Vanier Scholarship Winner

Doctoral student Mélanie Côté-Cyr is among the recipients of the 2022 Vanier scholarship.

Worth $50,000 per year for three years, the Vanier scholarship is awarded according to three main criteria: academic excellence, research potential and leadership skills. Mélanie-Côté Cyr received a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) also awards Vanier Fellowships.

Doctoral student in biochemistry Mélanie Côté-Cyr (M.Sc. biochemistry, 2022) is working on the design of functional protein nanomaterials inspired by biological systems for tissue regeneration. “Several natural proteins have the ability to self-assemble to form robust, biodegradable nanostructures that are compatible with living organisms,” explains the student, whose research director is Steve Bourgault, professor in the Department of Chemistry and member of NanoQAM. My thesis project aims to exploit the properties of protein assemblies derived from biological systems, such as bacterial biofilms, and to assess their potential for tissue regeneration.”

Mélanie Côté-Cyr will first study the physical properties and biological compatibility of protein assemblies. Sequences known to modulate certain biological functions – the adhesion of living cells or the maturation of immune cells or progenitor cells, for example – will be added to self-assembling proteins to form functional nanomaterials. “The physical properties of the resulting materials will be tested, and the biological response to these materials will be assessed using cultured cell models and animal models,” she points out. This project should help to deepen knowledge on the physical and biological properties of protein assemblies derived from biological systems and on their potential for the design of biomaterials.”

In April 2022, Mélanie Côté-Cyr won the first UQAM Merit Award in the Emerging Student category (master’s degree). His dissertation was produced under the co-direction of Steve Bourgault and Denis Archambault, professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.