1659-1734 Doctor Michel Sarrazin “The First Canadian Physiologist”

The Sarrazin lectureship was initiated in 1976, by the Society for a “Distinguished Speaker” to give a 1 hour lecture to the Society at its meeting and that the Lectureship would be called the “Sarrazin Lecture” in recognition of “the First Canadian Physiologist”.

Although nominations were initially solicited from the membership and the Lecturer selected by the Executive, it was subsequently felt appropriate for the outgoing President of the Society to be charged with making the selection of the speaker for the subsequent Annual Meeting.

The first Sarrazin Lecturer was Dr. Harold Copp, who presented his lecture at the Winter Meeting of the Society in 1977.



2017 Sarrazin Lecturer

Serge Rossignol, MD, PhD


Academic: Born in Montreal in 1942, Serge Rossignol received an MD in 1967 and an MSc (1969) from Université de Montréal (Drs M. Colonnier & J.-P. Cordeau), a PhD at McGill University ( Dr G. Melvill Jones) in 1973 and did postdoctoral studies in Sweden (Dr Sten Grillner) from 1973-75. He is Full Professor in the Department of Neurosciences (formerly Department of Physiology) in the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Montréal since 1983.

Leadership: Dr. Rossignol held a Canada Research Chair on the Spinal Cord for two terms (2001-2015). He has been previously director of the Center for Research in Neurological Sciences at Université de Montréal, director of the MRC Research Group in neurological sciences (1992-2003), director of the Research Group on the Central nervous System (funded by the Fond de la Recherche sur le Système Nerveux Central (1996-2003). He directed the National Center of Excellence training program (1990-1998) and was director of the Provincial Network on Neuroscience and Mental Health (2002-2005). He directed the SensoriMotor Rehabilitation Group Team (SMRRT team, 30 members) funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (from 2005-2015) devoted to understanding locomotor rehabilitation in animal models and humans after spinal cord injury and stroke (http://www.errsm.ca/en/homepage.html).

Supervision: Dr. Rossignol has supervised 12 MSc students, 12 PhD students and 18 Post-doctoral students and has hosted several scientists for various periods.

Research topics: Studies on locomotor mechanisms with a particular emphasis on the recovery of locomotion after spinal cord lesions, mainly in animal models (cats, rats, mice) using electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology and imaging approaches.

Funding: Dr. Rossignol has been continually funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research since 1975 and his last grant was awarded for 5 years until 2018. He has also received funding in the past from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Wings for Life Foundation, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Institut de la Recherche sur la Moelle et l’Encéphale (IRME in France), Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the National Network of Centers of Excellence

Scientific contributions: 154 peered-reviewed articles, 35 book chapters, edition of 9 books or special issues and published 346 abstracts. Throughout his career, he has given 134 seminars or named lectures, participated in 188 symposia, has organized or chaired 57 sessions within symposia. He has organized 3 international symposia on motor control in Montreal including an international symposium in May 2014 on Sensorimotor Rehabilitation: at the Crossroads of Basic and clinical sciences (Progress in Brain research, vol 218).

Honours: Léo-Pariseau Prize (ACFAS 1998) Christopher Reeve Medal and Prize (1999), with R, Edgerton, Canada Research Chair on the Spinal cord (2001-2008, 2008-2015), Officier de l’Ordre national du Québec (OQ, 2002), Ipsen Prize for Neural Plasticity (2003) with Clarac and S. Grillner, Finalist-CIHR Michael Smith Prize (2004), Fellow-Canadian Academy of Health Sciences-(CAHS, 2006), Honoris causa doctorate, U Waterloo (2006), Michel Sarrazin Prize from the Quebec Research Club (2008), Champion of Change in Toronto by the 6th National Spinal Cord Injury Conference (2014).



Sarrazin Lecturers


  1. 1977. Harold A. Copp (University of British Columbia) “Calcitonin and the regulation of internal calcium levels” Banff, Alberta.
  2. 1978. L.B. Jacques (University of Saskatchewan) “Heparin: its medical and physiological significance” Mont Ste. Marie, Québec.<
  3. 1979. F.C. (Hank) MacIntosh (McGill University) “The age of bioassay” or “My early stumbles on the trail of histamine and acetylcholine” Mount Orford, Québec.
  4. 1980. Herbert H. Jasper (McGill University, Université de Montréal) “Adventures of a neuroscientist” Banff, Alberta.
  5. 1981. Hans Selye (Université de Montréal) Award made (address to the Society not made due to illness). Ste. Adèle, Québec.
  6. 1982. A.M. Rappaport (University of Toronto) “The idea behind it all” Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne), Québec.
  7. 1983. Jack Kraicer (Queen’s University) “Mechanisms governing the release of growth hormone: Role of cyclic nucleotides and Ca2+” Vernon, British Columbia.
  8. 1984. Kresimir Krnjevic (McGill University) “Travels in physiology” Ste. Adèle, Québec.
  9. 1985. Hugh McLennan (University of British Columbia) “Michel Sarrazin, 1659-1734” Mont Rolland, Québec.
  10. 1986. Keith E. Cooper (University of Calgary) “Adventures in thermoregulation” Lake Louise, Alberta.
  11. 1987. Henry Friesen (University of Manitoba) ” Reflections on a snowy evening” Ste. Adèle, Québec.
  12. 1988. Vivian C. Abrahams (Queen’s University) “Early days in the making of one physiologist”. Ste. Jovite (Mt. Tremblant), Québec.
  13. 1989. John C. Brown (University of British Columbia) “The gastrointestinal hormones motilin and GIP” Whistler, British Columbia.
  14. 1990. Fernand Labrie (Université Laval) “Peripheral tissues are important sites of sex steroid formation in the human: A new field of endocrinology which extends from gene structure to therapy that prolongs life in prostate cancer” Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne),.Québec.
  15. 1991. Gordon J. Mogenson (University of Western Ontario) “Some aspects of limbic-motor integration: dopamine modulation of limbic inputs to ventral striatal neurons” Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne), Québec.
  16. 1992. Yves Lamarre (Université de Montréal) “Central mechanisms of tremor” Kimberley, British Columbia.
  17. 1993. Andrew S. French (University of Alberta) “The cockroach tactile spine” Ste. Jovite (Mt. Tremblant), Québec.
  18. 1994. John Ledsome (University of British Columbia) “The cardiac atria and the homeostasis of extracellular fluid volume” Lake Louise, Alberta.
  19. 1995. Jack Diamond (MacMaster University) Ste. Jovite (Mt. Tremblant), Québec.
  20. 1996. Geza T. Hetenyi (University of Ottawa) “The sweetness of life: glucose homeostasis” Lake Louise, Alberta.
  21. 1997. John C. Szerb (Dalhousie University) “When the going was good” Mont. Gabriel, Québec.
  22. 1998. Leo P. Renaud (University of Ottawa) “The “NEURO” in neuroendocrine: what’s it got for physiologists?” Kimberley, BC.
  23. 1999. Michel Bergeron (Université de Montréal) “Cellular organization, organelle interrelationship: Terra nova.” Marble Mountain, Newfoundland.
  24. 2000. James P. Lund (McGill University, Université de Montréal) “Revelling in the joys of mastication”, Lake Louise, Alberta.
  25. 2001. Richard B. Stein (University of Alberta) “A personal odyssey from physics to physiology and prosthetics”, Mont Tremblant, Québec.
  26. 2002. Geoffry Melvill Jones (University of Calgary, McGill University) “Thrills and spills in a parapetitic life of messing about in labs”, Silver Star, BC.
  27. 2003. Harold L. Atwood (University of Toronto) “Insight by accident or insight by design?” Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne), Québec.
  28. 2004. John R. Challis (University of Toronto) “Preterm birth, fetal glucocorticoids, and the developmental programming of health and disease (DOHAD)”, Silver Star, BC.
  29. 2005. Alison M. Buchan (University of British Columbia) “A physiologist’s journey from neuroendocrinology to infectious diseases.” Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne), Québec.
  30. 2006. Alvin Shrier (McGill University) “The beat goes on”. Lake Louise, Alberta.
  31. 2007. Keir Pearson (University of Alberta) “Neurobiology of locomotion.” Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne), Québec.
  32. 2008. Quentin Pittman (University of Calgary) “Some like it hot: an inflammatory view of physiology”. Lake Louise, Alberta.
  33. 2009 John MacDonald (University of Western Ontario) “Adventures in NMDA receptors, phosphorylation and hippocampal synaptic plasticity”. Beaupré (Mont Sainte-Anne), Québec.
  34. 2010 Terrance P Snutch (University of British Columbia).  Halifax, N.S.
  35. 2011 Bruce McManus (University of British Columbia).  Ste. Adele, Quebec.
  36. 2012 Duncan Stewart (University of Ottawa).  Toronto, Ontario.
  37. 2013  No Award
  38. 2014  No Award
  39. 2015  Kathleen Cullen (McGill University).  “”Where are we going? Sensing self-motion for perception and action.”  Vancouver, B.C.
  40. 2016 Douglas Crawford (York University). Toronto, Ontario.
  41. 2017 Serge Rossignol (Universite de Montreal). “The spinal brain.”  Montreal, Quebec.