TMM director Jean-François Couture receives uOttawa Excellence in Education Prize

The exterior of Roger Guindon Hall.

“I was fortunate to be trained and taught by inspirational scientists who transferred their passion for science to me – in turn, teaching with equivalent enthusiasm came naturally.”

- Dr. Jean-François Couture

While passionate about his research into finding a cure for leukemia, Dr. Jean-François Couture cares just as much those learning alongside him, striving to inspire a thirst for knowledge in each and every student.

Dr. Couture has distinguished himself as one of the University’s academic leaders, and as such was recently recognized by the Office of the Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs with an Excellence in Education Prize earlier this month.

Witnessing his students learn and make their own discoveries is one of his greatest joys, Couture explained in a recent profile of his work. The professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology loves to teach, and his mood lifts the moment he sets foot in a classroom and begins interacting with his students.

“Seeing the accomplishment in their eyes…nothing compares to that,” Couture says.

“Dr. Couture completely breaks the mold (of a stereotypical scientist) with his caring nature and infectious enthusiasm,” says Catherine Gnyra, a graduate of the Translational and Molecular Medicine program and a first-year MD student at uOttawa.

Teaching with enthusiasm is his way of ‘paying it forward’ from the excellent training he himself received.

“I was fortunate to be trained and taught by inspirational scientists who transferred their passion for science to me – in turn, teaching with equivalent enthusiasm came naturally,” he says. “Professors, scientists and lecturers alike must instill that thirst for knowledge in our students if they are to become important contributing elements in the education of future generations and global ambassadors of science.”

Couture says that recognition from his students is the best validation of his efforts to share his passion for science through teaching.

“This is by far the most heartwarming award that I can receive – not only is it a recognition from my peers, but also from my students as to my efforts in making their training and education better,” says Couture. “Of course, it’s also a tremendous honour to be listed among esteemed colleagues.”

Dr. Couture impressed the selection committee with the quality of his teaching, his significant contributions to the University’s programs of study, his creativity and his noteworthy teaching initiatives, as well as the warm testimonials received from his colleagues and students.

“I’m grateful for the contribution and help of my colleagues to make my teaching better and in my endeavors to offer and deliver an undergraduate program that listens to and supports our students and further their professional careers,” says Dr. Couture.

Prize recipients receive a $10,000 grant toward research on innovative teaching practices, for which applicants submit a proposal for a project to make use of the funds. The Office found Dr. Couture’s proposed project to be of great interest, noting it as one reason for his selection.

“I was fortunate to be extremely well supported throughout my career by the Faculty of Medicine and the University of Ottawa,” Couture concludes.

“It is an honour and a pleasure for me to give back and help their missions to achieve excellence in education and research.”


Read more about the awards and find a complete list of recipients on the University’s Excellence in Education Prizes page.

The University of Ottawa established the annual Excellence in Education Prizes to recognize educators of exceptional quality who are driven by a passion to advance and disseminate knowledge. Candidates must distinguish themselves in two specific areas, namely outstanding teaching and a solid research program. The winners will be celebrated at the Reception in Honour of Excellence in Research and Teaching this fall.

Dr. Jean-François Couture

Dr. Jean-François Couture


Dr. Jean-François Couture and Dr. Sabina Sarvan

Dr. Couture (left) was Sabina Sarvan’s supervisor during her PhD; she went on to win the Biochemistry Program Award of Excellence, one of BMI’s Graduate Program Excellence awards, for her PhD earlier this year. She has now joined the Couture lab as a research associate.


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