Regenerative Medecine

2020-2021 Data


Véronique Moulin

Deputy directors
Ze Zhang
Stéphanie Proulx

Mélanie Malouin

1401, 18e Rue, H609
Québec (Québec)

+1 418 525-4444, poste 61715

Within the network of research centers funded by the “Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQ-S), the themes addressed by the researchers in the Regenerative Medicine division are unique. Regenerative medicine is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field focused on the repair, replacement, or regeneration of cells, tissues, or organs.

Through cross-disciplinary and translational approaches, regenerative medicine research aims to:

- Understand the mechanisms of regeneration (example: overcoming the effects of UV rays on the skin);

- Develop repair therapies (example: developing biomaterials for a new hip);

- Replace and regenerate tissues and organs (example: skin grafts for burn victims);

- Test new drugs (pharmacology);

- Repair lesions (example: gene therapy for epidermolysis bullosa lesions);

- Advance knowledge to develop new tools for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diseases.


3 research themes

- Biomaterials and Biomedical Materials

- Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells

- Vision Health

The complementary nature of the teams facilitates synergies that promote discoveries, innovation, as well as national and international outreach.


  1. Biomaterials and Biomedical Materials: Marc-André Fortin (Director)

Biomaterials comprise the whole range of materials that can be implanted in and accepted by the body in order to improve the functionality that organs lose over time. Arterial stents, dental implants, hip prostheses, polymers and gels for drug delivery, are all examples of biomaterials. In addition, biomedical materials include a wide range of tools and objects useful in surgery, blood transfusions, oncology and disease diagnosis. These materials demand a very high degree of compliance with the requirements of health authorities (e.g. blood transfusion bags, biopsy needles, surgical tools, catheters, etc.). Most of the researchers at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval research center working in the field of biomaterials and biomedical materials are associated with the Centre de recherche sur les Matériaux Avancés de l'Université Laval (CERMA). They are working on giving innovative properties to medical devices in order to improve their performance: replacement and reconstruction of cardiovascular, nervous, tracheal and bone tissues; biodegradable metals; optical surface treatment for biomedical tools; nanomaterials for preclinical imaging (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray computed tomography (CT/CT-X), positron emission tomography (PET)) and oncology. The research activities of the Biomaterials and Biomedical Materials theme are mostly oriented towards the design and validation of new surgical approaches (vascular, orthopedic and oncology), including the development of permanent implants, inserts or minimally invasive biomedical technologies. A large number of projects is jointly funded by science and engineering research organizations and biomedical industries (e.g., NSERC-Alliance), but also by health research funds (e.g., CIHR, FRQS). Researchers in this theme are very active in patenting and licensing biomedical technologies resulting from their work.


  1. Tissue Engineering and Stem Cells: Véronique Moulin (Director)

Researchers of this theme focus on basic tissue engineering technology to engineer three-dimensional tissues and their use for experimental and clinical purposes. In order to target the specific challenges of each tissue/organ, a team usually consists of a basic scientist, an engineer and a clinician. The safety and efficacy of skin substitutes are currently being evaluated in patients in clinical trials recognized by Health Canada. In parallel, researchers are studying several complementary aspects crucial to tissue engineering: epithelial and mesenchymal stem cells, vascularization, reinnervation, wound healing, cell-cell interactions, extracellular matrix-cell interactions, and their alignment. This work is also used in the development of many other tissues/organs such as skin, blood vessels, heart valves, urological tissues, adipose tissue, peripheral nerves and bone tissue. The engineered tissues provide excellent human models to better understand various pathologies, such as psoriasis, hypertrophic scars, melanoma, as well as nerve degeneration (amyotrophic multiple sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's). This last project is at the origin of collaborations with the Neuroscience axis. A collaboration with the Oncology axis opens the way to new therapies by combining tissue engineering and gene therapy for the treatment of epidermolysis bullosa. Researchers of this theme have a wide variety of human cells (normal and pathological tissues) in a bank of biological material, available to all researchers.


