Université Laval's Research Centre: The Tissue Engineering Laboratory (LOEX)

The vision

Increase and perpetuate regenerative medicine research with a high translational value through the excellence of the constituent teams and a multidisciplinary research that fully respects scientific ethics.

LOEX members are guided by a spirit of cooperation and a philosophy of sharing space, equipment, and knowledge that makes the lab a pleasant, collegial, and stimulating work environment.

The LOEX team is large enough to encourage lively scientific interaction and to boast facilities equipped with the latest cutting-edge equipment. LOEX’s dedicated and highly qualified staff make it easy to learn and master technology.

Our mission

1. Ensure optimal and versatile training in our research environment for all our students and intern scientists.
2. Foster international development and intellectual productivity for all our teams.
3. Maximize synergy between various expertises: engineers, physicists, biochemists, biologists, pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, clinicians, etc.
4. Maintain the tissue engineering platform and white room infrastructure allowing for a translational research oriented toward efficacious clinical therapies.
5. Remedy, as far as possible, the shortage of organs for transplantation.


Centre Description

Founded in 1985 to treat severe burn victims, LOEX was one of the first laboratories in the world to perform organ reconstruction by tissue engineering using normal human cells. Today LOEX boasts ten units on two sites: a skin culture unit for patients, and nine other units dedicated to the lab’s other main research areas: skin, blood vessels, ligaments/bones/cartilage, the bronchi, the cornea, visual health, urological tissue, adipose tissue, and neurological science.

The cornea and visual health teams are based at Saint-Sacrement hospital. The other teams are housed at the Multidisciplinary Centre for the Development of Tissue Engineering (CMDGT), a 5000-square-metre, three-storey facility built in 2009 on the grounds of Enfant-Jésus hospital.

Key Achievements

Among the achievements and highlights of the past two years, LOEX was proud to welcome a number of top calibre lecturers who shared their knowledge and research vision with LOEX members. Guests included Armand Keating (Canada), Adam J. Katz (United States), Wassim Raffoul (Switzerland) Guy A. Rouleau (Canada), Alexander W. Clowes (United States), Denis Barritault (France), Carlos G. Almondin (Brazil), and Peter C. Johnson (United States).

During this period LOEX members also made their mark at scientific conferences and were honored with awards. LOEX director François A. Auger was presented with a 2013 award for excellence by Collège des médecins du Québec. Julie Fradette, specialist in tissue engineering and adipose tissue stem cells, chaired the 10th annual meeting of the International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics and Science (IFATS), earning an international achievement award from Cercle des Ambassadeurs de Québec for her contribution. Stéphanie Proulx (corneal tissue engineering) was a keynote speaker at the 2013 TERMIS-EU meeting in Vienna. And the work of Stéphane Bolduc’s team (urogenital tissue engineering) was ranked among the top ten scientific discoveries of 2012 by the newspaper Le Soleil.

Funding awards included a grant to the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in the Biomodeling and Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases headed by François Gros-Louis. Four other investigators (Stéphanie Proulx (PI), Teodor Veres, Isabelle Brunette, François A. Auger), received a Collaborative Health Research Project grant of nearly $500,000 for their project in corneal tissue therapy. LOEX researchers also published over 90 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals.


Graduate students at LOEX benefit from well-equipped research facilities and a stimulating multidisciplinary environment that is home to research teams from the departments of surgery, ophthalmology, and mechanical engineering as well as the Faculty of Pharmacy. Research is conducted in a wide range of areas. Along with fundamental investigations in areas such as the structural-functional relationships between molecules involved in retinal photoreception, uveal  melanoma, wound healing, and adult stem cells, LOEX teams are also working on both fundamental and clinical projects in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

Research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine focuses on human tissues from the skin, blood vessels, cornea, bladder and urethra, as well as on adipose tissue and nerve tissue. LOEX is one of only a handful of tissue engineering labs worldwide working with so many different types of human tissue. By working closely with plastic surgeons (treating burn victims), vascular surgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, and ophthalmological surgeons, students gain a knowldege of clinical practice that is invaluable for transferring lab knowledge to a clinical setting.

Every year students are encouraged to give oral or poster presentations at scientific meetings inside and outside of Quebec with incentives such as travel grants. LOEX also maintains a strong continuing education program with top-level guest lecturers and a regular series of oral presentations by students on their own research findings (seminars) or selected articles (reading club).

Collaborations by LOEX members with recognized laboratories worldwide also provide students with valuable internship opportunities overseas.