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Professor Jean-Pierre Perreault, Ph.D.

Professor Jean-Pierre Perreault, Ph.D.
Researcher in molecular biology
Vice-dean of research and graduated studies of the Faculty of Medecine and Health Sciences of the University of Sherbrooke

Native of Laval, Jean-Pierre Perreault completed his B.Sc (1986), Master's Degree (1988) and Ph.D. (1990) in biochemistry at the University of Montreal. Under the supervision of Pr Robert J. Cedergren, he has contributed to the synthesis of the first RNA and mixed RNA/DNA polymers. He also developed the use of these new molecules as tools in molecular biology for the study of structure/function relationships of RNA molecules, which are the results of genes, as well as their use in pharmaceutical development. This cutting-edge work allowed Pr Perreault to receive the «Prix d'Excellence de l'Académie des Grands Montréala» for the best biomedical thesis in 1991. Subsequently he completed a postdoctoral training at Yale University from 1990 to 1993, under the supervision of Pr Sidney Altman, Nobel laureate for the discovery of catalytic RNAs. At Yale, Pr Perreault worked on the characterization of the RNase P, an enzyme essential of life.

Pr Perreault is a full time professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the Faculty of Medecine and health Sciences of the University of Sherbrooke since 1993. He was promoted to his tenure in 2002 and became Chairman of the department in 2004. He ran the Master's and Ph.D. programs from 1995-2000 as well as the biochemistry undergraduate program since 2004. Pr Perreault has developed one of the first web-based class. This course is now offered by several universities in the country. Pr Perreault is well-known for the quality of his supervision which allowed the Department of Biochemistry to graduate yet more than ten Ph.D students.

His research has led Pr Perreault to develop a group interested in understanding how RNA molecules fold in order to adopt active structures able to assume different biological activities. He is a molecular biologist expert of the RNA enzymology and the study of the smallest pathogens ever discovered, namely the viroids. Pr Perreault is the founder of the «Infectious Disease group» of the Clinical Research Center Etienne-Lebel of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke. He holds the Canada Research Chair in genomics and catalytic RNA since 2005 and is very active in the development by molecular engineering of applications associated to his lab fundamental discoveries. Pr Perreault was the first director of the RNA Biology Research Center from 1999 to 2009 and one of the founding members of the RiboClub, a Canadian association of researchers interested by the study of RNA.

Finally, Pr Perreault is the president of the Canadian Society of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology where he is acting as Board member since several years. The Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Natural Sciences Engineering Research Council of Canada are the principal sources of funding of his research program.

In November 2009, Pr Perreault was nominated Associate Dean of Development of the Faculty of medicine and health sciences. More recently, in September 2010, he became vice-dean of research and graduated studies of the same faculty.