We are pleased to announce the appointment of Chantal Autexier, PhD, as Chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), McGill University. Prof. Autexier will assume her duties on May 1, 2023, replacing Craig Mandato, PhD. We thank Prof. Mandato for leading the Department for more than a decade, during which time he restructured and rejuvenated the department, hiring and mentoring a cohort of talented young professors, created and helped foster the Division of Anatomical Sciences and spearheaded the Faculty’s successful transition to an increased use of electron microscopy, among other highlights.

Prof. Autexier received her BSc in Biology from Concordia University in 1985 and completed her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill in 1991. She then furthered her studies as a Leukemia Society of America Special Fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York, completing five years of post-doctoral work  on the ribonucleoprotein telomerase. She is Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill, and Associate Member, Division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Medicine, FMHS. She is also a Senior Investigator in the Molecular and Regenerative Medicine Axis, at the Lady Davis Institute (LDI) for Medical Research of the Jewish General Hospital.

Prof. Autexier is recognized both for her research leadership and her commitment to education, and has actively contributed to the Department’s mission to maintain the highest standards in research and teaching. Over the course of her career, she held numerous salary awards, including the Medical Research Council of Canada Scholarship (New Investigator) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS) Chercheur National Research Scholar Award. From 2014 to 2022, she was Graduate Program Director, during which time she helped realize many changes to support graduate students and faculty. She served as Associate Director for Faculty Development and Training at the LDI from 2009 to 2011 and coordinated the establishment of numerous initiatives, including mandatory internal grant peer‐reviews, an investigator mentorship program and the LDI studentship program.

Prof. Autexier is highly regarded for her teaching and mentorship, and has served as supervisor for 25 graduate students, advisory member to more than 50 graduate students, and has been a member of over 100 examining committees. Her work earned her the David Thomson Award for Graduate Supervision and Teaching at McGill in 2019.

In a variety of roles including Chair and Scientific Officer she serves and has served on a number of grant, salary award and fellowship panels at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the FRQS.

Prof. Autexier’s research interests are focused on understanding telomere maintenance, which is critical for genome stability and cell survival, and is altered in cancer and premature aging syndromes. Projects in her lab include the identification and characterization of mechanisms regulating telomerase and telomere maintenance that can be validated as specific and effective therapeutic targets in tumour cells and premature aging diseases of telomere maintenance.

Her research program has been consistently funded by CIHR, more recently by the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and in the past by the Cancer Research Society and the Canadian Cancer Society. She has co-authored more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and 9 book chapters, and has presented more than 100 abstracts and oral presentations (with trainees) at the national and international level. She currently serves as editorial board member for the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

As Chair, Prof. Autexier will oversee the Department’s undergraduate and post-graduate programs and research initiatives. She will work with the SBMS to support strategic research and educational initiatives within the Faculty, and promote and build on collaborations within the Department, the SBMS and the larger McGill community including affiliated research institutes. Prof. Autexier will liaise with the Dean’s office and provide recommendations with respect to new appointments, promotions and awarding of tenure. She will mentor current and future faculty, and actively promote equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) principles and practices following McGill’s EDI strategic plan framework, including for faculty and graduate student recruitment.

Please join us in congratulating Prof. Autexier on her appointment and wishing her every success in her new role.

David Eidelman, MDCM Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)Dean of the Faculty of Medicine &Health Sciences

Lesley Fellows, MD, PhDVice-Dean, Academic Affairs