Who we are

The Joint International Research Unit (UMI) is a bilateral research unit between the Italian National Research Council (CNR) and the Université Laval of Quebec.

The UMI is aimed at strengthening the scientific and technological cooperation between Université Laval and the CNR through exchanges of students and professors in the framework of pioneering bilateral research projects.

15 February 2016. The opening ceremony of the Joint International Unit (from left to right): (front row) Luigi Nicolais ex-President of the National Research Council of Italy, Denis Brière, ex-Rector of Université Laval, (row) Denis Bouchard, President and CEO of IUCPQ – UL, Rénald Bergeron, ex-Dean of the Faculty of medicine, Jean-Claude Dufour, ex-Dean of the Faculty of agricultural and food sciences, Sylvie Turgeon, director of INAF. Photo: Marc Robitaille

The UMI collects experts in the field, coming for example from the Research Centre of the Institute of Cardiology and Pneumology, Université Laval (IUCPQ – UL), the Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), the Institute of biomolecular chemistry and the Department of chemical sciences and materials technology of the CNR, from the Faculty of medicine and the Faculty of agricultural and Food sciences of Université Laval.

Under the leadership of its director, Professor Vincenzo Di Marzo (soon holder also holder of the Canada Excellence Research Chair on the microbiome-endocannabinoidome axis in metabolic health, and director of the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry CNR), the UMI has among its proposed ambitious goals the development of research projects, and the innovation, education and knowledge transfer in the emerging field of the biomolecular study of the intestinal microbiome.

The characterization of new organic molecules and its validation, through the elaboration of appropriate formulations to improve cardiometabolic health, may leas to significant progress for the health of populations.

To achieve this general aim, the UMI intends to carry out, in particular thanks to fund raising from national and international financial organizations, networking, international, scientific and educational activities, joint and interdisciplinary research and training, aiming at promoting the full participation of professors, researchers and students from around the world.

The UMI will also provide a teaching environment, where seminars, specialized courses and continuing education will respond to the concrete needs of future health professionals and people afflicted by obesity, diabetes and cardiometabolic disorders.

By giving value to diversity, equity and inclusion, the Joint International Research Unit is committed to fostering excellence in research and research training and to ensuring equal opportunities for all qualified candidates. The Joint International Research Unit supports the principle that excellence and equity are compatible and complementary and recognizes that good equity practices ensure access to the largest possible pool of qualified people. For the activities of the Joint International Research Unit, this includes prioritizing the inclusion of women, members of visible and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples (in Canada) and persons with disabilities, where these groups are under-represented.