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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Scaltriti E, Tegoni M, Rivetti C, Launay H, Masson JY, Magadan AH, Tremblay D, Moineau S, Ramoni R, Lichiere J, Campanacci V, Cambillau C, Ortiz-Lombardia M

Structure and function of phage p2 ORF34(p2), a new type of single-stranded DNA binding protein

Journal Article

Mol Microbiol, 73 (6), 2009.

Abstract | Links:

Roques C, Coulombe Y, Delannoy M, Vignard J, Grossi S, Brodeur I, Rodrigue A, Gautier J, Stasiak AZ, Stasiak A, Constantinou A, Masson JY

MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 is a critical regulator of FANCD2 stability and function during DNA double-strand break repair

Journal Article

EMBO J, 28 (16), 2009.

Abstract | Links:

Ploquin M, Bransi A, Paquet ER, Stasiak AZ, Stasiak A, Yu X, Cieslinska AM, Egelman EH, Moineau S, Masson JY

Functional and structural basis for a bacteriophage homolog of human RAD52

Journal Article

Curr Biol, 18 (15), 2008.

Abstract | Links:

Dery U, Coulombe Y, Rodrigue A, Stasiak A, Richard S, Masson JY

A glycine-arginine domain in control of the human MRE11 DNA repair protein

Journal Article

Mol Cell Biol, 28 (9), 2008.

Abstract | Links:

Haince JF, McDonald D, Rodrigue A, Dery U, Masson JY, Hendzel MJ, Poirier GG

PARP1-dependent kinetics of recruitment of MRE11 and NBS1 proteins to multiple DNA damage sites

Journal Article

J Biol Chem, 283 (2), 2008.

Abstract | Links:

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), 2007.

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), 2007.

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), 2006.

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), 2006.

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), 2005.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Canada Research Chair in DNA repair and Cancer Therapeutics, from 2020-07-01 to 2027-06-30
  • Caractérisation de nouveaux gènes de susceptibilité au cancer du sein, from 2024-02-15 to 2027-04-01
  • Characterization of novel breast cancer susceptibility genes through large-scale targeted sequencing and functional assays., from 2024-04-01 to 2029-03-31
  • Decoding the DNA double-strand break repair pathways: from mechanistic insights to human genome instability diseases, from 2018-07-01 to 2025-06-30
  • Emerging roles of Zinc Finger PAR-Interacting Proteins (ZIPPs) in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair: implications in PARPi therapy, from 2024-04-01 to 2029-03-31
  • Fonds de cancérologie et ses fonds liés, from 2005-04-01 to 2025-04-30
  • Personalized Risk Assesment for Prevention and Early Detection of Breast Cancer : Integration and Implementation (PERSPECTIVE II), from 2017-11-01 to 2025-09-30
  • 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
  • Réseau de recherche sur le cancer (RRCancer), from 2023-04-01 to 2026-03-31
  • Tumor biobanking was supported by the Banque de tissus et de données en cancers solides of the Réseau de recherche sur le cancer (RRCancer)...The RRCancer is funded by the Oncopole...de l'Économie, de l'Innovation et de l'Énergie du Québec., from 2023-04-01 to 2025-03-31

Recently finished projects

  • Bourse de soutien aux nouveaux détenteurs de Chaire de recherche du Canada, from 2020-07-01 to 2022-06-30
  • 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
  • Grand prix scientifique, from 2022-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Infrastructure for a Tier I CRC in DNA repair and cancer therapeutics, from 2020-07-01 to 2022-12-31
  • Investigating the Role of RECQL in Breast Cancer Susceptibility, from 2017-04-01 to 2024-03-31
  • Patient stratification based on DNA repair functionality for cancer precision medicine, from 2020-01-01 to 2022-12-31
  • The contribution of RAD51C and RAD51D to breast and ovarian cancer, from 2021-05-01 to 2023-04-30
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery