Dr. Nabil Seidah, Scientific Founder

Dr. Seidah started studying the processing of precursor proteins at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM) in 1974 and, shortly thereafter, co-discovered ß-endorphin and largely contributed to the biochemical characterization of proopiomelanocortin (POMC, the ß-endorphin precursor), discovered and cloned seven (PC1, PC2, PC4, PC5, PC7, SKI-1 and PCSK9) of the nine known enzymes belonging to the proprotein convertase family. During this period, he also greatly contributed to demonstrating that the proteolysis by the proprotein convertases is a wide mechanism that also affects “non-neuropeptide” proteins such as growth factors, a-integrins, receptors, enzymes, membrane-bound transcription factors, parasitic, bacterial and viral proteins. Recently, he showed that point mutations in the PCSK9 gene cause dominant familial hypercholesterolemia, likely because of a gain-of-function related to the ability of PCSK9 to enhance the degradation of cell surface receptors, such as the low-density lipoprotein receptor.

Over the last 33 years, Dr Seidah has attracted more than 110 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. He is member of numerous scientific associations, including the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cancer Research Society and the American Heart Association. In 1991, he was elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 1995 Medical Research Council Scientist Award, and was made a member of the Order of Quebec in 1997 and the Order of Canada in 1999. In 2001, he received the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada and the Parizeau Prize of the Association Canadienne-Française pour l’avancement des sciences. He has been endowed with a Canada chair in Precursor Proteolysis since 2003. He has been invited as a speaker to more than 410 national and international conferences. He organized the first Keystone Conference on the proprotein convertases and in 2006 was the chair of a prestigious Gordon Research Conference on Proprotein Processing, Trafficking and Secretion. He has been selected to present the prestigious “Jacques Benoît” lecture at the 7th International Congress of Neuroendocrinology held in Rouen France in July 2010. In 2011, he was awarded the Wilder Penfield prize for the best scientist in Québec working in the biomedical field. In 2013, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and was invited to present the “Simon Pierre-Noël Memorial Lecture” at the Canadian Lipoprotein conference in Mont Tremblant, Quebec. In 2014, he received in Winnipeg the “Jacques Genest” Lecturer Award from the Canadian Society of Endocrinolgy and Metabolism. In 2015, he received the Anne and Neil McArthur Research Award for his wide ranging research and its clinical implications at St Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton, Ontario.

Dr Seidah is internationally recognized as a world leader in convertases and their physiological roles. His numerous publications that tally more than 700 peer reviewed manuscripts have been widely recognized, and in fact he is cited as the most recognized protease expert in Canada and 6th worldwide. Indeed, Pubmed cites N.G. Seidah as the topmost in Canada and the 1st out of the worldwide 20 top scientists working on “Proprotein Convertases” since 1971. His H index = 87. His work has been cited more than 30,000 times.

Dr. Seidah obtained his B.S. degree in 1969 from Cairo University in Giza, Egypt, and his Ph.D. degree in 1973 from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. In 1987/1988 he spent a Sabbatical year at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.