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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Dery U, Masson JY

Twists and turns in the function of DNA damage signaling and repair proteins by post-translational modifications.

Journal Article

DNA Repair (Amst), 6 (5), pp. 561-77, 2007, ISSN: 1568-7864.

Abstract | Links:

Ploquin M, Petukhova GV, Morneau D, Dery U, Bransi A, Stasiak A, Camerini-Otero RD, Masson JY

Stimulation of fission yeast and mouse Hop2-Mnd1 of the Dmc1 and Rad51 recombinases.

Journal Article

Nucleic Acids Res, 35 (8), pp. 2719-33, 2007, ISSN: 0305-1048.

Abstract | Links:

Rodrigue A, Lafrance M, Gauthier MC, McDonald D, Hendzel M, West SC, Jasin M, Masson JY

Interplay between human DNA repair proteins at a unique double-strand break in vivo.

Journal Article

EMBO J, 25 (1), pp. 222-31, 2006, ISSN: 0261-4189.

Abstract | Links:

Robert F, Hardy S, Nagy Z, Baldeyron C, Murr R, Dery U, Masson JY, Papadopoulo D, Herceg Z, Tora L

The transcriptional histone acetyltransferase cofactor TRRAP associates with the MRN repair complex and plays a role in DNA double-strand break repair.

Journal Article

Mol Cell Biol, 26 (2), pp. 402-12, 2006, ISSN: 0270-7306.

Abstract | Links:

Haince JF, Rouleau M, Hendzel MJ, Masson JY, Poirier GG

Targeting poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation: a promising approach in cancer therapy.

Journal Article

Trends Mol Med, 11 (10), pp. 456-63, 2005, ISSN: 1471-4914.

Abstract | Links:

Boisvert FM, Hendzel MJ, Masson JY, Richard S

Methylation of MRE11 regulates its nuclear compartmentalization.

Journal Article

Cell Cycle, 4 (7), pp. 981-9, 2005, ISSN: 1538-4101.

Abstract | Links:

Boisvert FM, Dery U, Masson JY, Richard S

[A new role for arginine methylation in DNA repair]

Journal Article

Med Sci (Paris), 21 (6-7), pp. 579-81, 2005, ISSN: 0767-0974.

| Links:

Sauvageau S, Stasiak AZ, Banville I, Ploquin M, Stasiak A, Masson JY

Fission yeast rad51 and dmc1, two efficient DNA recombinases forming helical nucleoprotein filaments.

Journal Article

Mol Cell Biol, 25 (11), pp. 4377-87, 2005, ISSN: 0270-7306.

Abstract | Links:

Petukhova GV, Pezza RJ, Vanevski F, Ploquin M, Masson JY, Camerini-Otero RD

The Hop2 and Mnd1 proteins act in concert with Rad51 and Dmc1 in meiotic recombination.

Journal Article

Nat Struct Mol Biol, 12 (5), pp. 449-53, 2005, ISSN: 1545-9993.

Abstract | Links:

Boisvert FM, Dery U, Masson JY, Richard S

Arginine methylation of MRE11 by PRMT1 is required for DNA damage checkpoint control.

Journal Article

Genes Dev, 19 (6), pp. 671-6, 2005, ISSN: 0890-9369.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Centre de recherche du 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
  • Centre de recherche sur le cancer, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1996-05-01 to 2023-04-30
  • Cibler l’instabilité génomique en tant que vulnérabilité essentielle du cancer de l’ovaire, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, ONCOPOLE EMC2: Équipes multi-institutionnelles contre le cancer, from 2018-05-01 to 2021-04-30
  • Decoding the DNA double-strand break repair pathways: from mechanistic insights to human genome instability diseases, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subventions Fondation, from 2018-07-01 to 2025-06-30
  • Investigating the Role of RECQL in Breast Cancer Susceptibility, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2017-04-01 to 2022-03-31
  • Personalized Risk Assesment for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer : Integration and Implementation (PERSPECTIVE II), Subvention, Génome Canada, Projets de recherche appliquée à grande échelle, 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, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2019-10-01 to 2024-09-30
  • Rôles des protéines de réparation des cassures double-brin dans la stabilité du génome, l'anémie de Fanconi, et le cancer., Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Chaires de recherche FRQS, from 2016-07-01 to 2020-06-30

Recently finished projects

  • Acetylation of the breast cancer suppressors BRCA1, BRCA2 and PALB2: from functional insights to an anti-cancer approach., Subvention, Société de recherche sur le cancer, Subvention stratégique de recherche sur le cancer du sein (FCSQ/SRC), from 2015-01-23 to 2018-12-31
  • FANCI: Investigation of an emerging ovarian cancer susceptibility gene, Subvention, Société de recherche sur le cancer, Subvention de fonctionnement, from 2016-09-01 to 2018-08-31
  • Fonds Didier-Dufour, Subvention, Fondation de l'Université Laval, from 2005-04-01 to 2019-03-31
  • Functions of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases in DNA double-strand break processing and pathway choice., Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention de fonctionnement, from 2014-04-01 to 2019-03-31
  • Interplay between homologous recombination and anti-recombination activities at broken DNA replication forks and genomic instability., Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention de fonctionnement, from 2013-10-01 to 2018-06-30
  • Mechanisms and regulation of DNA end resection in mammalian cells, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Volet Projet: Concours pilotes, from 2016-07-01 to 2018-06-30
  • Mechanistic insights into meiotic DNA double-strand break formation by Spo11: impact on genetic recombination and aneuploidy., 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
  • Molecular and Genetic Analysis of Arginine Methylation and RNA Binding proteins in Health and Disease, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subventions Fondation, from 2017-12-01 to 2018-11-30
  • Prédisposition, prédiction et prévention du cancer du sein, Subvention, Ministère de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et des Exportations, Programme de soutien à la recherche (PSR-V4) : Programme de soutien à des initiatives internationales de recherche et d'innovation (SIIRI), from 2016-04-01 to 2019-03-31
  • Roles of the tumor suppressor PALB2 at the crossroads of DNA double-strand break repair and synthetic lethal strategies, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2017-04-01 to 2018-06-30
  • Stratégies exploitant les voies de signalisation et réparation de l'ADN pour la médecine personnalisée et le cancer, Subvention, Fonds de recherche du Québec - Santé, Recherches sur la cancer (NSFC-FRQ-S), from 2017-01-01 to 2019-12-31
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery