It was upon his return from a postdoctoral training at Stanford University that Dr. Jacques Montplaisir founded the Sleep Disorder Center at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montr.al. The center had only one sleep recording room for patients and research project volunteers. The staff only included one coordinator, Mireille Charron, who held this position until her retirement in 2018. The center's main research themes were narcolepsy and epilepsy.
Marie Laverdière was the first student to obtain her doctorate under Dr. Jacques Montplaisir supervision. In the following years, Marie Dumont and Roger Godbout carried out their doctoral studies. At the same time, Gaétan Poirier completed his master's degree in neuroscience and then worked as a research assistant and software programmer. He played a major role in technological developments until his retirement in 2020. The lab was initially dedicated to sleep research. However, on occasion, Dr. Montplaisir received patients with various sleep pathologies. Over the years, consultation requests have increased, and the laboratory has gradually acquired a dual vocation of research and clinic. Le laboratoire était initialement dédié à la recherche sur le sommeil. Toutefois, à l’occasion, le Dr Montplaisir recevait en consultation des patients présentant diverses pathologies du sommeil. Au fil des années, les demandes de consultation ont augmenté et le laboratoire a acquis progressivement une double vocation de recherche et de clinique.
Upon returning from a postdoctoral training at the Harvard University, Marie Dumont founded the Chronobiology Laboratory. Roger Godbout pursued postdoctoral studies at McGill University and then at the Collège de France. On his return, he developed a research program on sleep and psychiatric diseases. At the same time, two postdoctoral fellows, Tore Nielsen and Dominique Lorrain, and a doctoral student, Dominique Petit, joined the team. Tore Nielsen later founded the Dreams and Nightmares Laboratory. Gilles Lavigne, returning from an internship at the National Institute of Health, joined the center where he developed a research program on bruxism, sleep and pain.
Our researchers obtained a large group grant from the Medical Research Council. This grant has played a vital role in stabilizing and growing our infrastructure. In the following years, it was renewed and enhanced by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research until the program end in 2010.
The center's facilities are becoming insufficient for the growing team. Julie Carrier was returning from a postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh and established a research program on sleep and aging. Antonio Zadra, a dream and sleepwalking researcher, also joined the group. The center then took possession of new, completely renovated laboratories at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal. The sleep (5 rooms), chronobiology (3 temporal isolation rooms) and dreams and nightmares (2 rooms) laboratories are still operational today.
In the 2000s, the center recruited a cardiologist, Paola Lanfranchi, who developed a research program on cardiovascular functioning in normal and pathological sleep, as well as Jean-François Gagnon and Ronald Postuma who studied REM sleep behavior disorder and Parkinson’s disease.
The group received a $ 5 million grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation which allowed the construction of a new wing at the Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal. This new construction, completed in 2010, is devoted, among other things, to the study of brain function following traumatic brain injury. It also houses an olfactory laboratory as well as a transcranial magnetic stimulation laboratory. There is also a laboratory dedicated to sleep-pain interactions.
The group welcomed two new researchers, Valérie Mongrain, who is setting up a laboratory to study molecular sleep regulation, and Nadia Gosselin, who specializes in the neuropsychology of sleep disorders, degenerative diseases and head trauma. Dr. Alex Desautels, neurologist, will also join the group, who will take charge of the Sleep Disorder Clinic. The group highlights the important contribution to the study of cardiovascular functioning in sleep by Paola Lanfranchi, who left the CARSM in 2012.
The CARSM continues to grow up with the arrival of Marie-Hélène Pennestri (infant sleep), Jonathan Brouillette (sleep, memory and aging), Steve Gibbs (neurologist expert in sleep and epilepsy), and Jean-Marc Lina (signal analysis EEG). The recruitment of Simon Warby enabled the creation of the Canadian Sleep Disorders Biobank which is managed and hosted in our floor. The CARSM also brings together some forty master's, doctoral or postdoctoral students. New researchers, Guido Simonelli and Catherine Duclos, will join the group to develop the socio-cultural aspects of sleep and research on states of consciousness. Evelyne Touchette is also joining our group to study sleep in children and teenagers.