Research project

Design of luminescent and Raman sensors for in vivo monitoring of microbiome biomarkers

Project Description

Obesity, cardiometabolic diseases and mental health disorders are major public health issues among indigenous populations in the Canadian North. There is growing evidence that the increasing prevalence of these diseases correlates with recent perturbations of the Northern environment – including dietary changes – and with changes in the gut microbiome. Part of a transdisciplinary team of seasoned scientists, the graduate student will work on the development of new optical molecular sensors selective to certain microbiome metabolites. These sensors will allow to monitor, in vivo and with high spatial and temporal resolution, key molecules that play a major role in host-microbial interactions in the gastrointestinal tract, and to elucidate the beneficial role of certain country foods rich in, e.g., polyphenols and omega-3 fatty acids.

This project is funded by Sentinel North, a novel transdisciplinary program that encourages a convergence of expertise in which Université Laval plays a leadership role, in order to develop novel technologies and improve our understanding of the northern environment and its impact on human beings and their health.

One of the major objectives of Sentinel North is to help train the next generation of specialists needed to address the complex challenges facing the changing North. Students involved in this highly transdisciplinary environment will join a learning community fed by an innovative training program that promotes networking and knowledge sharing. Several internship and mobility scholarship opportunities are also offered.

Sentinel North is made possible thanks in part to funding from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

Research Field

- Raman and luminescence spectroscopy
- Nanomaterials synthesis and characterization
- Biosensors and bioanalytical chemistry
- Nutrition and functional foods

Research Supervisor

Denis Boudreau

Research Environment

Centre for Optics, Photonics and Laser (COPL) / Institute of Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF), Université Laval

COPL is at the forefront of research in Canada on novel optical and photonic materials. INAF is the largest group of researchers in Canada dedicated entirely to foods and the complex interactions between food components, nutrition and health. The Boudreau group specializes in the synthesis, characterization and application of optically active nanomaterials used in the design of various sensors for various chemical and biochemical targets of interest in biomedical and environmental science and technology. The Marette group is one of the world's leading labs on the gut microbiota's role in pathogenic mechanisms leading to obesity and cardiometabolic diseases.

Web Site


Related Programs

Doctorate in Biophotonics

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

$20000 per year for 3 years.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Achievement Scholarships

Plan Steps Incentive
Progression studentship
7 x $500
Doctoral exam or seminar presentation
$750
Doctoral exam, seminar or conference
$1,000
Publication
$750
Communication
$1,000
Initial thesis submission
$1,000*
Total $8,500

*A $ 500 bonus will be added to the studentship for graduation if the initial deposit is made before the session that precedes the maximum qualifying session.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Université Laval Doctoral Admission Scholarship  $2,000
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 
3 x $10,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,250
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$21,000 to $50,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $30,000.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Doctorate in Chemistry

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

$20000 per year for 3 years.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Achievement Scholarships

Plan Steps Incentive
Progression studentship
7 x $500
Doctoral exam or seminar presentation
$750
Doctoral exam, seminar or conference
$1,000
Publication
$750
Communication
$1,000
Initial thesis submission
$1,000*
Total $8,500

*A $ 500 bonus will be added to the studentship for graduation if the initial deposit is made before the session that precedes the maximum qualifying session.

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Funding source Amount
Université Laval Doctoral Admission Scholarship  $2,000
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 
3 x $10,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,250
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies   
$21,000 to $50,000$
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Supplemental Tuition Fee Exemption Scholarship Program: Entitles international students to pay Canadian student tuition fees, for overall savings of around $30,000.

* Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Master's in Biophotonics - with dissertation

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

$16000 per year for 2 years.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Achievement Scholarships

Plan Steps Incentive
Evaluated activity
$650
Achievement scholarship
$1,000
Total $1,650

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 2 x $5,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,250
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$14,100 to $21,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Master's Scholarships for International StudentsThese scholarships are available in a number of programs to students from Africa and Europe, excluding France. This scholarship of $7,000 per year is awarded based on university academic achievement * Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Master's in Chemistry - with dissertation

Program description

Financial aid available*

Financial aid related to research project

$16000 per year for 2 years.

Program-Specific Financial Aid

Achievement Scholarships

Plan Steps Incentive
Evaluated activity
$650
Achievement scholarship
$1,000
Total $1,650

Université Laval: Student Financial Aid

Sources de financement Montant
Leadership and Sustainable Development Scholarships 2 x $5,000
Mobility Grant for Out-of-Province Internships (in French)
$1,250
Graduate Scholarships from Granting Agencies
$14,100 to $21,000
Online Directory of Graduate Scholarships (in French)
$500 to $50,000

Master's Scholarships for International StudentsThese scholarships are available in a number of programs to students from Africa and Europe, excluding France. This scholarship of $7,000 per year is awarded based on university academic achievement * Amounts shown represent maximum financial aid available. Certain conditions apply. Subject to change without prior notice. For further information, contact sponsoring organizations directly.

Desired Profile

- Chemistry
- Physics Engineering

Requirements and Conditions

- Excellent grades
- Prior research experience is a plus (summer internship, for example)
- Curiosity, autonomy, resoursefulness
- A passion for scientific research, and the desire to work in a transdisciplinary environment (chemistry, physics, nutrition, medical sciences) are absolute musts

Required Documentation

- Text about research interests
- Lettre de recommandation
- Cover letter
- Curriculum vitæ
- Student transcript

Find Out More

Denis Boudreau
Professeur
Département de chimie
denis.boudreau@chm.ulaval.ca