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The Pillars of IRIC: meet Simon Girard

Published on August 2, 2023

In 2023, IRIC celebrates its 20th anniversary. Among the initiatives put in place to celebrate this anniversary, the series of portraits entitled “The Pillars of IRIC” will highlight the people who have contributed since the very beginning, sometimes in the shadows, to make IRIC what it has become.

Today, meet Simon Girard, Research Officer in Guy Sauvageau’s laboratory.

After completing a Master’s degree at the Institut Armand-Frappier in 1999, Simon Girard joined Guy Sauvageau’s laboratory, then at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal. Simon lived through IRIC’s early days in 2003, with the Sauvageau lab being one of its founding teams!

As Research Officer, Simon Girard performs a wide range of functions in the laboratory. His work involves developing, planning and executing relevant experiments, as well as analyzing, presenting and publishing the results obtained. He is also involved in supervising students and post-docs. Finally, Simon is involved in the laboratory’s administration and maintenance.

Here are the memories to which he has generously given us access:


Do you have a memorable anecdote related to IRIC?

The many Christmas parties, and all that comes with them!


What motivates you to stay at IRIC after all these years?

The quality of the research carried out in our laboratory, the freedom I have in research projects, as well as the quality of the facilities, equipment and services. The platforms we have here and the people who run them are truly extraordinary, in my opinion!


Tell us about an accomplishment that makes you proud of your work at IRIC

My participation in the discovery of the mechanism of action of the UM171 molecule, which multiplies hematopoietic stem cells in vitro. This molecule has now been used more than a hundred times to treat leukemia patients in clinical trials.


Can you tell us about a key figure, a role model, a mentor for you at IRIC?

Obviously, my boss Guy Sauvageau; but also three members of the lab who have given me a lot of help and support over the years. First, Julie Lessard, now a Principal Investigator at IRIC, who was part of our lab when I started. Jana Krosl, who was always very down-to-earth and taught me a lot about my work. Finally, Jalila Chagraoui, who is literally a living scientific encyclopedia and an extraordinary person with whom I’ve had the privilege of working very closely for many years.


From yesterday to today, what has changed the most at the Institute?

The students!

A hobby of the past 20 years:
Best innovation of the past 20 years:
Streaming platforms
Song you were listening to 20 years ago:
Eye of the beholder, Metallica
Happy disappearance of the last 20 years:
CDs and DVDs
A wish for 20 years from now:
The cure for most forms of cancer

Meet all The Pillars of IRIC