Dr. Jacques Genest Sr, a pioneer in biomedical research

As the founder of the IRCM, Dr. Genest was internationally renowned for the quality and impact of his research and discoveries. He is the author of four books and over 700 articles especially on arterial hypertension.

In 1967, Dr. Genest was made a Companion of the Order of Canada, and in 1991 a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and Commander of the Ordre de Montréal. This eminent scientist holds 12 honorary doctorates attesting to his contribution to medical research.

Dr. Jacques Genest Sr. was born in Montreal on May 29, 1919 and passed away on January 5, 2018 at the age of 98.

The origins of the medical and clinical research centre

The Montreal Clinical Research Institute originates from one of Dr. Jacques Genest’s ideas. In 1952, having noted the emergence of research in avant-garde hospitals, Sister Marie-Louise Allard, Director General of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Montréal, makes provisions for research facilities, and offers Dr. Genest to set up a clinical research department within the hospital under his management. He accepts with the following conditions: autonomy, educational freedom and access to patients within the framework of his research.

The Clinical Research Department

In 1955, the Clinical Research Department at the Hôtel-Dieu is, at the time, the only French-Canadian hospital where young physicians can receive recognized clinical training and an introduction to research, as well as contact with patients. In 1958, Jacques Genest is elected Chairman of the Hôtel-Dieu medical council. This recognition from his peers will prove to be of great importance for the future of clinical research.

The creation of the IRCM

On March 4, 1964, the provincial Minister of Health frees up the necessary funding for a clinical research institute. He allocates $1.2 million for construction and for the purchase of equipment and furnishings, as well as $100,000 per year (for eight years) to cover research, administrative and maintenance costs for the future institute.

In 1965, the Centre médical Claude-Bernard becomes the Institut de diagnostic et de recherches cliniques de Montréal. In 1986, the official name changes to the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM). 

In June 1967, the Institute obtained its direct affiliation with Université de Montréal. Under this agreement, IRCM researchers will collaborate in the teaching and research activities of the faculty and may supervise graduate students whose work will lead to university degrees. At the time of the agreement between Université de Montréal and the Institute, André Barbeau (son of the eminent neurologist Antonio Barbeau) set up his neurobiology laboratory at the Institute, surrounded by a research team that already enjoys a solid international reputation.