History of the research center

A dynamic evolution towards innovation


Dr. Fernand Labrie founded the Centre de Recherche en Endocrinologie Moléculaire (Molecular Endocrinology Research Center) (LREM) in 1969. The Research Center was first interested in the neuroendocrine mechanisms of hypothalamic hormones that control the secretion of the anterior pituitary hormones. The goal of these studies was to understand the fine regulation of the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axes. Many investigators throughout the world were working on neuroendocrinology because this new discipline made it possible to identify the structures and mechanisms of action of the first hypothalamic hormones. This research has shown how the central nervous system controls most biological functions such as reproduction, fertility, growth, metabolism of glucose and lipids, pregnancy, lactation and brain function. Dr. Labrie’s team then described the hypothalamic hormone receptors in the anterior pituitary and the mechanisms of action and roles of sex steroids in the specific modulation of pituitary hormone secretion.

On the cutting-edge of science in endocrinology and neuroimmunoendocrinology

Through the years and under Dr. Labrie’s dynamic supervision, many investigators joined the team and helped diversify the laboratory’s scientific theme and remain on the cutting-edge of endocrinology. In 1973, the CREMO became the first official research center of the Medical Research Council of Canada in endocrinology which was very productive during the next 30 years .This program ended in 2003. Part of the research program was increasingly directed towards hormone-dependent cancers and hormone-sensitive diseases. Accordingly, the LREM became the Centre de recherche en endocrinologie moléculaire et oncologique (CREMO) (Oncology and Molecular Endocrinology Research Center) in 2002. Recent findings on molecular mechanisms and on the innate immune response in the brain as well as the importance of this response in neuroprotection and neurodegeneration and in the identification of immune cells and inflammatory signal pathways by Dr. Serge Rivest’s and Dr. Jean-Pierre Julien’s research groups are all very significant scientific progress. This research group has proven to be Laval University’s most productive research center. Thus, among the 10 investigators at Laval University who were the most cited in the international literature from 1979 to June 2006, 4 were members of the CREMO.

Since then, in order to remain at the cutting-edge of science, the members of the CREMO turned part of their research efforts towards genomics and the CREMO became in 2009 the CREMOGH or Centre de recherche en endocrinologie moléculaire et oncologique et génomique humaine (Oncology, Molecular Endocrinology and Human Genomics Research Center). This transformation is proof of the dynamic quality, power of development and adaptability of the members of the CREMOGH, always striving to be on the forefront of science and technology.

To remain on the cutting-edge of science in their areas of expertise, the members of the CREMO directed their research projects towards genomics, creating the Laval University Genomics Center, thanks to a major grant from the CFI with Dr. Fernand Labrie as Principal Investigator.

The evolution of the CHUL/CHUQ Research Center has been closely linked to the development of the CREMOGH and its members who were the main artisans of these developments under the direction of Dr. Fernand Labrie who was Director of both the LREM (CREMO) and the CHUL Research Center (CRCHUL). There was an initial expansion in 1972 followed by 2700 sq metres in 1979, 4400 sq metres in 1987 and 12 000 sq metres in 1996 in order to accommodate the constantly increasing number of investigators joining the CREMOGH and other units of the CHUL research center. The members of the CREMOGH were recently awarded a $35M grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) in order to set up the Centre de génomique fonctionnelle de l’Université Laval(Laval University Functional Genomics Center). This grant makes it possible to increase the CRCHUL’s surface by almost 50%. Added to this grant is a $7.5M allocation for proteomics and genomics equipment. These new laboratories were significantly supported by a $20.4M grant for genomics, proteomics and computer science from Génome Canada and Génome Québec for the ''ATLAS of Genomic Profiles of Steroid Action'' on which a large number of CREMOGH members are working with Dr. Fernand Labrie as Principal Investigator. The latest acquisitions and realisations are the reasons for adding genomics as the new research discipline and for transforming CREMO into CREMOGH which today counts 39 senior members, 3 of which are international partners from France, Finland and Germany.