Program Overview

The Child Health and Human Development Program (CHHD) was created after collective reflection in several key areas. Since early life events and factors have the potential to dictate lifelong human health, it is essential to increase our understanding of these factors in order to develop novel detection methods and therapies. Besides needing to learn more about genetics and developmental processes, we are now starting to see that early environmental factors may modulate epigenetic changes that can affect health changes decades later. Chronic childhood disease also plays a role in cognitive and identity development, underlining the need to amalgamate the strengths of researchers in many disciplines into a single, unified program. The CHHD Program therefore builds on four main themes that study different aspects of child health and human development: 

  • Human reproduction and development 
  • Molecular and cellular determinants of child health 
  • Neuropsychological and vision health
  • Health outcomes in childhood disease.
Leadership and Management

The Child Health and Human Development Program has a management committee composed of the program leadership, representatives from the Centre for Translational Biology (CTB) and Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE), external members and trainees. This committee meets four times a year to discuss program-related concerns, problems, and strategy. Committee members include:

Kolja Eppert, PhD: Program Co-Leader

Isabelle Gagnon, PhD: Program Co-Leader

Fanny Toussaint, PhD: Program Manager 

Dr. Indra Gupta: CTB Representative

Dr. Evelyn Constantin: CORE Representative 

Ciriaco Piccirillo, PhD: External Member

Program Leaders and Management

Fanny Toussaint, PhD, obtained her doctorate in physiology from the Université de Montréal. She accumulated seven years of biomedical research experience at the Montreal Heart Institute Research Centre and developed a strong expertise in microscopy and imaging. Her studies focused on endothelium physiology and its calcium dynamics as well as arterial pressure regulation mechanisms. Following her graduate studies, Fanny Toussaint provided overall operational leadership in a non-profit organization whose mission is to develop a taste for science during elementary and secondary studies. Thus, in addition to her scientific background, she acquired various expertise in project management, human and financial resources management and events coordination.