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The Centre of Excellence in Neuromics of Université de Montréal was created as a result of the University’s decision to further the development of neuroscience research, by integrating knowledge from the numerous disciplines related to the study of the brain and the nervous system, their development and the diseases affecting them. The functioning of the CENUM is based on cooperation and exchange between clinical activities and primary research. Observations made in patients, either through biochemical tests or medical imagery, constitute the basic data that researchers use to identify the molecular mechanisms leading to the disease symptoms. Once these mechanisms have been identified, new intervention strategies can be developed. These new treatments can then benefit the patients who made the research possible. This observation-research-treatment cycle forms the basis of CENUM research activities.


Success factors

Certain key factors are required to ensure that the approach developed by the CENUM is successful. The following success factors were identified: access to large number of patients, access to the leading-edge technologies necessary for carrying out precise observations of symptoms, access to different kinds of expertise, and access to structures that facilitate partnerships.


By virtue of their longstanding tradition of clinical excellence in neurology, genetics, psychiatry, and psychology, the availability of numerous specialized clinics providing services for a vast population and the presence of a critical mass of clinical researchers involved in research on brain diseases, two Montreal-based health care institutions, the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) and the Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine, rapidly became key figures in the creation of the CENUM. By bringing together the expertise of these two institutions with the expertise of neuroscience researchers from the different departments of the Université de Montréal and the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal as well as the expertise of the clinical researchers of the Hôpital Rivière-des-Prairies, the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal, and the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, the CENUM has acquired the key factors necessary for success.


In addition to working with the physicians and researchers of the above-mentioned institutions, the CENUM has formed partnerships with a number of other centers and institutions that share its objectives. Examples include partnerships with the Université de Montréal’s Faculties of Dentistry and Pharmacy, the Institut d’évaluation en santé (IDÉES), the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), and the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal. The collaboration between the CENUM, the researchers at the McGill University and Genome Québec Innovation Centre and the researchers at the Genome Québec / Montreal Heart Institute Pharmacogenomics Centre guarantees its members access to leading-edge technologies.


Uniting all these success factors provides CENUM members with a highly competitive research environment, which is expected to lead to more productive research groups, better-trained researchers and clinicians, and an increase in prestige that will allow the Université de Montréal to recruit the best researchers in the field of neuromics.