Trailblazing Faculty of Medicine professor named in Top 10 of Maclean's 50 most influential Canadian figures
Posted on Thursday, February 10, 2022
By David McFadden
The Faculty of Medicine’s Dr. Marc-André Langlois has been named one of Canada’s 50 most influential people by Maclean’s, the venerable current affairs magazine. The publication’s annual “Power List” is made up of esteemed Canadians who are “forging paths, leading the debate and shaping how we think and live.”
Describing him as “our eye on the variants,” Maclean’s placed the uOttawa molecular virologist ninth out of 50 on their most-influential tally for 2022. That’s ahead of high-profile Canadian figures including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Quebec Premier François Legault, and former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney.
Dr. Langlois is the executive director of the Coronavirus Variants Rapid Response Network (CoVaRR-Net), a grouping of top academic researchers across the country helping to ensure a speedy and coordinated response to the threat posed by COVID-19 variants.
He says he’s “extremely honoured” to be part of Maclean’s list but stresses that all his network researchers and collaborators share in the acclaim.
“I must say that this recognition does not belong solely to me. Rather, it belongs to each and every one of you who are working tirelessly in CoVaRR-Net as well as our partners and collaborators, all of whom are trying to quickly understand the changing landscape of the virus and pandemic," Dr. Langlois says. "This is truly recognition for a whole team of amazing people and scientists that I work with on a daily basis."
The national network Dr. Langlois spearheaded is made up of experts from uOttawa, University of Toronto, McGill, and numerous other Canadian institutions. CoVaRR-Net researchers have been conducting an array of key studies providing decision makers with guidance regarding drug therapy, vaccine effectiveness, and numerous other public health strategies.
Amid the shifting sands of the global pandemic, Dr. Langlois and his colleagues are collaborating with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Lab (NML), the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCoGeN), provincial and territorial public health labs, and other national and international bodies. They have also made themselves available for press interviews to help Canadians better understand the science.
Dr. Langlois is a Full Professor at uOttawa’s Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology and Intrinsic Immunity. He is also a member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.
Prior to COVID-19’s disruptions, the main focus of his uOttawa laboratory was to investigate host intrinsic immune defenses that have a dedicated role in restricting retroviral infection, such as HIV and zoonosis. With the onset of the global pandemic, Dr. Langlois retooled his lab and focused his research on developing new diagnostic tools including serological assays, new therapeutics and a plant-derived nasal spray vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
The network led by Dr. Langlois recently received a $9-million grant extension from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to continue its research efforts on variants of concern and variants of interest. Since its inception last year, studying and understanding variants of concern – including Delta and, more recently, Omicron – have become key factors in ongoing efforts to bring COVID-19 under control.
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The COVID-19 Faculty Of Medicine Response Fund was established to financially support research and educational initiatives at the Faculty of Medicine that impact the fight against COVID-19.