Frédéric Picard, PhD
Associate Professor of Pharmacy
Dr Frédéric Picard holds a PhD from Laval University, Quebec City, specialized
in the physiology and endocrinology of lipid metabolism in conditions of obesity and insulin
resistance. His first postdoctoral training in Johan Auwerx’s laboratory (IGBMB, Strasbourg, France)
has been characterized by pioneer studies on the molecular regulation of energy metabolism by nuclear
cofactors. His article in Cell (2002) was acknowledged by one of the reviewers as “the new gold
standard” for molecular physiology papers. His co-authored article in Molecular Cell (2001) was a
significant proof-of-concept that differential recruitment of nuclear cofactors to PPARgamma was a novel
approach in the design of second-generation anti-diabetes drugs. In November 2002, Dr Picard joined the
team of Leonard Guarente at MIT (Boston), a leader in the field of the molecular biology of aging. Dr
Picard made the discovery that SIRT1 acts as a crucial link between aging and changes in the biology of
white adipose tissue (published in Nature June 2004). In 2004, Dr Picard set up his lab as a CIHR New
Investigator at the Institut universitaire de cardiologie et de pneumologie de Québec. His work is at
the edge of metabolic diseases and aging, using several models (C. elegans, cultured cells, knockout
mice, humans tissues) to unravel the molecular pathways evolutionary conserved that link aging and
changes in energy metabolism.
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Selected Scientific Contributions
Richard D, Picard F. Brown fat biology and
thermogenesis. Frontiers in Bioscience 16:1233-1260, 2011.
Miard S, Dombrowski L, Carter S, Boivin L, Picard F. Aging
alters PPARgamma in rodent and human adipose tissue by modulating the balance in SRC-1.
Aging Cell 8:449-459, 2009.
Um SH, Frigerio F, Watanabe M, Picard F, Joaquin M, Sticker M,
Fumagalli S, Allegrini PR, Kozma SC, Auwerx J, Thomas G. Absence of S6K1 protects against age
and diet-induced obesity while enhancing insulin sensitivity. Nature 431:200-205, 2004.
Picard F, Kurtev M, Chung N, Topark-Ngarm A, Senawong T, Machado de
Oliveira R, Leid M, McBurney MW, Guarente L. SIRT1 promotes fat mobilization in white adipocytes
by repressing PPARgamma. Nature 429:771-776, 2004.
Picard F, Géhin M, Annicotte J-S, Rocchi S, Champy M-F, O’Malley BW,
Chambon P, Auwerx J. SRC-1 and TIF2 control energy fluxes between white and brown adipose tissues.
Cell 111:931-941, 2002.
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Current projects in the laboratory fall into three areas:
How inflammation promotes alterations in energy metabolism upon aging?
We are especially interested in the effects of B lymphocytes.
What are the transcriptional impact on long non-coding RNAs in adipocytes and
hepatocytes upon aging? We think that lncRNA are a key node that can sense changes in energy
metabolism and modulate gene expression to promote specific adaptations in aging and cancer.
What are the best biomarkers of cardiometabolic diseases in aging? We
seek to define the role and contribution of specific biomarkers circulating in the blood - especially those
influencing the IGF-1 axis - in predicting the risk of age-associated diseases such as obesity, type 2
diabetes, aortic stenosis, insulin resistance, and impaired thermogenesis.
The lab addresses these questions using a wide array of molecular, cellular, and
physiological methodologies in complementary models. We are especially interested to develop new
technologies through patents and partnerships with the industry in order to ultimately help patients.