Jacques de Champlain, MD, PhD, FAHA
Dr Jacques de Champlain, world-renowned investigator of the sympathetic nervous system and the role of catecholamines in hypertension, passed away unexpectedly and suddenly while bicycling in Richford, Vermont, on July 15, not far from his farm in Sutton, Québec.
Jacques de Champlain was born in Quebec City, QC, Canada. He graduated as an MD from the University of Montreal in 1962. In 1965 he obtained a PhD in the Department of Investigative Medicine of McGill University under the supervision of J.S.L. Browne while working in the Research Department of Hôtel-Dieu Hospital in Montreal under the direction of Jacques Genest. This department would shortly after become the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM).
Between 1965 and 1968 Jacques did postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md, in the Biochemical Pharmacology Department, on catecholamines and the sympathetic nervous system under Dr Julius Axelrod (Nobel Prize of Medicine, 1970). Back in Québec, he joined the Department of Physiology of the University of Montreal and the Research Center of Sacre-Cœur Hospital. His research on the sympathetic nervous system in the regulation of the cardiovascular system, extended later to oxidative stress, intracellular signaling, and the action of antihypertensive agents in experimental animals and in humans, was supported uninterruptedly by the Medical Research Council of Canada, later called the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. For many years he also received funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. His work gave rise to more than 500 scientific publications. In 2003 Jacques was named Emeritus Professor at the University of Montreal, and he moved his activity to the IRCM, where at the age de 71 he still followed more than 500 hypertensive patients up to 2 weeks before his passing.
Jacques de Champlain was a founding member of the Canadian Hypertension Society and its second President. He was one of the founders of the Quebec Hypertension Society, and its President in 1997 to 1998. He was the President of the Organizing Committee of the highly successful 13th Congress of the International Society of Hypertension in Montréal in June 1990, which attracted 5000 participants from around the world. He was also member of many national and international scientific committees and editorial boards of journals, and an Associate Editor in the past few years of the Journal of Hypertension, official journal of the International and the European Societies of Hypertension.
The scientific work carried out under Jacques’ supervision in hypertension and the cardiovascular field earned him many awards. In 1993, he was elected to the Academy of Science of the Royal Society of Canada, in 1994 he received the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, and in 1996 the Wilder Penfield Award (one of the prestigious Prix du Québec) among many other many prizes and awards. He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1997 and the National Order of Quebec in 1999. He had been a Fellow of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research of the American Heart Association since 1983, and in 2001 he became a Fellow of AHA.
Jacques de Champlain was surrounded by students who admired him and for whom he was a mentor and source of inspiration. He trained 27 masters students and 18 doctoral students in the Department of Physiology of the University of Montreal. He was modest, a humanist, cultured, and able to provide calm, balanced, and well-intentioned suggestions, always associated with a positive attitude and very good judgment. He was at the same time a proud family man, a lover of good food and good wines, and a warm and friendly colleague with whom it was a pleasure to meet.
With the passing of Jacques de Champlain, we have lost a remarkable investigator in the field of hypertension, a wonderful human being, and a close and dear friend.