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Dr. Jean-Yves Masson

Quebec Node LeaderProfessor (Laval University Cancer Research Center)

Dr. Jean-Yves Masson is an internationally recognized expert in DNA repair mechanisms. His interest in DNA repair began during his PhD where he studied the function of base excision repair enzymes. He then completed his postdoctoral studies at Clare Hall laboratories to study DNA repair by homologous recombination using biochemical and cellular approaches. He was recruited at the Laval University Cancer Center in 2002 and in 2013 became the director of the Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry, and Pathology Department. He has over 150 publications in several high-impact journals such as Science, Nature Communications, and Molecular Cell. He is an editor of Nucleic Acids Research, NAR cancer, Scientific reports, and Biology direct and currently holds a Tier I Canada research chair in DNA repair and cancer therapeutics.

Throughout his career, Dr. Masson focused on radiation and chemicals that impede DNA replication to induce DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in cancer or rare diseases such as Fanconi anemia. Failure to remove these breaks leads to cell death, genetic mutations, gross chromosome rearrangements, cell transformation and cancer. He is one of the few world experts on PALB2, a protein which is getting scientific and public attention as PALB2 mutations increase breast cancer six- to eight- fold. He established that PALB2 deficient cells are very sensitive to PARP inhibitors, a very promising therapeutic avenue for breast/ovarian cancer. 

Dr. Masson, a Canadian Academy of Health Sciences fellow, was awarded the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation Scientific Distinction Award in 2022. Later that year, he became the director of the FRQS Oncopole Quebec Cancer Research Network (