists were recruited throughout the years (Drs. Orest Blaschuk, Teruko Taketo, Simone Chevalier, Mario Chevrette) as well as surgeon scientists (Drs. Michel Bazinet, Howard Winfield, Jacques Corcos, Gerald Brock, Armen Aprikian, Simon Tanguay, Serge Carrier, Denise Arsenault, Maurice Anidjar, Armand Zini, Peter Chan) establishing an integrated model of basic scientist/clinician scientist in the division eventually leading to international recognition. A research section was established within the division, directed by Dr. Claude Gagnon and the very first Annual McGill Urology Research Day was held in 1990.
In 2004, Dr. Armen Aprikian became the new Head of the Urology Division and named Dr. Simone Chevalier as Director of Urology Research. Since then, the culture of research has continued to thrive across the entire division. New scientists were recruited (Drs. Jacques Lapointe, Cristian O’Flaherty, Axel Thomson, Alice Dragomir) as well as surgeon scientists (Drs. Wassim Kassouf, Sero Andonian, Lysanne Campeau and Chief of Urology at the JGH, Dr. Franck Bladou). The Division of Urology currently has one of the largest contingents of full-time primary appointed basic scientists (N=7) in a surgical division across the country. In addition, several of the surgeon scientists in the faculty either have completed or continue to be FRSQ scientists (Drs. Aprikian, Tanguay, Kassouf, Chan, Andonian, Campeau). Finally, the true measure of research success is based on academic output, and the Division is quite proud of its achievements over the past 5 years with over 300 peer-reviewed publications and over $10 million in research funding.
Since 1990, the Division has hosted an annual research gathering allowing graduate students, fellows, research associates, assistants and residents to present their research endeavors. Wednesday, September 16, 2015 was quite special as it marked the 25th Anniversary of this longest running Urology research day across Canada. To commemorate the event, this year’s research day was held at the new MUHC Research Institute auditorium. Drs. Aprikian, Chevalier and O'Flaherty, with the assistance of Ms. Lina Ordonselli and Ms. Chrysoula Makris, organized the event and welcomed over 100 attendees with 32 scientific presentations. Dr. Willam Nelson, Chairman, Department of Johns Hopkins University Oncology and Direct of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center was the invited guest speaker and delivered an eloquent lecture on “The molecular pathogenesis of human prostate cancer” & "Prostate cancer epigenetics reaches the clinic". The event concluded with cocktails and a fully attended banquet dinner.
Currently, urologic research at McGill covers all the important areas with an emphasis on clinical and fundamental integration. The areas include Oncology (Drs. Chevalier, Lapointe, Blaschuk, Dragomir, Thomson, Aprikian, Tanguay, Kassouf, Anidjar, Taguchi, and Elhilali), minimally invasive surgical innovation and education (Elhilali, Carrier, Anidjar, and Andonian), Male Reproductive Biology and Sexual Function (Taketo, O’Flaherty, Carrier, Zini, and Chan), Voiding dysfunction (Elhilali, Corcos and Campeau), Pediatric Urology (El-Sherbiny, Capolicchio, Brzezinski and Jednak). Finally, the division has established a clinical trial program under the current leadership of Dr. Tanguay to conduct investigator-initiated, cooperative group and industry-sponsored trials. With numerous graduate students and fellows studying across the teaching hospitals, the Division is vibrant with research activity.
McGill Urology is very fortunate in that it has a rich past and a bright future. Following the examples set by our senior faculty members (Drs. Elhilali, Morehouse, Taguchi, Reid, Laplante) coupled with the high scientific energy of our new recruits, McGill Urology is on the path for even greater achievements.