Dr. Clémence Belleannée, Ph.D., is a researcher at the CHU Research Centre of Quebec-Laval University and Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproduction since 2014. After obtaining her doctorate at the Université François Rabelais de Tours in France, Dr. Belleannée completed two postdoctoral fellowships, one at Laval University and the other at Harvard Medical School / Massachussets General Hospital, where she received the 2009 Epithelial Transport Group Young Investigator award. Two of her publications have received a special mention from the Faculty of 1000 (F1000), for their application in Andrology.

Nowadays, one in ten couples face fertility problems, half of which are associated with male factors. The work done by Dr. Belleannée’s team focuses on the study of biological mechanisms that are at the origin of male infertility. This work aims to improve diagnosis and develop new therapeutic tools in the face of this major public health issue.

1- Decoding the intercellular signals that govern spermatic maturation

The epididymis is a long and unique tubule of the male reproductive system whose dysfunction causes problems in male fertility. During their transit in this organ, testicular spermatozoa will acquire their motility and capacity to recognize and fertilize an oocyte. In humans, this maturation process lasts 4 to 6 days, depending on the somatic cells of the epididymal epithelium. With these cells communicating in a well orchestrated manner, Dr. Belleannée’s laboratory studies the intercellular mechanisms governing spermatic maturation, in which the extracellular vesicles and their molecular cargo (microRNA) play a mediating role. NSERC Grant.

2- Identify the dynamics of epigenetic marks during sperm maturation

Since the first baby born through in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 1978, breakthroughs in assisted reproduction techniques have allowed infertile couples to access effective treatments. However, how these techniques relate to one another– more specifically intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) -, the epigenetic profile of male gametes, as well as the development and health of offspring, is still questioned. Our goal is to 1) define the epigenetic signature of spermatozoa collected at different stages of maturation (testicular vs. epididymal vs. ejaculated spermatozoa) and used in different contexts of infertility treatment, and 2) to evaluate, from murine models, the influence of this signature on the development of offspring. Our long-term goal is to develop strategies, in collaboration with fertility clinics, to limit the risks associated with techniques that are commonly used in fertility clinics. Sick Kids Foundation / CIHR Grant.

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Bernet A, Bastien A, Soulet D, Jerczynski O, Roy C, Bianchi Rodrigues Alves M, Lecours C, Tremblay ME, Bailey JL, Robert C, Belleannee C

Cell-lineage specificity of primary cilia during postnatal epididymal development.

Journal Article

Hum Reprod, 2018, ISSN: 0268-1161.

Abstract | Links:

Sullivan R, Belleannée C

Role of the epididymis in sperm maturation

Book Chapter

CJ, De Jonge; CLR, Barratt; R, Yanagimachi (Ed.): The sperm cell, pp. 73-87, West Nyack, Cambridge University Press, 2017, ISBN: 9781107126329 (print) / 9781316411124 1316411125 (ebook).

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D'Amours O, Frenette G, Caron P, Belleannee C, Guillemette C, Sullivan R

Evidences of Biological Functions of Biliverdin Reductase A in the Bovine Epididymis.

Journal Article

J Cell Physiol, 231 (5), pp. 1077-89, 2016, ISSN: 0021-9541.

Abstract | Links:

Boilard E, Belleannee C

(Dicer)phering roles of microRNA in platelets.

Journal Article

Blood, 127 (14), pp. 1733-4, 2016, ISSN: 0006-4971.

Abstract | Links:

Sharma U, Conine CC, Shea JM, Boskovic A, Derr AG, Bing XY, Belleannee C, Kucukural A, Serra RW, Sun F, Song L, Carone BR, Ricci EP, Li XZ, Fauquier L, Moore MJ, Sullivan R, Mello CC, Garber M, Rando OJ

Biogenesis and function of tRNA fragments during sperm maturation and fertilization in mammals.

Journal Article

Science, 351 (6271), pp. 391-396, 2016, ISSN: 0036-8075.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Centre de recherche en reproduction, développement et santé intergénérationnelle, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1996-06-01 to 2021-04-30
  • Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Subvention, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - Université Laval, Centres de recherche affiliés, from 2017-01-01 to 2099-12-31
  • Communication extracellulaire dans les systèmes reproducteurs mâles et femelles., Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Chercheur-boursier Juniors 1 et 2, Seniors, from 2016-07-01 to 2020-06-30
  • Communication extracellulaire dans les systèmes reproducteurs mâles et femelles., Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Établissement de jeunes chercheurs - Juniors 1, from 2016-07-01 to 2019-06-30
  • Deciphering extracellular microRNA communication system., Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2015-04-01 to 2020-03-31
  • Impact of the sperm epigenome on the progeny outcome born by assisted reproductive technology, Subvention, Sick Kids Foundation (The), New Investigator Research Grants, from 2016-07-01 to 2019-06-30
  • Réseau Québécois en Reproduction (RQR), Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Nature et technologies, Regroupements stratégiques, from 2017-04-01 to 2023-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • Assessment of biomarkers for the non-invasive diagnosis of male infertility, Partenariat, MITACS Inc., Accélération Québec (MITACS/MEIE), from 2017-05-01 to 2017-12-31
  • Cross-species combination of cohort and intervention studies to assess common metabolic factors related to infertility and the use of functional lipids for its treatment, Subvention, Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, Programme bilatéral de recherche collaborative Québec-Flandre, from 2016-01-01 to 2017-03-31
  • Fluidic and hypoxia-controlled imaging system, Partenariat, Fondation Canadienne pour l'innovation (La), Fonds des leaders John-R.-Evans (FLJR), from 2016-03-01 to 2017-08-31
  • Soutien facultaire aux jeunes professeurs de la Faculté de médecine., Subvention, Université Laval - démarrage nouveau chercheur, Soutien facultaire aux jeunes chercheurs de la Faculté de médecine, from 2014-08-01 to 2016-07-31
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery