Cynthia Gagnon

Visiting Professor, uOttawa and CHEO-RI

Professor, Sherbrooke University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

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Cynthia is a senior career-award researcher specializing in adult genetic neuromuscular disorders. She holds a professorial appointment at the School of Rehabilitation at the University of Sherbrooke. She is the scientific director of the Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire sur les maladies neuromusculaires (GRIMN) and is a researcher at the Centre de recherche Charles-Le Moyne-Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean sur les innovations en santé.
Cynthia trained as an occupational therapist at McGill University. She has a doctoral degree in experimental medicine from Laval University and pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in program evaluation at Montreal University.

Her work aims at improving clinical care and speeding up trial readiness in the most prevalent neuromuscular diseases in Canada. Her main interest is to document the natural history of the disease through an interdisciplinary perspective to be able to document the progression of the disease and to identify significant predictor and explanatory factors related to participation in daily activities and social roles of patients such as work and autonomous living. Her other interest is to define the best outcome measures to assess potential therapeutic targets such as muscle strength, fatigue or cognitive functions. She also works on developing knowledge translation strategies related to rare diseases to insure effective and just-in-time knowledge translation to the interdisciplinary team through different strategies including wiki, articles, clinical practice guidelines to improve clinical care for patients and their families.

She is involved in several international projects focusing on myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1), oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy (OPMD) and autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS).

Cynthia is a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa and CHEO Research Institute for 2020 and works with the Lochmüller Lab team on areas of shared interest including patient registries, natural history studies and biobanking, as well as the newly funded NMD4C neuromuscular disease network for Canada, where she leads the knowledge translation work. She will also bring her extensive myotonic dystrophy patient cohorts into the work underway to identify potential biomarkers in myotonic dystrophy type 1.