All posts by Stéphane Daigle

Michael Rapinski receives the Marie-Victorin Excellence Award

We are happy to announce that the recipient of the 2020 Marie-Victorin Excellence Award is Michael Rapinski, a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Alain Cuerrier.

The overall goal of his doctoral degree is to understand the role of local medicines and diets in the management of diabetes, predominant amongst Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. Extensive field work in Quebec (North America) and French Guiana (South America) have shown a disconnect between healthcare workers and healthcare users regarding the use of natural resources, such as plants, to fight diabetesin Indigenous communities. Although this contributes to current dietary and lifestyle changes that increase the risk of diabetes, medicinal and dietary plant use and knowledge remain relevant to diabetics.Ultimately, results from this study should lead to an increased valorisation of local practices in diabetes treatment in Indigenous communities.

Starting with his masters and moving on to his doctorate with Dr. Alain Cuerrier, Michel began his studies in the interdisciplinary field of ethnobiology at the IRBV in 2010. From his early beginnings, approaching diabetes and plant use through the lens of pharmacology phytochemistry, he has increasingly incorporated elements of ethnology and anthropology. Michel now blends qualitative and quantitative methods, notably applying multivariate statistical methods developed in ecology to analyse thematically oriented conversations on health, healing and medicines.

The Botanical Institute, 100 years of science

An incredible article on the centenary of the Botanical Institute – now the IRBV – has just been published in UdeM Nouvelles. The article covers the years preceding the foundation of the Institute in 1920 as well as its early formative years. It includes bits of interviews with our professors Luc Brouillet, Jacques Brisson and Anne Bruneau.

Read the article (in French) and see its fascinating archive photos at the following link.

Two botanist positions open

The division of research and scientific development of the Montreal Botanical Garden is seeking to fill two open positions of full time botanist/researcher.


  • specialized in fields such as phytopathology, host-pathogens and symbiotic interactions, biological control, microbiology, etc.

Botanist/tree biologist

  • specialized in fields such as forestry, urban ecology, sylviculture, agroforestry or arboriculture, in a context of climate change and protection of biodiversity.

Applications can be submitted via the City of Montreal’s jobs website, under the section professional jobs/botanist.

Étienne Laliberté publishes in Science

Our collegue Étienne Laliberté has an article for which he is co-author just published in the prestigious magazine Science. The article, titled Plants sustain the terrestrial silicon cycle during ecosystem retrogression, stems from research done in Autralia on soil chronosequence and the development of ecosystems. For this particular article, the authors were interested in the global silicon cycle and the control of vegetation over it.

Read: the article, a perspective on it as well as an article in UdeM Nouvelles (in French).

Fungi and bacteria linked to the development of wild blueberries

UdeM Nouvelles has published an article on Mohamed Hijri and his Ph.D. student Simon Morvan who have recently discovered that specific fungi and bacteria are closely linked to the successful development of wild blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium), a species that appears, lives and multiplies in harsh environmental conditions. Their research explains how this species is found in acidic soils that are poor in nutrients.

Read the article (in French) here.

The IRBV now a member of QuébecInnove

The IRBV was just accepted as a new research member at QuébecInnove, a networking business for companies in the fields of research and innovation.

Thanks to the expertise of its 14 000 researchers and experts within its 125 active members in research, QuébecInnove, a non-profit organisation, helps over 500 companies every year finding expertise and financing useful to their growth. Being neutral and unifying, QuébecInnove relies on 80 ambassador members as well as many partners able to bring together players to stimulate innovation everywhere in Quebec.

The IRBV is turning 100!

According to the meticulous research conducted by our collegue Jacques Brisson, the IRBV has turned 100 today, 24 August!

This was revealed through the discovery of an archived letter confirming the hiring of Marie-Victorin as a professor of Botany at the Université de Montréal.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has forced us to postpone the celebrations to a later date.

Happy 100th anniversary to our institute!

Phyllotactic Patterns by Denis Barabé and Christian Lacroix

Phyllotaxy, the arrangement of leaves on an axis or stem, has been a subject of interest to botanist and mathematicians for a long time. For many years now, this phenomena has also been analysed using methods stemming from molecular biology and biophysics. In “Phyllotactic Patterns: A Multidisciplinary Approach”, Denis Barabé (emeritus researcher at the IRBV) and Christian Lacroix (professor at the University of Prince Edward Island) have published a synthesis of types of models published in the last 25 years.

The book was recently published at World Scientific: