Affiliated with Université Laval & CERVO Research Centre


Yves De Koninck wins the Wilder Penfield award

Yves De Koninck, Director of the CERVO Research Centre, winner of the Wilder Penfield Award, one of the Prix du Québec.

Prix du Québec prizes are the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Québec in culture and science. They recognize the exceptional achievements of individuals who contribute to the development of their field of activity, push back the limits of knowledge and make Quebec shine on a national and international scale.

Annie Castonguay wins the 1st prize of the Research Professionals Excellence Awards 2021 from the FRQS

Annie Castonguay

Congratulations to Annie Castonguay, who wins the 1st prize of the Research Professionals Excellence Awards 2021. 

Annie Castonguay holds a PhD in neurological sciences from Université de Montréal and carried out her postdoctoral training in neurobiology at Université Laval with financial support from the FRQS.

Utiliser la lumière, des protéines et des virus pour soigner les maladies neuronales

Une équipe de 14 chercheurs provenant de 6 universités canadiennes a obtenu 4,3M$ pour perfectionner des outils génétiques, optiques et viraux qui ouvrent de nouvelles perspectives dans l'étude et le traitement des troubles neuronaux. Ces outils pourraient un jour profiter aux personnes souffrant de maladies telles que le parkinson, l'épilepsie, les douleurs chroniques ainsi que certains types de cécité ou de surdité.

Yves De Koninck wins an Education Award from the Society for Neuroscience

Yves De Koninck wins SfN Education Award

Press release from the Society for Neuroscience 2020-10-29 

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) will present Yves De Koninck, PhD, and Liqun Luo, PhD, with this year’s Awards for Education in Neuroscience. The award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to neuroscience education and training and will be presented during SfN’s Awards Announcement Week 2020.

Melina Papalampropoulou-Tsiridou will be one of the hosts of the first Nature Careers videoconference, May 27, 2020

Mark your calendars for May 27, 2020, to make sure you do not miss the first videoconference in the Nature Careers series, designed to help researchers in the environment of teleworking and managing the current pandemic. The YDKlab's own Melina will be one of the hosts of this event. You can register here for How to work from home effectively as an early career researcher presented by Nature Careers on 

New article in nature's career column by Melina Papalampropoulou-Tsiridou, PhD candidate in the YDKlab

"Stay productive by setting a routine, identifying a workspace and getting dressed, says Melina Papalampropoulou-Tsiridou."

At the moment, staying motivated can be tough. Many scientists have admitted this on social media or in online meetings. I’ve struggled to follow a consistent routine and to be productive, thinking twice about getting dressed in the morning while wondering, “What’s the point?” This is especially true when we’re surrounded by distractions at home — a place usually kept away from work.

Dr. Sahara Khademullah receives $165,000 award for ALS research in YDKlab

The ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada), together with Brain Canada, announced a new trainee award to Dr. Sahara Khademullah, post-doctoral research in the lab.  ALS Canada was also pleased to partner with La Fondation Vincent Bourque who will be providing financial support for Dr. Khademullah's award. This grant has been awarded with the aim of sustaining high-quality Canadian ALS research by providing salary support for the next generation of ALS researchers currently pursuing PhDs or postdoctoral research positions.

Yves De Koninck will receive the 2019 Emily Gray award from the Biophysical Society

The Biophysical Society (BPS) announced that Yves De Koninck will receive the Emily M Gray Award at the Society's annual meeting in Baltimore on March 4th, 2019. From the BPS press release:

De Koninck will be recognized for his work in the development of internationally renowned, transdisciplinary training initiatives in neurophysics and neurophotonics that have provided hands-on training for numerous students and postdoctoral fellows.

Yves De Koninck wins the Brockhouse Canada Prize for Interdisciplinary Research in Science and Engineering

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Science Minister Kirsty Duncan meet the 2018 NSERC prize winner in Ottawa May 1st.

Congratulations to Yves De Koninck, who has won, with a team of colleagues from the CERVO Brain Research Centre and the Centre d'optique, photonique et laser (COPL), a prestigious prize for interdisciplinary research, given by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Brockhouse prize.  The winning team includes Daniel Côté, Yves De Koninck, Michel Piché, Younès Messaddeq, Benoit Gosselin and Réal Vallée.  It is rewarded for its innovative to understanding brain function through the development of new technologies that leverage the expertise of p

Robert Bonin - Jeune chercheur étoile FRQ-S in Curium

A report about Robert Bonin was published in Curium, a scientific magazine targeting youth.  In the article, professor Bonin explains what is chronic pain, and results of his research to better understand it, and to improve its treatment.  Read the article here (in French only):  Robert Bonin - Jeune chercheur étoiles des Fonds de recherche du Québec


Yves De Koninck and Rob Bonin honoured at the Canadian Pain Society Meeting

Robert Bonin and Yves De Koninck

The Canadian Pain Society highlighted the research accomplishments of Yves De Koninck and Robert Bonin, a YDK lab alumnus and professor at University of Toronto, at their annual meeting, which took place May 23-26 in Halifax.  Congratulations to Professor De Koninck, who received the Distinguished Career Award, and to Professor Bonin, who received the Early Career Investigator Pain Research Grant. 

Yves De Koninck explique ses découvertes récentes à la radio

Écoutez une entrevue récente avec Yves De Koninck qui explique comment ses recherches récentes ont permis de trouver une cible thérapeutique qui permettrait de diminuer les symptômes du sevrage aux opioïdes, comme la morphine et le fentanyl.  Cette découverte, qui a aussi permis d'identifier des médicaments déjà approuvés pour l'utilisation chez l'humain, pourrait permettre d'accélérer l'approbation de médicaments pour traiter les symptômes du sevrage de plusieurs années.

Écoutez l'entrevue sur

New publication in Nature Medicine shows existing drugs can alleviate morphine withdrawal

A recent publication in Nature Medicine co-authored by Robert Bonin and Yves De Koninck offers new hope for people addicted to morphine and fentanyl.  By  investigating the underlying causes of withdrawal symptoms, the researchers identified a protein located in immune cells of the spinal cord called pannexin-1 as a major player, which lead them to look for drugs that block pannexin-1 as a way to alleviate symptoms.  The team found a drug previously approved to treat gout, called probenecid, that worked in this way.

Knitting neurons - in the top 10 discoveries of 2016 for Québec Science

A discovery made in collaboration with Yves De Koninck of the Neurophotonics Centre has been listed as one of the top 10 discoveries of 2016 by Québec Science, and is a candidate for the magazine's people's choice award for discovery of the year. This discovery, a collaboration between neuroscientists and physicists, offers hope for repair of nerve connections, and even a way to create new ones.  

Yves De Koninck will receive the Distinguished Career Award from the Canadian Pain Society

The director of the Neurophotonics Centre, Yves De Koninck, will receive the Canadian Pain Society's 2017 Distinguished Career Award. This award recognizes Dr. De Koninck's longstanding contributions to pain research.
The award will be given at the next Canadian Pain Society meeting, in May 2017 in Halifax.

Cover of Journal of Neuroscience

The Journal of Neuroscience has recently featured on its front page a figure from an article De Koninck laboratory members contributed to. The article studies the localisation of a specific receptor on neurons, the Coxsackievirus Adenovirus Receptor (CAR), in healthy brains, but also during development and in neurodegenerative disease conditions. The study suggests CAR has a role in adult neurogenesis, synapses, and plasticity in the hippocampus.

Sentinel North featured in Le Devoir newspaper

Sentinel North, a research initiative led by Yves De Koninck and Marcel Babin from Université Laval, and funded through the Canada First Research Excellence Fund, aims to better understand the Canadian North through the use of advanced optics technologies.  Its goal is to improve our understanding of humanity, its environment and the impact environmental changes are having on humans and their health in the North. Sentinel North was recently awarded $98 million over seven years, the largest subsidy in the history of Université Laval.

We celebrate 10 years of optogenetics research with Karl Deisseroth

Karl Deisseroth, Yves De Koninck, Valentin Nagerl

We had the pleasure to celebrate the 10th anniversary of optogenetics research with Karl Deisseroth, who delivered the Keynote and Public lecture at the recent Frontiers in Neurophotonics Symposium.  FINS2015 was held October 3-6 in Québec city.

On the picture, Karl Deisseroth, Yves De Koninck and Valentin Nägerl celebrate with a 10th anniversary cake.  

Yves De Koninck appointed to the Royal Society of Canada

Yves De Koninck was recently appointed to the Royal Society of Canada for "seminal contributions to understanding how neurons communicate at the cellular and molecular levels, in normal and pathological pain. Equally ground-breaking are his contributions to developing novel photonics technologies to push the frontiers of neuroscience".

View the Royal Society of Canada - Class of 2015 full listing.


24h de sciences - interview with Yves De Koninck at Canal M

The Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec participate in the  24 heures de sciences event by hosting an open house event on May 9 2015.  On this occasion, Marianne Paquette interviewed Yves De Koninck to talk about the workings of the brain.  Listen to the interview, in French, here:   Émission c’est bon pour la santé! | Comprendre son cerveau -Yves De Koninck avec Marianne Paquette

Launch Meeting of the Canadian Neurophotonics Platform

Neurophotonics Platform launch meeting

The Canadian Neurophotonics Platform, a multicentre research initiative led by Yves De Koninck, held its lauch meeting December 16-17 2014 in Québec city.  

This initiative, which was awarded 3,3M$ from the Canadian Brain Research Fund, aims to bring together expertise from across Canada to develop and maximize exploitation of leading-edge photonics technologies for the study, diagnostics and treatment of brain diseases.

Scientific American World changing ideas 2014: Prospects for treating chronic pain are improving

Recent discoveries from the De Koninck lab are cited in a article about new propects for treating pain in the 2014 end of year edition of Scientific American, devoted to world-changin ideas.

Read it here (subscription required)

Yves De Koninck wins 2014 Barbara Turnbull awards for spinal cord research

Yves De Koninck has been awarded the 2014 Barbara Turnbull awards for spinal cord research.  This prize is supported through a partnership between the Barbara Turnbull Foundation for Spinal Cord Research, Brain Canada, and the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction.  It is the top prize in spinal cord injury research awarded in Canada each year.

Discovery of a new means to erase pain

A study published in the scientific journal Nature Neuroscience by Yves De Koninck and Robert Bonin reveals that it is possible to relieve pain hypersensitivity using a new method that involves rekindling pain so that it can subsequently be erased. This discovery could lead to novel means to alleviate chronic pain.

Université Laval published a press release about this important discovery

Francesco Ferrini wins one of the top 3 Brain Star awards of 2014

Francesco Ferrini, Post-Doctoral fellow Yves De Koninck's laboratory, was recognized as one of the top three Brain Star awardees of 2014 by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, for an article published in Nature Neuroscience (Ferrini, Trang et al.). This prize was shared with Tuan Trang, co-first author of the publication.

Marc Bergeron and Martin Gagnon receive Marlene Reimer Brain Star of the Year award at CAN2014

Yves De Koninck, Marc Bergeron and Sam David

Marc Bergeron received the Marlene Reimer Brain Star of the year award at the 8th Annual Canadian Association for Neuroscience meeting. This award is given to the highest ranking Brain Star Award of the year. Brain Star awards are given by the Institutes of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction of the CIHR and are designed to recognize the excellence of research done in Canada by students and trainees in all fields and disciplines covered by the Institute.

Images by Louis-Etienne Lorenzo, Feng Wang and Erik Bélanger finalists for the ACFAS 2014 image contest

image by L-E Lorenzo
image by Feng Wang and Erik Bélanger

Two images from the YDK lab are finalists for the ACFAS 2014 image contest:  "Un portrait de la douleur", by Louis-Étienne Lorenzo, and "Dans le vif du sujet" by Feng Wang and Erik Bélanger.

View all the images in the contest here:

Québec Science Top 10 discoveries of 2013 for discovery of mechanism explaining morphine induced hyperalgesia

Recent discoveries  explaining the mechanism of morphine induced hyperalgesia have been named one of the top 10 discoveries of 2013 by Québec Science.

Congratulations to co-first authors Francesco Ferrini & Tuan Trang and the rest of the team! 

Top 10 scientific breakthroughs of 2013 - Le Soleil: Chronic Pain under siege

Research done in the YDK lab are recognized as one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2013, according to Le Soleil newspaper: 

Identifying the part of the cell that causes a disease. Understanding where, exactly, the mechanism breaks.  Finding a drug to repair it.  In biomedical research, this is probably what approaches the definition of a »hat trick» And it is what the team of Yves De Koninck, neuroscientist at Université Laval, have just done in the fight against chronic pain.

Discovery of a new drug target for chronic pain and other neurological disorders

The identification of compounds that can restore normal chloride levels in cells shows promise to treat several neurological and psychiatric disorders, including epilepsy, motor spasticity, stress, anxiety, schizophrenia, morphine-induced hyperalgesia and chronic pain.  New results published by the De Koninck laboratory in Nature Medicine shows one such compounds was able to alleviate hypersensitivity in a rat chronic pain model.

Yves De Koninck receives the Jacques-Rousseau prize for multidisciplinarity

ACFAS has awarded Yves De Koninck the Jacques-Rousseau prize, for multidisciplinarity.  This prize was created to highlight the work of a researchers whose accomplishments have gone beyond his area of expertise and has built bridges between disciplines.  This award recognizes the efforts made by Dr De Koninck over the last 10 years to link neurosciences and optics-photonics.

Uncovering how morphine increases pain in some people

Recent discoveries published in Nature Neuroscience "identifies a molecular pathway by which morphine can increase pain, and suggests potential new ways to make morphine effective for more patients" says Yves De Koninck, senior author of the paper. 

The research not only identifies a target pathway to suppress morphine-induced pain but teases apart the pain hypersensitivity caused by morphine from tolerance to morphine, two phenomena previously considered to be caused by the same mechanisms.

Le Monde selon Yves De Koninck - Musée de la civilisation du Québec

Le bioneurologue Yves De Koninck fait partie de l'équipe de chercheurs du Centre d'optique, photonique et laser de l'Université Laval grâce à laquelle on peut dorénavant observer en direct les échanges entre les cellules du cerveau.

Il pose sur le monde actuel, son regard de scientifique passionné pour l'infiniment petit. Qu'y a-t-il dans le cerveau d'Yves De Koninck?

Lauréat Le Soleil: Yves De Koninck les deux pieds dans le savoir


Yves De Koninck is the personality of the week Le Soleil for the week of Februray 12, 2012, for the development of a microprobe.  This discovery was also named one of the ten discoveries of the year by Québec Science.  Read an interview by Jean-François Cliche with Yves De Koninck here (in French):

Discoveries of the year Québec Science 2003: Découverte d'un mécanisme expliquant la douleur chronique

2003: Découverte d'un mécanisme expliquant la douleur chronique

For the discovery that the pain hypersensitivity of people suffering from neuropathic pain could be due to a reversal of the mechanisms that suppress pain signals in the spinal cord.  

Original research article: