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Jean Davignon has been Director of the Hyperlipidemia and Atherosclerosis Research Unit at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) from 1967 until 2008. Emeritus Physician at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Montreal, Professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Experimental Medicine at McGill University, he was appointed Emeritus Researcher at the IRCM in 2009. He practices in the field of lipidology at the Nutrition, Metabolism and Atherosclerosis Clinic he founded at IRCM in 1967.
His research focuses on the characterization, pathogenesis and treatment of hereditary dyslipidemias, on the atherogenic potential of plasma lipid and non-lipid biomarkers and the role of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in the causation of cardiovascular diseases. His work encompassing nutritional, genetic, metabolic, pharmacogenomic and molecular aspects has resulted in the publication of 363 scientific papers, 64 book chapters and 10 books including an Atlas on Primary Hyperlipidemias (2007).
He is a founding member of the Canadian Atherosclerosis Society, the Canadian Association for Familial Hypercholesterolemia and the Canadian Institute of Academic Medicine. He is a member of numerous scientific and academic societies, notably the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada. He is also a member of many national and international committees and is active on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. He organized and presided the Xth International Symposium on Atherosclerosis, held in Montréal in October 1994, and he was a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research from its foundation in 2000 to 2002. He was a member of the Canadian Heart Health Strategy and Action Plan Steering Committee (2006-2009). He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Consortium québécois sur la découverte du médicament (2008- ).
Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine (1967-1972) he is a recipient of the "Coeur Québec Or" from the Quebec Heart and Stroke Foundation, the FNG Starr Award of the Canadian Medical Association (1993), the Scientific Career Award of the Association des médecins de langue française du Canada (1996), the Prix du Québec Wilder Penfield (2000), the Prix Michel Sarrazin for his contribution to clinical research (2001), the Distinguished Service Award from the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation (2006) and the Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Midwest Lipid Association (2006). He also received a doctorate Honoris Causa from Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France (1992), and the Grande Médaille d’Or du Centenaire from the Institut Pasteur of Lille, France (1994). He was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995 and Grand Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec in 2006. The Jean Davignon Distinguished Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Award, sponsored by Pfizer, was created in 2006. His name was also given in 2011 to a recurrent symposium on lipid metabolism of the Canadian Society of Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.