Dr Jacques Genest Sr, a “great” of hypertension research in the 20th Century, passed away peacefully on 5 January 2018, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, at the age of 98. He is survived by Estelle, his wife, and his children Paul, Suzanne, Jacques Jr, Marie and Hélène, 12 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. Jacques Genest Sr was born in Montreal and having finished his medical studies at the University of Montreal, specialized in endocrinology and nephrology at Harvard hospitals in Boston, at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and at the Rockefeller University in New York. Jacques Genest Sr was not only one of the giants of hypertension research in the 20th century but was a major force in medicine, science, and education in Quebec and Canada all along his life. His contributions to mechanisms of hypertension started with a paper in Science on the role of aldosterone in hypertension in 1956.1 Shortly after his group obtained Valine2 Angiotensin II (Hypertensin) from Ciba laboratories in Switzerland and infused it into humans demonstrating the action of angiotensin II to stimulate aldosterone secretion by the adrenal, reported at the Laurentian Conference in 1960 and in print 1 year later,3,4 simultaneously with similar studies by John Laragh’s group. In the 60s and 70s, Genest’s group carried out studies with new techniques to measure renin activity and demonstrated the role of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system in human and experimental hypertension.2,5 In the late 70s and 80s, Adolfo De Bold visited Genest’s group’s laboratories in his quest to investigate the granules found in the atrium, leading him eventually to the discovery of atrial natriuretic peptide. Genest’s group thereafter demonstrated potential important roles of natriuretic peptides.6 These would eventually lead to new treatments for hypertension and heart failure. Jacques Genest Sr authored or coauthored more than 700 scientific manuscripts and 4 books, among them 2 editions of his treatise on Hypertension in 1976 and 1984. Jacques Genest Sr played a major role in advancing clinical research and the education of future clinician-scientists in Quebec and Canada. He founded in 1967 and directed until his retirement in 1984 the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (now called IRCM from the French abbreviation of the name of the institute). The IRCM has become a major biomedical research institution in Canada. Through his collaboration with John Beck, Chair of Medicine at McGill University at the time, he managed to make IRCM one of the largest centers for training in Experimental Medicine at McGill, although the Institute was affiliated with the University of Montreal and Hôtel-Dieu Hospital and trained their graduate students as well. He founded the CRSQ or Conseil de Recherche en Santé du Québec (the medical research council of Quebec, today called FRQS), and in 1963 contributed to the founding of the Medical Research Council of Canada (MRCC), today called the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He was the director of the MRCC Multidisciplinary Research Group on Hypertension from 1972 to 1984 at IRCM. He was also founder of the first department of biomedical research based in a francophone hospital in Quebec in 1952, of the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation and the Club de recherches cliniques du Quebec (which is the Quebec clinical research society). Jacques Genest Sr was Chair of the High Blood Pressure Research Council of the American Heart Association in 1976–1978. He had already received its Stouffer Award (predecessor of the Excellence Award in Hypertension of the AHA) in 1968 for his renin–angiotensin–aldosterone discoveries and later was in the first group of cardiovascular scientists to be honored with the designation of Distinguished Scientist of AHA in 2003. He was awarded the Order of Canada and the Order of Quebec, many doctorates honoris causa, and many other scientific awards and prizes. These included the Gairdner International Award and the Flavelle Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, and he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. As his postdoctoral fellow (at IRCM) and PhD student (at McGill University), and later successor as Director of the MRCC Group on Hypertension at IRCM, I knew him for 40 years. I can say that throughout those years his main concerns apart from his family and his colleagues and students were the advancement of knowledge, the health care system and education of future clinician-scientists, to which he contributed regularly in many ways. His disciples are legion, coming from and residing today all over the world. Many are leaders in the hypertension field in their own right. He was a mentor to many young scientists who were warmly welcomed at the institute. The Christmas parties at his and Estelle’s home were wonderfully welcoming for his postdoctoral fellows from around the world. He had an ebullient personality, always energetic, smiling, and friendly. It will be difficult for those of us who knew him well to forget his strong voice, his warm look, his friendly and contagious smile, and his extraordinary personality and contributions. Although saddened by his passing, we recognize that he lived a very long life, that it was a life well lived, and that he has left the world a better place. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Dr Jacques Genest Sr receiving his American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award from then High Blood Pressure Research Council Chair, Dr Ernesto Schiffrin, in Orlando, Florida, at AHA Scientific Sessions, November 2003. Figure 1. View largeDownload slide Dr Jacques Genest Sr receiving his American Heart Association Distinguished Scientist Award from then High Blood Pressure Research Council Chair, Dr Ernesto Schiffrin, in Orlando, Florida, at AHA Scientific Sessions, November 2003. REFERENCES 1. Genest J, Lemieux G, Davignon A, Koiw E, Nowaczynski W, Steyermark P. Human arterial hypertension: a state of mild chronic hyperaldosteronism? Science 1956; 123: 503– 505. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed 2. Biron P, Koiw E, Nowaczynski W, Brouillet J, Genest J. The effects of intravenous infusions of valine-5 angiotensin ii and other pressor agents on urinary electrolytes and corticosteroids, including aldosterone. J Clin Invest 1961; 40: 338– 347. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed 3. Biron P, Chretien M, Koiw E, Genest J. Effects of angiotensin infusions on aldosterone and electrolyte excretion in normal subjects and patients with hypertension and adrenocortical disorders. Br Med J 1962; 1: 1569– 1575. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed 4. Genest J, Biron P, Koiw E, Nowaczynski W, Boucher R, Chretien M. Studies of the pathogenesis of human hypertension. The adrenal cortex and renal pressor mechanism. Ann Intern Med 1961; 55: 12– 28. Google Scholar CrossRef Search ADS PubMed 5. Genest J, Nowaczynski W, Boucher R, Kuchel O, Rojo-Ortega JM. Aldosterone and renin in essential hypertension. Can Med Assoc J 1975; 113: 421– 431. Google Scholar PubMed 6. Genest J, Cantin M. Atrial natriuretic factor. Circulation . 1987; 75: I118– 1124. Google Scholar PubMed © American Journal of Hypertension, Ltd 2018. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com
American Journal of Hypertension – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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