Robert, Claude PhD - Regular researcher

Full professor - Université Laval

Department of animal science,

Institute of nutrition and functional foods,

Faculty of agriculture and food science

CRDSI Co-director 

Research interest

My research program is composed of two main axes. The first one begin the definition of oocyte and early embryo quality determinants. The fact that the ability of the oocyte to become an embryo is acquired when the gamete is still in the ovarian follicle is well known. The ovarian follicle is composed of about four cellular types and we are interested in the cells closer to the oocyte by studying their ability to sustain the development and preparation of the gamete. We are also interested in the RNA pools stored in the oocyte and used to sustain the first cellular divisions. To this day, the storing, management and disposal mechanism for these RNA pools are not well understood. This despite the fact that the majority of embryos die during the first cellular divisions while these stocks support cellular functions.

Our second research axis revolves around genetic related aspects such as genomics (studying DNA as a whole), including genomic diversity analysis and the impact of epigenetic, especially DNA methylation, on gene expression and thus phenotypes. Representative examples of our projects in this axis are the analysis of the genetic diversity of the Canadienne cow breed or the impact of the environment (such as the one being affected by the mother’s nutrition) on embryo quality and the establishment of its epigenome; more precisely on the DNA methylation marks that will influence gene expression, including a range of long non-coding RNA.    


Early embryonic development Genetics Genomics Maternal RNA management Oocyte quality

Pavillon Paul-Comtois

2425 rue de l'Agriculture
Université Laval, Local 4217
Québec (QC) G1V 0A6
Université Laval
(418) 656-2131 extension : 412842
Fax : (418) 656-5877

Postoctoral fellowship: Biomedical Sciences, University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario, Canada)

PhD: Sciences Animales, Université Laval (Québec, Québec, Canada)

MSc: Sciences Animales, Université Laval (Québec, Québec, Canada)

Undergraduate: Biochimie, Université de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada)

Professionnels de recherche

Trottier-Lavoie, Mallorie - Master - Studies in progress
Subject :

La science médico-légale qui se cache derrière la validation de la puce à SNPs du caribou (Rangifer)

Poisson, William - Master - Studies in progress
Subject :

Développement d'une nouvelle méthode de caryotypage chez le porc

Desnoyers, Mélodie - Master - Studies in progress
Subject :

Impact des facteurs neurotrophiques sur la folliculogenèse et l’ovogenèse.




Carrier, Alexandra - PhD - Studies in progress
Subject :

Amélioration des caractères de santé et fertilité chez la vache laitière par une approche génomique alternative

Marchais, Mathilde - PhD - Studies in progress
Subject :

Implication des protéines de la famille fragile X dans la formation des projections du réseau transzonal

Wang, Pengmin - PhD - Studies in progress
Subject :

Characterization of long non-coding RNAs in follicular cells, oocytes and early bovine embryos

Zhang, Ying - PhD - Studies in progress
Subject :

Epigenetic biomarkers screening of bull fertility

Fortin, Chloé - PhD -
Subject :

Transcriptomic signature of ovarian follicles associated with failed in vitro fertilization attempts in women. 

5 Latest projects

  • Fragile X Mental retardation1 gene: a master switch of ovarian communication and oocyte quality
  • Chips for better chops: Commercial application of genomics for accelerated swine genetic improvement
  • Improvement of health and fertility characteristics in dairy cows using an alternative genomic approach
  • Cross-species combination of cohort and intervention studies to assess common metabolic factors related to infertility and the use of functional lipids for its treatment
  • Description of the genetic populations of the Canadienne cow: essential step for the develpment of a breed management strategy

5 Latest projects

  • DNA methylation biomarkers of fertility in bulls
  • Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence to leverage predictive model of dairy production
  • La protéine spermatique SPAM1 comme marqueur de la qualité de la semence, de la fertilité des taureaux, et de la vocation laitière ou bouchère du cheptel bovin québécois
  • Analyse ciblée de la méthylation d'ADN dans la lignée germinale mâle pour le dépistage de l'influence environnementale
  • Impact of the sperm epigenome on the progeny outcome born by assisted reproductive technology