  1. Vision Health: Stéphanie Proulx (Director)

Breakthroughs in regenerative medicine for this theme are in several areas: 1) development of new gold nanoparticles-based drug carriers; 2) development of new cell therapies, such as cultured autologous human corneal epithelium, currently in clinical trials to treat patients with limbal epithelial stem cell deficiencies; 3) development of models for eye diseases, used to understand the diseases and to develop novel treatments (endotheliopathies, ocular tumors, age-related macular degeneration).

Although the work aims for clinical applications, several scientific advances are being made at the molecular level. For example, it is possible to define the consequences of mutations in proteins of the visual cycle on the degeneration of photoreceptors. We are also studying the effects of atmospheric pollutants, UV rays and blue light on DNA damage in the eye and the skin. Another goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of wound healing and thus to find new molecules to accelerate wound closure. Clinical research completes this theme, work that is carried out by ophthalmologists at the “Centre universitaire d’ophtalmologie” (CUO).

Researchers in this theme possess a bank for ocular tissues, a bank for ocular fluids, as well as a clinical data bank and biological material of ocular melanomas that is almost unique in the world.



The creation of the Regenerative Medicine division of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval research center has solidified collaborations established over several years between researchers from the Laboratoire d’Organogénèse EXpériementale (LOEX), the Centre universitaire d’ophtalmologie (CUO) and the Centre de Recherche sur les Matériaux Avancés de l’Université Laval (CERMA).

- Officially formed in 2012 when CHU de Québec-Université Laval research center was created.

- Brings together different approaches in regenerative medicine and biomedical materials.

- Allows the convergence of several technology platforms.



Cutting-edge research

The Regenerative Medicine division provides genuine support to the clinic, a concrete influence on the medicine of tomorrow, and on the development of the economic sector of biomedical materials, by :

- Proposing innovative solutions;

- Harnessing the full potential of regenerative medicine;

- Developing, through its numerous collaborations with companies in the biomedical sector, new technologies that have a concrete effect on tomorrow's medicine and the development of the economic sector of biomedical materials




The proximity of the researchers to the clinical environment favors technology transfer to hospital centers. In addition, the researchers in biomedical materials associated with CERMA are very active in industrial research and technology transfer with dozens of companies in Canada and abroad. Our themes are in line with the priorities of the CHU de Québec-Université Laval, which are vascular surgery, oncology, burns care, traumatology, neurosurgery and ophthalmology. LOEX's work on tissue engineering is internationally recognized and aligns with the priorities of the Supraregional Centre for Severe Burns at the Enfant-Jésus Hospital.

Regenerative medicine and cell and tissue therapies are also a priority for Laval University, including the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Science and Engineering, which have awarded three Canada Research Chairs (Lucie Germain, François Gros-Louis, Diego Mantovani), a Philanthropic Chair (Lucie Germain), as well as two priority thematic centers of Université Laval: the LOEX Center of Université Laval (Lucie Germain, Director) and the Centre de recherche pour les matériaux avancés (CERMA).


Regenerative medicine researchers are working to improve the understanding of various pathologies (eye diseases, psoriasis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), hypertrophic scars, etc.), and to propose innovative solutions for wound healing, treatment of atherosclerosis obliterans, and chronic shortage of organs for transplantation. They are producing in vitro three-dimensional engineered tissue to treat patients in clinical trials approved by Health Canada. The researchers are particularly active in a FRQNT-funded network named the Centre Québécois sur les Matériaux Fonctionnels (CQMF), and two FRQS-funded networks, namely the Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapy (ThéCell) network and the Vision Health Research (RRSV) network. They hold various administrative positions such as members of the board of directors of networks, research center, university departments, infrastructure manager, scientific and student scholarship committee chair. The regenerative medicine division is also involved in major projects:

  1. Linked to a European network including eight universities and funded by a Horizon 2020 Marie-Curie grant
  2. Linked to The Canadian Donation and Transplantation Research Program (CDTRP), which aims to improve solid organ transplantation, funded by the CIHR.

Honorary members

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