Dr. Jean-Yves Masson is a researcher at the CHU of Quebec-Laval University Research Centre, Oncology axis, and Full Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Pathology at Laval University’s School of Medicine. He joined the CHU of Quebec following a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Stephen West a world specialist in DNA double-strand break repair by homologous recombination. Since then, he has received numerous awards, including the prestigious title of FRQS National Researcher award, and has published over 125 articles in leading scientific journals, including Nature, Nature Communications, and Molecular Cell. He is holding a FRQS Research Chair until June 2020. In parallel with his research activities, Dr. Masson was acting as fundamental research representative on the planning and coordination committee of the Cancer Research Centre/Oncology Axis in 2011 and was member of the executive committee of the Oncology axis in 2012. He also served as Director of the Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Pathology from 2013 to 2017.
Dr. Masson’s team is interested in the DNA repair mechanisms that govern the maintenance of the integrity of our genome, in particular homologous recombination (HR), and related therapeutic avenues. The fundamental part of his work is mainly directed towards the in vitro reconstitution of key HR steps (resection by MRN-RPA-BLM-DNA2-EXO1 complexes and strand invasion with BRCA1-BRCA2-PALB2). Furthermore, his lab is heavily involved in the functional characterization of DNA repair genes using proven biochemical assays and innovative molecular and cellular techniques (BioID, molecular DNA combing, CRISPR-Cas9 system). With his collaborators, he discovered a negative regulation mechanism of the DNA resection step by DYNLL1. Several of the genes studied, including BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2, are mutated in breast and ovarian cancer and/or Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disease characterized by a wide variety of congenital malformations and a risk of acute leukemia and cancer. The laboratory performs a precise characterization of DNA double-strand break repair genes, which is critical for understanding the etiology of these diseases. With a more translational focus, the second part of the research involves developing new synthetic lethal strategies based on the function of certain DNA repair enzymes in collaboration with Dr. Guy Poirier’s team. Its primary objective is to selectively kill breast and ovarian cancer cells using small inhibitory molecules identified by screening chemical libraries. Although PARP inhibitors have demonstrated clinical benefit in patients with germline mutation in BRCA1/2, the emergence of resistance to this type of agent highlights the importance of identifying new combinations of inhibitors. The experiments are performed on 2- and 3-dimensional (spheroids) tumor cell models and mouse models of Fanconi anemia.
Recently, Dr. Masson’s discoveries have led him to join several cancer multi-institutional teams. Among others, he is participating with Dr. Jacques Simard in the PERSPECTIVE I&I (Personalized Risk Assessment for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer: Integration and Implementation) project, an initiative funded by Genome Canada bringing together the expertise of more than 20 researchers, including several world-renowned fundamentalists, clinicians, and biostatisticians. Within this interdisciplinary group, Dr. Masson’s team is dedicated to developing systematic functional tests to reliably assess the impact of genetic variations linked to breast cancer, especially those affecting PALB2, and determine their clinical relevance for the benefit of patients. The data collected will improve the personalized risk assessment for early detection and more appropriate treatment of breast cancer. In collaboration with the CRCHUM, Dr. Masson also acts as one of the principal investigators of the ONCOPOLE project entitled “Targeting genomic instability as an essential vulnerability of ovarian cancer”, which aims to identify the best therapeutic combinations for eliminating ovarian cancer cells.

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Velic D, Demeyer A, Peterlini T, Benhelli-Mokrani H, Mathé-Allainmat M, Masson JY, Fleury F

Molecular Determinant of DIDS Analogs Targeting RAD51 Activity.

Journal Article

Molecules, 26 (18), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Sharma AB, Erasimus H, Pinto L, Caron MC, Gopaul D, Peterlini T, Neumann K, Nazarov PV, Fritah S, Klink B, Herold-Mende CC, Niclou SP, Pasero P, Calsou P, Masson JY, Britton S, Van Dyck E

XAB2 promotes Ku eviction from single-ended DNA double-strand breaks independently of the ATM kinase.

Journal Article

Nucleic Acids Res, 49 (17), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Brooks JD, Nabi HH, Andrulis IL, Antoniou AC, Chiquette J, Després P, Devilee P, Dorval M, Droit A, Easton DF, Eisen A, Eloy L, Fienberg S, Goldgar D, Hahnen E, Joly Y, Knoppers BM, Lofters A, Masson JY, Mittmann N, Paquette JS, Pashayan N, Schmutzler R, Stockley T, Tavtigian SV, Walker MJ, Wolfson M, Chiarelli AM, Simard J

Personalized Risk Assessment for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer: Integration and Implementation (PERSPECTIVE I&I).

