Erwan Pernet: Driving Discovery in Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia

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June 2023

2023 marks a momentous year for Erwan Pernet, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Département de biologie médicale at the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), as he is recognized as a Banting Discovery Awardee. This prestigious award, which honors outstanding Canadian early-career researchers in health and biomedical sciences, comes as a testament to Pernet’s groundbreaking work in understanding bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in premature infants.

Pernet’s research journey began in France at Université Pierre et Marie Curie, where he completed his PhD. Seeking to broaden his experience and expertise, he then moved to Canada, completing a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University. His journey eventually led him to his current role at UQTR, where his investigations into BPD have flourished.

His research, which involves the use of a hyperoxia model in genetically engineered mice, focuses on understanding the mechanisms of BPD, a severe lung condition that affects premature infants. Pernet’s studies specifically investigate the role of the Interferon type I (IFN-I) response in BPD pathogenesis. By using advanced techniques such as intracellular flow cytometry, histological examination, and biochemical techniques, Pernet and his team are able to evaluate lung structure, immune response, and cytokines following exposure to hyperoxia. The aim is to uncover the mechanisms behind bronchial dysfunction in premature babies, with the ultimate goal of improving treatment outcomes for this vulnerable population.

From left to right: Erwan Pernet, Pascale Lebeau (MSc Student), Emma Lambert and Alexandre Absi (Undergraduate students).

Pernet’s work has been published in premier journals including Nature Communications, Science Translational Medicine, Cell Reports, and Nature, showcasing his significant contributions to the field. His research findings are expected to have a high impact on future funding opportunities, potentially attracting additional funds, especially from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The Banting Discovery Award itself is a significant achievement, reflecting Pernet’s exceptional potential to make significant contributions to his field. The award, which is given to a select few early-career researchers, includes financial support for innovative and impactful research, further enabling Pernet to advance his groundbreaking work on BPD.

As we celebrate the achievements of Dr. Erwan Pernet, it’s important to note that his career is just beginning. With the Banting Discovery Award, he is better equipped to continue his research on BPD and make strides towards improving the lives of premature infants. His work is a prime example of how scientific research can pave the way for a better understanding of complex diseases, leading to improved treatments and, ultimately, a better quality of life for patients.

Congratulations to Dr. Erwan Pernet for his well-deserved recognition as a 2023 Banting Discovery Awardee. His work is a testament to the power of research and innovation in improving health outcomes. The scientific community eagerly anticipates the continued progress in his research on BPD.

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