May 29, 1919

(Montréal, Québec)


January 5, 2018


MD, University of Montreal (1942)

Awards & Honours:

2016: Commander of the Ordre de Montréal

2003: Distinguished Scientist Award, American Heart Association

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Picture of Jacques Genset, MD

Advanced our understanding and treatment of hypertension

Sketch of Jacques Genest

A pathfinder and builder of medical research

Heralded as one of the giants of 20th century medicine, the name Jacques Genest has become synonymous with pioneering advances in clinical research and the study of atrial hypertension. His research team’s exploration of the roles of the adrenal gland and kidney advanced our understanding of the causes and management of hypertension. His most significant clinical contribution was the treatment of hypertension by multiple medications, altering the natural course so that a disease once fatal, became manageable.  

Key Facts

Established the connection between sodium and high blood pressure

Authored over 700 articles and four books

Created the first department of biomedical research based in a Quebec francophone hospital

Became an internationally recognized authority on the social and ethical aspects of medicine

Recognized with various accolades and awards, including twelve honorary degrees

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Between 2012-2015, one in four Canadians were affected by hypertension. Due to the work of Dr. Genest, scientists and clinicians have a better understanding of the condition and effective means of treatment. The legacy of Dr. Genest, however, extends far beyond one field. The IRCM recently celebrated its 50th year as a world-renowned research institute. With a mission to understand, prevent and treat disease, IRCM continues to make major scientific contributions to many fields and sees over 10,000 patients each year.

Picture of Jacques Genset, MD


  • Jacques Genest inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • Dr. Genest and his team continued to study the role of sodium and water excretion by the kidney


    In time, their insights contributed to new drugs for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure.

  • IRCM became home to the first centre of bioethics in Canada and the French-speaking world

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    The Pragmatic Health Ethics Research Unit of the IRCM continues to operate today.

  • The Centre medical Claude-Bernard was established. Known today as the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) Dr. Genest served as its director until his retirement in 1984.

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    The IRCM became a major biomedical research institution and a training centre for both the University of Montreal and McGill.

  • Dr. Genest became director of the Department of Medicine at the University of Montreal

    During this time, he also served as Chair of the Quebec Health Research Council and was awarded a grant of $3 million to construct his vision of a research institute.

  • As a builder of medical research capacity, Dr. Genest contributed to the founding of the Medical Research Council of Quebec

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    Shortly after, he became involved in the established of the Medical Research Council of Canada.

  • Dr. Jacques Genest made his first contribution to the study of hypertension. In a paper published in 'Science", he described the role of aldosterone in hypertension


    By 1960, the Genest group were the first to demonstrate that the hormone angiotensin II increased sodium and blood pressure.

  • Inspired by the multi-disciplinary approach of European research centres, Dr. Genest returned to Quebec and established his first laboratory at Hôtel-Dieu

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    As director, his objective was to bring together scientists and researchers from various fields while supporting the training and development of clinical researchers.

  • Completed his MD at the University of Montreal

    Following post-doctoral work at Harvard in endocrinology, nephrology and internal medicine, he continued clinical research work at Johns Hopkins University and the Rockefeller Institute.


Wherever he has been needed, Jacques Genest has gone.