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The Pillars of IRIC: meet Mélanie Fréchette

Published on December 1, 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 Mélanie Fréchette, Animal Health Technician in Guy Sauvageau’s laboratory.

Mélanie Fréchette studied medical laboratory techniques, then animal health at the Cégep de Saint-Hyacinthe. In 2002, she was hired by Guy Sauvageau’s laboratory, then at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM). Mélanie Fréchette thus lived through the move of the laboratory and the colony of murine models from the IRCM to temporary installations in the main pavilion of the Université de Montréal, and then to the IRIC when its construction was completed. Following in Guy Sauvageau’s laboratory path, Mélanie Fréchette joined IRIC.

Mélanie’s job is to manage the reproduction of the colony of murine models, according to the needs of the Sauvageau laboratory, and to carry out experiments (surgeries, injections, sampling and treatments) while ensuring animal welfare.


Do you have a memorable anecdote related to IRIC?

During the move to IRIC, a full rack of cages fell into the transport truck! What a catastrophe! A stressful event for everyone!


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

Firstly because of our wonderful team, the general atmosphere at IRIC and in the lab, but also because I love working with murine models!


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

I’m very proud to have been involved in all the in vivo experiments leading to the discovery of the UM171 molecule, which enables hematopoietic stem cells to multiply in vitro. Knowing that our work is now saving lives is really rewarding!


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

Clearly my boss, Guy Sauvageau, who gave me my chance in this research profession 21 years ago! A great man who is a model of determination and perseverance!


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

We can no longer work without a computer! When it comes to managing our colony, Vivarium software has made my life a lot easier. It has saved me a lot of time compared with the Excel spreadsheets I used to use.

A hobby of the last 20 years:
Best innovation of the last 20 years:
Song you were listening to 20 years ago:
It’s my life, by Bon Jovi
Happy disappearance of the last 20 years:
Floppy disks
A wish for 20 years from now:
May the renovation of the Louis-Hippolyte - La Fontaine Bridge-Tunnel be completed!