Michel Chrétien, FRS, MD, OC, OQ, CLH
Senior Scientist Emeritis, Ottawa Health Research Institute; Co-founder, ICAV
Michel Chrétien received his medical degree from the University of Montréal in 1960. This was followed by his post-graduate studies at McGill and Harvard Universities (Peter Bent Brigham Hospital) at the University of California in Berkeley and UCSF. He spent a sabbatical year at the Salk Institute and at Cambridge University (UK). He returned to Canada in 1967 to the Clinical Research Institute of Montréal (IRCM). From 1984 to 1994, he was Scientific Director of the Institute. From January 1998 to April 2001, he was Scientific Director of the Loeb Health Research Institute at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. In 2005 he founded the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology.
Michel Chrétien is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, of the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Michel Chrétien has received five Honoris Causa: in 1980 from the Université de Liège in Belgium; in 1992 from the Université René Descartes in Paris; in 1996 from the Laurentian University in Sudbury; in 1999 from the University of Guelph; and in May 2000 from Memorial University in Newfoundland.
In 2004, Président Chirac named him Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Française. He is Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences. He is Officer of the Order of Canada (1986) and of the l’Ordre national du Québec (1994).
In Canada, he received the Izaak-Walton-Killam Memorial Prize (1995), the Henry Friesen Award (1999) of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Medal of Honour (1999) given by Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies, the Actualité Médicale Medal of Scientific Merit (2000) and the Archambault Medal (1978) from the Association canadienne française pour l’avancement des sciences (ACFAS). The Royal Society of Canada honoured him with its McLaughlin Medal (1993), the Canadian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (CSBMB) with its Boehringer-Mannheim Award (1993), and the Manning Foundation (Calgary) with its Award of Distinction (1995). In the United States, he was the Fuller Albright lecturer (1992) of the Peripatetic Club and the Metzger lecturer of the American Clinical and Climatological Association (1990). Throughout his distinguished career, he was member of many scientific societies, committees and boards including the UNESCO International Scientific Advisory Committee, the Medical Research Council of Canada and the Ontario Science and Innovation Council.
Trained as a physician, Michel Chrétien made many of his scientific contributions in basic science. In 1967, he proposed the pro-hormone theory. In 1976, he discovered human β-endorphin. In 1990, his group identified the proprotein convertases, enzymes that are involved in a number of debilitating conditions including: hypercholesterolemia, cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and viral disorders like SARS, influenza, HIV/AIDS and Chronic fatigue syndrome. His research is expected to produce novel approaches not only to diagnose and treat these illnesses but to prevent them. He has presented hundreds of lectures around the world. To date, he has published more than 575 scientific articles.