The Centre de Recherche en Rhumatologie et Immunologie (CRRI) is a multidisciplinary research group including basic science investigators and clinicians, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and research assistants and technicians. The objectives of the CRRI are to promote basic, clinical and applied research as well as training in the broad area of immunology.
The research interests of the CRRI’s investigators lie in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of the inflammatory reaction in host defence mechanisms, as well as in pathological states, such as arthritis, asthma and other inflammatory diseases, and in infectious diseases. These efforts are undertaken with the perspective of developing novel therapeutic approaches for the treatment of inflammatory and infectious diseases.
The beginning of the study of immunology at Laval University can be traced back to the arrival in 1970 of Dr. Fritz Daguillard who joined Dr. Guy Pelletier at the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université Laval. The progressive development of a research component to complement the clinical aspect of immunology at the CHUL led to formation of our present group. A dynamic scientific milieu became available to students who included among them the first member of the present-day Centre de recherche en rhumatologie et immunologie (CRRI), Dr. Raynald Roy, who was introduced to immunology in 1974. Under the enlightened guidance of Dr. Daguillard, Dr. Roy was incited to complete his training in the immunology of transplantation and Dr. Jacques Hébert his training in allergology, thereby expanding the scientific expertise of the group. Dr. André Beaulieu, just back from his post-doctoral fellowship, added a rheumatology angle to the laboratory of immunology. Dr. François Marceau, a pharmacologist and expert of peptidic mediators of the inflammatory reaction, was recruited to further widen the perspectives of the group. In the meantime, a scientific collaboration had developed with Dr. Pierre Borgeat whose studies had contributed to the discovery of leukotrienes. Drs. Patrice Poubelle and Paul Naccache officially joined the research group in 1985 and 1986, respectively. The Unité de recherche en rhumatologie et immunologie (later called the CRRI) was founded when Dr. Pierre Borgeat joined the group later in 1986. Its members at the time included Drs. André Beaulieu, Pierre Borgeat, Jacques Hébert, François Marceau, Paul Naccache, Guy Pelletier, Patrice Poubelle and Raynald Roy. Since the inception of the CRRI, the neutrophil already represented the target cell of several of the studies carried out by members of the group, be they on bioactive lipids, protein synthesis or signaling. Several recruitments initiated at the instigation of some of the senior members of the group helped increase the critical mass of the researchers of the group. These included Drs. Shaun R. McColl in 1989 (molecular biology of inflammation), Walid Mourad in 1990, Reem El-Daccak in 1994 (cellular immunology), Sylvain Bourgoin in 1992 (signaling), Jean Gosselin in 1994 and Louis Flamand in 1997 (virology), and Marc Surette in 1996 and Marc Pouliot in 1999 ((biochemistry). Four recent additions to the group recently helped consolidate this scientific team most notably in molecular biology (Jean Sévigny (2001), Patrick Provost and Maria Fernandes (2002)) and immunology (Fawzi Aoudjit (2001)). The CRRI thus presently represents a multidisciplinary team comprised of 12 independent researchers. The mission of our department is to investigate the fundamental mechanisms underlying host defenses, and more specifically the inflammatory reaction that is associated with innate and acquired immunity in humans as exemplified in various pathologies, as well as on the potential pharmacological manipulations of these responses.