Two of Canada’s top women are at Université de Montréal

Marie-Josée Hébert and Nathalie Ouellette

Marie-Josée Hébert and Nathalie Ouellette

Credit: Amélie Philibert, Université de Montréal

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Marie-Josée Hébert and Nathalie Ouellette have been recognized by the Women's Executive Network in its 2023 list of Canada’s 100 most powerful women.

Two prominent figures at Université de Montréal have made the 2023 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards list, the Women's Executive Network announced today.

Marie-Josée Hébert, vice-rector of research, discovery, creation and innovation, was selected in the professionals category, while Nathalie Ouellette, deputy director of the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets (iREx), was chosen in the emerging leaders category.

A gala event to honour them and their 98 co-recipients will be held Nov. 30 in Toronto.

As a nephrologist-transplant physician, Marie-Josée Hébert is an expert in the field of transplantation. Her key areas of interest include the role of programmed cell death as a major pathway to immune dysregulation, organ rejection and abnormal vascular repair. She is the co-holder of the Shire Chair in Renal Transplantation and Regeneration and her work has led to the discovery and characterization of new mechanisms and biomarkers linked to the rejection of transplanted organs and chronic kidney disease. Dr. Hébert has led numerous projects throughout her career. She co-founded the Canadian National Transplant Research Program and acted as its co-director until 2022. She also played a major role in the development of several interdisciplinary research and knowledge mobilization initiatives, including IVADO (Institute for Data Valorization), Mila (Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute), the Digital Health Consortium and the Montreal Declaration for the Responsible Development of Artificial Intelligence. In addition to being a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, she has served as co-chair and then chair of the Kidney Foundation of Canada's research grant committee, and as medical director of clinical transplantation and hepatology at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). She has also been a member of the research council at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and participated in the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award Committee. In September 2022, she was appointed chair of the governing council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Nathalie Ouellette is an astrophysicist who specializes in research into galaxy formation and evolution, and is also a well-known science communicator. Over the course of her career, she has helped develop several projects aimed at raising public awareness of scientific matters. These included creating educational programs on astroparticle physics while working as coordinator of communications, education and scientific outreach at the McDonald Institute at Queen's University. She has given hundreds of media interviews and visited numerous Canadian and international classrooms, astronomy clubs and museums to share her passion for space science and make it as accessible as possible. Ouellette is also actively involved in securing science funding from governments and various organizations, and her efforts have paid off. Under her leadership, iREx has seen its student enrolment soar and has received a renewed funding commitment from the Trottier Family Foundation for $10 million over 10 years. Having received UdeM's 2021 Rector's Award in the initiative category, she is the deputy director of the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic and outreach scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope Mission in Canada.