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Claude Guertin, Professor and Scientific Director of INRS, has passed away: tribute to an eminent researcher and outstanding colleague

July 14, 2023 | Julie Robert

Update : July 14, 2023

The INRS community expresses its condolences to Professor Guertin’s family and close friends, as well as to his colleagues and students.

Claude Guertin. Photo: Josée Lecompte

The INRS community was deeply saddened to learn the sudden death of Claude Guertin, Professor, Scientific Director and Director of Faculty Affairs at INRS, who passed away on July 8, 2023 at the age of 64. Our thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones, but also with his colleagues and students who had the chance to work with him during his career.

“Claude Guertin was an outstanding scientist and colleague. The sorrow we experience is as strong as the man he was: someone genuinely humane, impassioned by the mission of INRS, and above all a man capable of listening and showing wisdom. He leaves a great void among the management and the INRS community.”

Luc-Alain Giraldeau, INRS Chief Executive Officer

A career with many dimensions

Claude Guertin was a highly valued and respected member of the INRS community, where he spent his whole career. He held several management positions that enabled him to fully appreciate the inner workings of the institution. He therefore had extensive knowledge of the institution as a professor, researcher, and manager.

Claude joined the Institut Armand-Frappier (IAF) in 1991 as a postdoctoral fellow and was appointed Professor in 1993. Once the Institut Armand-Frappier was integrated into INRS, he continued his career as a professor. Closely involved with all members of the INRS community, he served as President of the Syndicat des professeurs.e.s de l’INRS from 2016-2018 and directed the Master’s in Applied Microbiology (2006-2013) and Ph.D. in Biology (2014-2016) programmes. He played an active role in the discussions to rename the centre, which will become the Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie Research Centre, which he managed from 2019 to 2021. He has contributed to the adoption of a new scientific programme that realigned the centre’s major research areas. In 2021, he became Scientific Director and Head of Faculty Affairs at INRS, a position that he has marked with remarkable vision and a great desire for equity, and which has enabled him to contribute to the remarkable development of INRS’s research potential.

As a researcher, Claude was an expert in microbial ecology and entomology. His research and publications focused on agricultural and forestry environments, working with his team to find environmentally acceptable and sustainable solutions to reduce the damage caused by insects. More specifically, he was interested in insect-specific pathogenic micro-organisms that could be used in a targeted way to control pest populations. His contributions have had a significant impact on the biological control of insect pests such as the emerald ash borer.

His work and publications have contributed to the development of effective and environmentally-friendly biological control strategies, offering sustainable alternatives to traditional chemical pesticides.

He was a real field researcher who enjoyed being out in nature. His colleagues and laboratory colleagues described him as someone who was always ready to help, who had solutions for everything, and who always came up with innovative ideas. 

A person who left an indelible mark

The man who worked at the institution for more than 30 years was not only an exceptional colleague, but also a friend and mentor to many members of the INRS community. He taught and inspired dozens of students who passed through his laboratory and for whom he was practically a ‘second father’.

He believed in the vitality of INRS. He was considered a key player in the dialogue and collaboration between the institution’s various stakeholders.

Claude left a valuable scientific legacy in the field of microbial ecology and entomology, and his work will continue to influence and inspire a whole generation of scientists committed to protecting the environment. His passion, expertise, and dedication will always be remembered.

Let’s honour Claude together by continuing his work in line with INRS’s mission and by ensuring that the next generation of scientists is prepared to serve Québec and the whole of society.

Find out more about Claude Guertin’s career.