This project is carried out by a multidisciplinary team

Simon Girard

Professor at UQAC and principal investigator of the CopaQ project
Simon Girard specializes in the genetic mechanisms underlying complex diseases. He has a marked interest in the Quebec population structure, which he integrates into his studies of medical genetics.

Hélène Vézina

Professor at UQAC and director of the BALSAC project
Hélène Vézina is a full professor in the Department of Human and Social Sciences at UQAC. She also heads the BALSAC Project in charge of the development and operation of the population file. Her research program addresses issues of historical demography and population genetics in a multidisciplinary context. She is particularly interested in the genetic and ethnocultural diversity of regional populations in Quebec and the demohistoric factors that have shaped this diversity.

Simon Gravel

Professor at McGill University
Simon Gravel's lab aims to understand the connections between history, genetic diversity, biology, and disease through creative math and the analysis of large-scale datasets.

Yann Joly

Professor at McGill University
Yann Joly specializes in health law and bioethics.

Ma'n Zawati

Professor McGill University
Ma’n H. Zawati (LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D. (D.C.L.)) is Assistant Professor at McGill University as well as the Executive Director of the Center of Genomics and Policy in the Department of Human Genetics. He is also an associate member of the Biomedical Ethics Unit and the Division of Experimental Medicine at McGill. His research focuses on the legal, ethical and political dimensions of health research and clinical care, with a particular interest in biobanks, data sharing, professional liability and the use of new technologies (e.g. mhealth applications, WGS, WES) in clinical and research settings.

Our partners


The BALSAC population file is a family tree of the Quebec population that has been reconstructed from Quebec’s civil records. Under development for the past 50 years at UQAC, BALSAC now covers all regions of the Quebec territory from the beginning of European settlement in the 17th century to the contemporary period. BALSAC will be responsible for managing the confidentiality and protection of the genealogical data.


PULSAR is a platform administered and secured by Laval University that allows the recruitment of participants with consent collection, the management of research data and the valorization of these data. The return of individual results in the user account of each participant will be done through this platform.