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Recognized as a world leader in the study of heat shock proteins, Robert Tanguay led an outstanding academic career, during which he made extraordinary contributions to research. During nearly 50 years of scientific achievement, he put Université Laval in the spotlight in Québec and around the world, acting as an ambassador in many respects.

A remarkable career

Dr. Robert Tanguay led a successful career at Université Laval from 1973 to 2020. He played a major role in training the next generation of scientists, supervising 42 graduate students and 20 postdoctoral fellows. In addition to his supervision duties, he taught in a number of Faculty of Medicine programs. Dr. Tanguay was also responsible for seminars in the experimental medicine program and the cellular and molecular biology program.

In the mid-1980s, Dr. Tanguay helped set up graduate programs in cellular and molecular biology. Another major contribution he made to teaching was the introduction of the article-based thesis or dissertation.

Dr. Tanguay maintained intense and sustained academic activities throughout his career. His work had a tremendous impact on basic research and health. In particular, it contributed greatly to the understanding and management of hereditary tyrosinemia type 1, a serious disease with a high prevalence in some regions of Québec, including Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean.

His research on thermal shock proteins and tyrosinemia has been the subject of over 240 publications in prestigious journals, such as Nature and the New England Journal of Medicine, and 500 scientific papers. His findings have been cited 14,000 times, demonstrating the importance of his scientific legacy. Two studies led by Dr. Tanguay were selected as one of the 10 discoveries of the year by Québec Science magazine in 1996 and 2006.

International recognition

His work was supported by numerous Québec, Canadian, American, and international organizations. Thanks to his reputation, he served on numerous assessment committees in Canada and abroad and was a member of Canadian and European research consortia. Over the course of his career, he was a guest speaker at 80 international conferences and delivered over 260 lectures.

Robert Tanguay organized over 25 conferences in Québec City and around the world, earning him the title of Ambassador of the Year in 2009, awarded by Québec City’s Ambassadors’ Club. He was the instigator and co-organizer of a series of international workshops aimed at transferring knowledge in the field of heat shock in developing countries.

Robert Tanguay also passed on his knowledge as a visiting professor at Tongji University in China, which led to a long-standing collaboration. In 1999, he received the Chime Bell Award from Hubei Province in China for his significant contribution to this collaboration. In 2002, the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan awarded him an honorary doctorate for his scientific contributions.

Dr. Tanguay contributed to Université Laval’s reputation and visibility as a visiting professor at McGill University, two German universities, the University of Lyon, and two Japanese universities. In turn, he welcomed 11 visiting professors from Canada and abroad.

All of Dr. Tanguay’s achievements made outstanding contributions to the development of his research fields and Université Laval.