Activities at the Research Center are divided into five axes, each of which in turn is divided into one or more research themes.
Brain and Child Development
The Brain and Child Development axis, composed of neurosciences and developmental psychopathology researchers, initiates biopsychosocial collaborations by studying data from longitudinal studies. The scientists in this axis have acquired international expertise, particularly in the field of sensory systems development, epilepsy etiology and treatment, hypothalamus development and child language development. Among other achievements, studies into psychopathology and child behaviour have led to the creation of an INSERM international unit (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research) and the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development. In the field of neurosciences, researchers have secured more than twenty million dollars in grants from organizations such as Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to develop a new approach for studies of neurodevelopmental diseases such as schizophrenia, autism or mental retardation.
Musculoskeletal Diseases and Rehabilitation
The expertise of the researchers working in the Musculoskeletal Diseases and Rehabilitation axis is recognized worldwide. The axis promotes a multidisciplinary research approach through fundamental, clinical and rehabilitation research leading to knowledge transfer and clinical innovations aimed at improving children’s well-being. The example of idiopathic scoliosis perfectly illustrates the researchers’ transverse approach, specifically with their development of a diagnostic test. Their objective is to develop innovative and less invasive treatments allowing children and adolescents to live with minimal physical limitations and to detect articular diseases at an early age in order to prevent the effects of these diseases in adulthood.
Viral and Immune Disorders and Cancer
The CHU Sainte-Justine is a world-renowned leader in the field of Viral and Immune Disorders and Cancer, most notably regarding acute lymphoblastic leukemia, oncogenetics, the localization of bone marrow stem cells, the role of the liver in the immune system and mother-child HIV transmission. Sainte-Justine’s cord blood transplant center is the largest in the world. Clinical results are excellent and the researchers are known for their innovative work. This research field holds extraordinary potential. Other researchers are developing industry partnerships, including a grant of more than one million dollars from IBM to accelerate research into the causes of childhood leukemia and other complex pediatric diseases with the goal of developing individualized treatment strategies.
Fetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies
The Fetomaternal and Neonatal Pathologies axis builds on the unique structure of the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center through the study of abnormalities in embryonic, fetal and neonatal development. The CHU Sainte-Justine is one of the most dynamic university hospital centers in Canada in the field of perinatal research. Sainte-Justine’s researchers are interested in various aspects of fetomaternal health, such as retinopathy of prematurity, cardiovascular pregnancy paradox, aortic isthmus and the effects of antidepressants on pregnancy.
Metabolic Health and Complex Diseases
The Metabolic Health axis seeks to understand, prevent and intervene in important metabolic issues ranging from the fetal period through to adulthood. Our researchers are working on genetic disease prevalence and distribution, founder effects and genetic variance in Québec in addition to the functional dissection of intestinal lipid transport. A team of researchers is also studying North American Indian childhood cirrhosis (NAIC/CIRH1A), a disease that is specific to NW Québec.