UdeM celebrates the exceptional career of one of its graduates, Dr. Roger Guillemin

Dr. Roger Guillemin

Dr. Roger Guillemin

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To mark the 40th anniversary of the French-born physician's Nobel Prize for medicine, UdeM is naming its assembly hall after him.

The historic contribution of Université de Montréal graduate Dr. Roger Guillemin, winner of the  Nobel Prize in medicine in 1977, was acknowledged today at a ceremony at Roger-Gaudry Pavilion in advance of the fourth annual Conférence de la montagne.

Born in France in 1924, Roger Guillemin began studying medicine in Lyon in the 1940s. In 1953 he defended his doctoral thesis at UdeM under the supervision of renowned endocrinologist Hans Selye, the Austrian-born medical professor considered the father of research into stress. Dr. Guillemin was awarded the Nobel for his discoveries on the production of peptide hormones in the brain. At age 93, he now continues to conduct research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, in La Jolla, California.

Today, an honourary plaque highlighting Dr. Guillemin's exceptional career was unveiled by Raymond Lalande, vice-rector of alumni, partnerships and philanthropic relations, in the presence of Dr. Hélène Boisjoly, dean of medicine,  and Dr. Milagros Salas-Prato, president of the Hans Selye Foundation. Dr. Guillemin attended virtually via video link from the Salk Institute.

The honorary plaque will be installed at the entrance to UdeM's University Assembly hall, now re-named Salle Roger-Guillemin. "By naming our assembly hall after a French doctor who chose our university to do his research and who, 25 years after completing his thesis, won the Nobel Prize for medicine, we want to recognize the contribution our graduates make to the world," Mr. Lalande said. "And together, we also want to remember the raison d'être of our university, which is to train curious minds and to further knowledge in all directions for the benefit of all."

For her part, Dr. Boisjoly chose to "sum up the story of Roger Guillemin's time at Université de Montréal in terms of two encounters that profoundly marked his life" –  first with Hans Selye, then with Lucienne Jeanne Billard, the Montreal nurse who would become Dr. Guillemin's wife. Dr. Boisjoly thanked Dr. Guillemin "for the inspiration, imagination and dedication that led to major advances in neuroendocrinology over the last 60 years."

Lastly, on behalf of the Hans Selye Foundation, Dr. Salas-Prato expressed her "feelings of gratitude and pride" towards the university for highlighting the career of "one of Dr. Selye's most illustrious and brilliant students. Dr. Guillemin is not only a great scientist, he is also a great artist and a great humanist."

Salle Roger-Guillemin

Born on January 11, 1924 in Dijon, France, Dr. Roger Guillemin was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1977 for his discoveries concerning the production of peptide hormones in the brain. In 1953, after studying medicine in Lyon, he defended his doctoral thesis at Université de Montreal under the supervision of renowned endocrinologist Hans Selye, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine and director of the Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery.

Professor Guillemin went on to pursue his career primarily at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and then at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. In recognition of his contribution to medical research, Université de Montréal awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1979.

(wording of the plaque)

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