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The Pillars of IRIC: meet Sandra Weber

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 Sandra Weber, Research Advisor in Marc Therrien’s laboratory at IRIC.

Sandra Weber completed her Master’s degree in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. She then completed several internships before finding a position, in 1995, in Martine Raymond’s laboratory at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM). In 2006, after more than 10 years at IRCM, she moved to IRIC following the relocation of Martine Raymond’s laboratory.

As a Research Advisor in Marc Therrien’s laboratory, Sandra is working on an extremely promising research project aimed at identifying new inhibitors of the RAF proto-oncogene involved in various cancers, and guiding them through clinical development. As part of this work, she feels fortunate to work with a multidisciplinary team from IRIC’s Drug Discovery Unit, as well as in collaboration with the high-throughput screening and genomics platforms.


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

In my opinion, IRIC offers an excellent working environment. We are fortunate to have many internal platforms as well as a solid infrastructure (administrative, IT and equipment), all of which play an important role in advancing our research goals. My colleagues at IRIC are another reason. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know many of them over the years!


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

I’m proud that my work has contributed to the publication of several articles over the years. I’m also proud to be part of this project celebrating IRIC’s twentieth anniversary!


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

I was lucky enough to be supervised by Martine Raymond for over twenty years as a research assistant in her laboratory. I will always be grateful to her for instilling in me an eye for detail, rigorous scientific reasoning and critical thinking.


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

When I arrived at IRIC in 2006, only a few laboratories were occupied. The corridors were pretty quiet, and it felt like we were almost alone in this big new building. Clearly, that’s no longer the case!


A hobby of the last 20 years:
I love to travel and can’t wait to do it again soon!
Best innovation of the last 20 years:
It’s hard to name just one! On the scientific side, I’d say the completion of the human genome project and the development of CRISPR technology. It goes without saying that the development of smartphones and Wi-Fi has had a huge impact on our daily lives.
Song you were listening to 20 years ago:
Beautiful Day, by U2.
Happy disappearance of the last 20 years:
AIDS-related mortality.
A wish for 20 years from now:
That we will be even more successful in our fight against all cancers.