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Appointment of two research chairs in optics-photonics: our researchers' leadership recognized

Réal Vallée, Denis Brière, Pierre Marquet, Kirsty Duncan. Crédit photo: Marc Robitaille - Université Laval

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, announced the appointment of two new research chairs in optics-photonics at Université Laval, in the presence of  her colleagues the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, and Joël Lightbound, Member of Parliament for Louis-Hébert, of Mario Pinto, President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Reserch Council, and Denis Brière, Rector of Université Laval. The two new Chairs were awarded to:

  • Pierre Marquet, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics. The Université Laval will receive more than $27 million to support its newest CERC.
  • Réal Vallée, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)’s Coractive-TeraXion-LaserAX-TLCL Industrial Research Chair in Femtosecond Photo-inscribed Photonic Components and Devices.  The Université Laval is receiving $2.3 million in total funding to support the new NSERC Industrial Research Chair in photonics. 

These two appointment confirm the position Université Laval has acquired as a world leader in Optics-Photonics technologies through the work of its researchers.  

“The innovative research conducted by Dr. Pierre Marquet and Dr. Réal Vallée in their respective fields has the potential to provide important economic, scientific and social benefits to Canada. Today’s announcement demonstrates the government’s strong commitment to science and to making Canada the destination of choice for the world’s leading researchers.”

—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

As the CERC in Neurophotonics, Dr. Pierre Marquet, who is a engineering physicist and a psychiatrist, will use optic technologies to discover and identify biomarkers for psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression.  Such biomarkers could be used to determine youths’ susceptibility to developing psychiatric disorders, and lead to the establishment of early interventions, particularly for children, before the disease appears in its disabling forms.“I believe that, if we could detect a serious psychiatric disorder earlier, it is a good bet we would be able to improve the disease’s evolution for the sufferer,” says Marquet.

Mr. Réal Vallée studies and develops technologies using femtosecond lasers, which produce ultrashort and intense bursts that affect materials with minimal damaging thermal effects.  "We affect materials somewhat by surprise, and in a very precise manner, before heat has time to modify it", explains Professor Vallée, from the Department of Physics, Physical Engineering and Optics.  Femtosecond laser sources open the way to new processes for the treatment and processing of materials.  The devices and components developed by the researchers of the Chairs will find uses in diverse areas such as telecommunications, microsurgery and defense.  

These two announcement also highlight the Unesco International year of light.

Learn more about these appointments:

Official Press release by the government of Canada: 

New Canada Excellence Research Chair Aims to Reduce Impact of Mental Disorders on Youth
Renowned researcher, Dr. Pierre Marquet, is working to identify vulnerability biomarkers by using neurophotonics

Pierre Marquet's profile on the CERC website

Réal Vallée's profile on the NSERC Chairs website

Spotlight on Pierre Marquet, on the CERC website

Une nouvelle chaire sur les maladies du cerveau In Le Journal de Québec (in French)

Laval décroche une rare «chaire d'excellence» in Le Soleil (in French)

Un leadership mondial réaffirmé - L'Université Laval obtient 12 M$ du gouvernement fédéral pour ses activités de recherche en optique-photonique, renforçant ainsi le leadership de la région de Québec en ce domaine - In le Fil de l'Université Laval (in French)

Documents from Université Laval:

Chaire de recherche industrielle du CRSNGCorActive-TeraXion-Laserax-TLCL sur les composants et dispositifs photoniques photo-inscrits au laser femtoseconde
Faculté des sciences et de génie

Chaire d'excellence en Recherche du Canada sur la neurophotonique - Faculté de Médecine

L’Université Laval - pôle créateur d’excellence en lumière


Réal Vallée, Kirsty Duncan, Jean-Yves Duclos, Joël Lightbound, Crédit photo : Marc Robitaille, Université LavalB. Mario Pinto, Kirsty Duncan, Jean-Yves Duclos, Edwin Bourget, Réal Vallée. Crédit photo : Marc Robitaille, Université LavalCrédit photo: Marc Robitaille - Université Laval