A Nobel prizewinner in chemistry joins the IRCM and UdeM

Sidney Altman

Sidney Altman

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Sidney Altman, a pioneer in medical research on RNA, is returning to his native Montreal after a prestigious career abroad.

The Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) and the Faculty of Medicine of Université de Montréal announce today that eminent scientist Sidney Altman is joining their ranks.

Dr. Altman will act as professor-in-residence at the IRCM and as visiting professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at UdeM.

His involvement in both institutions will begin virtually in the coming days, before he arrives in person in Montreal at the end of October.

Altman is the co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on the catalytic properties of RNA, a discovery that led to advances such as RNA-based vaccines, including the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. For the renowned Montreal-born researcher, returning to Montreal represents a homecoming after a long and impressive career spent as professor of biology at Yale University, the prestigious Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut.

“This is great news for Université de Montréal and our scientific community in general,” said Dr. Patrick Cossette, UdeM’s dean of medicine. “The proximity of such expertise will certainly stimulate our ongoing work, create new opportunities and help develop our health research involving RNA.”

By joining the IRCM, Dr. Altman will support the implementation of several special RNA research projects, in addition to being involved in training the next generation of scientists. He will also share his vast expertise with the communities of Université de Montreal and McGill University through a series of highly timely meetings and conferences.

“We consider ourselves privileged to welcome Dr. Altman as part of team and to benefit from his extensive RNA expertise as well as his scientific background,” said Jean-François Côté, the IRCM’s interim president and scientific director. “The IRCM community can't wait to welcome him. There is no doubt that his presence will have a major impact on our young scientists and our researchers.”

“I very much look forward to sharing my accumulated knowledge with colleagues at several institutions in my hometown and joining my new scientific family at the IRCM and Université de Montréal,” noted Altman.

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