Pierre Marquet

Pierre Marquet,

Professor, Département de psychiatrie et de neurosciences, Université Laval
Chair holder, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Neurophotonics
Director, International Joint Unit on Neurodevelopment and Child Psychiatry

Identification of biomarkers for risk of major psychiatric disorders in vulnerable populations to develop new strategies for early interventions and prevention.

Dr. Pierre Marquet's research aims to identify and detect risk biomarkers for major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and recurrent severe depression, in vulnerable children, well before the appearance of the first clinical symptoms. The detection of an infantile risk syndrome from these biomarkers would allow the implementation of early management strategies, which are known for their effectiveness.  Early intervention is likely to delay or even prevent the onset of these diseases in their most disabling forms as they are known today.

Dr. Pierre Marquet is a psychiatrist, physicist engineer and the chairholder of the Canada Excellence Chair in Neurophotonics. He uses his various expertise to characterize the early development of severe psychiatric diseases both in their neurobiology and their alteration of psyche. Ultimately, this multidisciplinary approach aims to detect the presence of discrete alterations of neurodevelopment in children, which would predict the appearance, many years later, of major psychiatric disorders and who could then act as biomarkers of risk to guide the implementation of early interventions.

One of the approaches favored by Dr. Marquet to identify risk biomarkers at the cellular level, is to study, using multimodal optical microscopy techniques, the maturation of human neuronal cells cultured from pluripotent stem cells taken from vulnerable patients or young children. His team has developed an innovative approach using very high resolution optical microscopy based on a holographic principle, which allows to visualize, in three dimensions and with a nanometric sensitivity, the dynamics of the maturation process of human neural cells. His team also uses neuroimaging techniques such as structural and functional MRI to better understand the brain mechanisms that underlie these psychiatric disorders.

As a psychiatrist, Dr. Marquet also participates in the clinical part of these studies, which are conducted primarily in children of patients, who are unfortunately at risk of developing mental disorders. The transdisciplinarity of his team, bringing together expertise in areas such as mathematics, physics, neurobiology, and clinical psychiatry, has recently allowed him to identify very promising candidate biomarkers.

Pioneer in the development of digital holographic microscopy, Dr. Pierre Marquet, Ph.D., M.D. works on development of novel cutting-edge optical techniques to identify new biomarkers by the exploration of cells and tissues obtained from stem cells of children with a high risk of developing major psychiatric disorders. Over time, with a better understanding of the neurobiology of those disorders, he hopes to improve their treatments and develop primary prevention strategies.

More precisely, our research program is divided in four axes. The Neurophotonics axis includes the development of multimodality linear and non-linear imaging platforms based on digital holographic microscopy. The Neurodevelopment biology axis aims at a better understanding of the neurodevelopmental processes underlying the outbreak of major psychiatric disorders. This axis also contains a Primary neural cells and immortalised lines cellular culture platform and an iPSC-derived neural cells culture platform. The axis on Neurodevelopmental psychiatry study the links between developmental processes taking place during the first two decades of life and the onset of the neurodevelopmental psychiatric disorder in young adulthood with its specific signs and symptoms. The last axis is Neuroimaging and it focuses on the identification of risk biomarkers of major psychiatric disorders using modalities such as structural and functional MRI.

An important part of Dr. Marquet's clinical research activities is the International Joint Unit (IJU) in Neurodevelopment and Child Psychiatry between Université Laval and the University of Lausanne, which he heads since its establishment in 2016. This IJU aims to stimulate its main research objectives by carrying out multicentric studies on large cohorts of patients and their children conducted in parallel in Switzerland and in Canada.

In order from left to right and from top to bottom:
Johan Chaniot, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow
Corentin Soubeiran, Ph.D. student
Zahra Yazdani, Ph.D. student
Jean-Honoré Laurent, Ph.D. student
Mohamed Haouet, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow
Alana Arrouet, Ph.D. student
Émile Rioux-Pellerin, M.Sc. student
Gabrielle Jess, M.Sc. student
Hélène Leblond, laboratory manager
Jean-Xavier Giroux, M.Sc., research associate
Céline Larivière-Loiselle, Ph.D. student
Marie-Ève Crochetière, M.Sc., research associate
Erik Bélanger, Ph.D., scientific manager
Pierre Marquet, M.D., Ph.D., researcher, professor, psychiatrist, and chair holder of the CERC in neurophotonics
Paul Parant, Ph.D. student
Martin Roy, Ph.D., research manager
Pauline Gelon, laboratory assistant
Pierre-Luc Bessette, M.A., research associate
Jodie Llinares, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow
Catherine Giroux, M.Sc., research associate
François Paquet-Mercier, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow
Valérie Beaupré Monfette, research associate
Niraj Patel, Ph.D. student

Not pictured :
Sara Mattar, Ph.D. student

Marquet, P., Depeursinge, C. & Magistretti, P.J. 2014 "Review of quantitative phase-digital holographic microscopy: promising novel imaging technique to resolve neuronal network activity and identify cellular biomarkers of psychiatric disorders," Neurophoton., 1(2), 020901 . doi:10.1117/1.NPh.1.2.020901.

Cotte, Y., Toy, F., Jourdain, P., Pavillon, N., Boss, D., Magistretti, P., Marquet, P. & Depeursinge, C. 2013, "Marker-free phase nanoscopy", Nature Photonics, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 113-117

Jourdain, P., Pavillon, N., Moratal, C., Boss, D., Rappaz, B., Depeursinge, C., *Marquet, P. & *Magistretti, P.J. 2011, "Determination of transmembrane water fluxes in neurons elicited by glutamate ionotropic receptors and by the cotransporters KCC2 and NKCC1: A digital holographic microscopy study", Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 31, no. 33, pp. 11846-11854. *co-last author

Psychiatrist, Pierre Marquet also holds a diploma of physical engineering from EPFL and a M.D./Ph.D. in neurophotonics from UNIL. Acknowledged worldwide for his pioneering work on digital holographic microscopy, he is a professor at Université Laval and the chairholder of the CERC in Neurophotonics. He is also the director of the International Joint Unit (IJU) in Neurodevelopment and Child Psychiatry. The goal of this IJU is to define infantile at-risk syndrome of major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression disorder by the identification of high-risk biomarkers and endophenotypes with the help of neurophotonics tools. He is the author or co-author of more than 140 scientific publications (6000 citations, h-index 33), of many patents and is the co-founder of three technological start-up companies.


Digital holographic microscopy
Quantitative phase imaging
Coherent detection
Tissue optics
Cellular multimodal imaging
Cellular biomarkers of major psychiatric disorders

Pierre Marquet


2601 Chemin de la Canardière
Québec (Québec) G1J 2G3 Canada


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