Journal Article

J Pers Med, 11 (6), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Villot R, Poirier A, Bakan I, Boulay K, Fernández E, Devillers R, Gama-Braga L, Tribouillard L, Gagné A, Duchesne É, Caron D, Bérubé JS, Bérubé JC, Coulombe Y, Orain M, Gélinas Y, Gobeil S, Bossé Y, Masson JY, Elowe S, Bilodeau S, Manem V, Joubert P, Mallette FA, Laplante M

ZNF768 links oncogenic RAS to cellular senescence.

Journal Article

Nat Commun, 12 (1), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Deshmukh AL, Porro A, Mohiuddin M, Lanni S, Panigrahi GB, Caron MC, Masson JY, Sartori AA, Pearson CE

FAN1, a DNA Repair Nuclease, as a Modifier of Repeat Expansion Disorders.

Journal Article

J Huntingtons Dis, 10 (1), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Nepomuceno TC, Carvalho MA, Rodrigue A, Simard J, Masson JY, Monteiro ANA

PALB2 Variants: Protein Domains and Cancer Susceptibility.

Journal Article

Trends Cancer, 7 (3), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Sharma S, Anand R, Zhang X, Francia S, Michelini F, Galbiati A, Williams H, Ronato DA, Masson JY, Rothenberg E, Cejka P, d'Adda di Fagagna F

MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 Complex Is Sufficient to Promote Transcription by RNA Polymerase II at Double-Strand Breaks by Melting DNA Ends.

Journal Article

Cell Rep, 34 (1), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Dominici C, Sgarioto N, Yu Z, Sesma-Sanz L, Masson JY, Richard S, Raynal NJ

Synergistic effects of type I PRMT and PARP inhibitors against non-small cell lung cancer cells.

Journal Article

Clin Epigenetics, 13 (1), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Guitton-Sert L, Gao Y, Masson JY

Animal models of Fanconi anemia: A developmental and therapeutic perspective on a multifaceted disease.

Journal Article

Semin Cell Dev Biol, 113 , 2021.

Abstract | Links:

Moison C, Chagraoui J, Caron MC, Coulombe Y, Poirier GG, Masson JY, Sauvageau G, Gagné JP

Zinc finger protein E4F1 cooperates with PARP-1 and BRG1 to promote DNA double-strand break repair.

Journal Article

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 118 (11), 2021.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Bourse de soutien aux nouveaux détenteurs de Chaire de recherche du Canada, from 2020-07-01 to 2022-06-30
  • Canada Research Chair in DNA repair and Cancer Therapeutics, from 2020-07-01 to 2027-06-30
  • Characterization of HR-Killer1 and identification of small molecules for cancer therapy and enhanced gene editing using CRISPR/Cas9-based DNA repair strategies, from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Decoding the DNA double-strand break repair pathways: from mechanistic insights to human genome instability diseases, from 2018-07-01 to 2025-06-30
  • Infrastructure for a Tier I CRC in DNA repair and cancer therapeutics, from 2020-07-01 to 2022-01-31
  • Investigating the Role of RECQL in Breast Cancer Susceptibility, from 2017-04-01 to 2022-03-31
  • Patient stratification based on DNA repair functionality for cancer precision medicine, from 2020-01-01 to 2022-12-31
  • Personalized Risk Assesment for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer : Integration and Implementation (PERSPECTIVE II), from 2017-11-01 to 2022-03-31
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) writers, readers, and erasers: Functions in DNA double-strand break repair and synthetic lethality, from 2019-10-01 to 2024-09-30

Recently finished projects

  • (FRSQ 91313) Acquisition d'un microscope pour le CRCEO, from 2019-05-30 to 2020-03-31
  • Cibler l’instabilité génomique en tant que vulnérabilité essentielle du cancer de l’ovaire, from 2018-10-01 to 2021-09-30
  • Mechanistic insights into meiotic DNA double-strand break formation by Spo11: impact on genetic recombination and aneuploidy., from 2015-04-01 to 2020-03-31
  • Rôles des protéines de réparation des cassures double-brin dans la stabilité du génome, l'anémie de Fanconi, et le cancer., from 2016-07-01 to 2020-06-30
  • Stratégies exploitant les voies de signalisation et réparation de l'ADN pour la médecine personnalisée et le cancer, from 2017-01-01 to 2019-12-31
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery