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From Creating Operational and Structural Bases to Establishing New Services

CATALIS Québec Reached New Heights in 2021

A letter from Marc Rivière, President of the Board of Directors

Now that 2021 has come to an end, I want to say how proud I am of CATALIS Québec’s achievements. I am impressed by our growing team’s accomplishments and the tremendous work its members did in a difficult context.

We had to keep adjusting to the constraints of yet another year under the pall of the pandemic. Time and time again, we have been reminded of clinical research’s importance in bringing innovative and promising treatments to patients.

Operating as a forum for sharing and collaboration and a catalyst for positive change for patients and the entire network, CATALIS Québec has been bringing together a broad range of public and private stakeholders since 2017 to improve the processes which accelerate the discovery of innovative treatments. CATALIS’s mandate was fully actualized in 2021, mainly due to a financing agreement awarded by the Ministry of Economy and Innovation (MEI) and finalized on February 16. This substantial funding has allowed our organization to launch its new 2020-2024 strategic plan and provides it with the means it needs to reach its goals.

There is no doubt that the year’s crowning achievement was December’s announcement of the successful...

In Memory of François Laviolette,

Pillar of Research in AI

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death, on December 26, of François Laviolette, a true pillar of research in artificial intelligence. François passed away at the age of 59 after a battle with cancer. In addition to his great passion and leadership in the field of data, he was eager to give back by sharing, until the very last moment, his knowledge and vast experience. François generously agreed to join the CATALIS Patient Advisory Committee as the first patient partner. In just a few months, François will have brought light and wisdom to the valorization of health research data, while his memory will continue to inspire our community. Our thoughts are with François' family, colleagues and loved ones to whom we extend our deepest condolences.

You can continue to support François' mission through the fund that was created in his memory. The François-Laviolette scholarships aim to support the work of graduate students at Laval University who advance knowledge in AI.

Three New Employees Join the CATALIS Team!

Maryse Patenaude

Patient and Clinician Support Service Coordinator

Maryse Patenaude holds a Master of Genetic Counseling from the Université de Montréal and a Specialized Studies Diploma in Management from HEC Montreal. She has been working in the health field for almost twenty years. Having acquired experience in clinical research with the Breast Cancer Research Group (Groupe de recherche en cancer du sein), Maryse then worked as a genetic counselor for over 10 years.

She was able to share her knowledge of medical genetics with many patients and health professionals, mainly in the fields of prenatal genetics, reproduction, and oncology. Maryse then participated in the coordination and management of a research unit in the field of medical data analysis and integration, while ensuring the utmost respect for patient confidentiality, as well as for current standards and regulations.

Having developed an empathetic, patient-oriented approach, and with her vast experience in the Quebec health sector, Maryse is enthusiastically joining the CATALIS team to participate in the development of the personalized clinical trial support service.


Alexandra Verreault

Project Manager

Alexandra brings close to 10 years of experience in the field of clinical research. During that time, she has led several Phase I to IV clinical trials, both industry and investigator initiated. Having overseen the continuous ethics review for the Office of Responsible Conduct in Research at the Université de Montréal and having been a member of the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Ethics Board, she has built up an expertise in the fields of research ethics and the regulatory environment of clinical research in Quebec.

This knowledge was put into use and refined when she coordinated all clinical research, at the macro level, of a hospitalization unit at the CHU Sainte-Justine.

As Project Manager at CATALIS, Alexandra will be responsible, in collaboration with the other project managers, for the implementation of the new FASTTRACK evaluation service. She will have the pleasure of working with and supporting a network of committed and dedicated members who are all eager to optimize and accelerate the accessibility of clinical trials in Quebec.


Natalie Saunders

Project Manager

Natalie holds a BSc in Neuroscience and a MSc in Occupational Therapy, both from McGill University. Upon completing her Master’s degree she worked as a clinical research coordinator for several international phase 1-3 ALS studies at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, a top enrolling site. Natalie has extensive knowledge in neuromuscular diseases, good clinical practice, and clinical outcome measures.

Before joining CATALIS, Natalie mentored a team of clinical research coordinators in ALS, overseeing approximately 15 trials at a time, while also partaking in start-up activities for new ALS studies.

Passionate about patient care and education, Natalie has participated in ALS support groups, educated newly diagnosed patients about clinical research, and contributed to clinical management research studies. She has attended and presented at national and international conferences for ALS, networking with researchers and sponsors around the world.As a Project Manager, Natalie will partake in the FAST TRACK program with the goal of helping patients obtain better access to clinical trials in Quebec.

CATALIS Quebec is a non-profit partnership dedicated to the advancement and operational excellence of clinical research in Quebec.

Since 2017, CATALIS Quebec has been carrying out a large-scale government mandate to optimize Quebec’s clinical research environment. The CATALIS network's efforts are focused on providing more Quebec patients with access to tomorrow’s therapies.

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