2017 INDUCTEE Michel Chrétien, MD Hormones


March 26, 1936

(Shawinigan, Québec)


MD, Université de Montréal (1960)
MSc, McGill University (1962)

Awards & Honours:

2022: Prix Armand-Frappier

2022: Grand Officer of Quebec

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Picture of Dr. Michel Chrétien

Discovered β-endorphin and the proprotein convertases

Portrait of Michel Chretien MD

A pioneering scientist and advocate for Canadian investment in science

The youngest of 19 siblings, Michel Chrétien, received his MD in 1960 and trained in endocrinology and protein chemistry at Montréal, McGill, Harvard, Berkeley, Cambridge and the Salk Institute. In 1967, he first published the pro-hormone theory, which has since been applied to many functions of human biology. In 1976, he discovered human β-endorphin, and in 1990, the proprotein convertases (PCs/PCSK1-9). Dr. Chrétien’s theory and its developments opened a new chapter of biology known as ¨Functional Endoproteolysis¨.

Key Facts

His discoveries have led to breakthrough treatments for diabetes, obesity, dyslipidemia, cancer, atherosclerosis, opiate drugs, and Alzheimer’s disease

Discovered a beneficial PCSK9 mutation present only in French Canadian families which protect them from cardiovascular disease

From 1981-1990 he was the seventh most cited scientist worldwide

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Chrétien has built a unified career around his own prohormone theory, bridging basic and clinical research with immediate benefits for patients. His discoveries have helped improve our understanding of human and animal physiology and have enhanced our ability to combat pathologies that afflict humankind. His skillful, diplomatic, and persistent promotion of research funding has helped transform Canada's research landscape for decades to come.

Picture of Dr. Michel Chrétien


  • Photo of Michel Chretien at Induction

    Michel Chrétien inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Québec City, Québec

  • The therapies that emerged from IRCM were so promising that the Institute signed an agreement with Sanderling Ventures to create Liphorus Pharmaceuticals in order to develop new technology

  • In an effort to improve international collaboration, Dr. Chrétien co-founded the Consortium international sur les Therapies Antivirals (CITAV/ICAV)

  • Extending his influence beyond Quebec, Dr. Chrétien was named the scientific director of the Loeb Institute at the Ottawa Civil Hospital


    He later founded the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology in 2005.

  • As an advocate for Canadian scientific research, Dr. Chrétien served 6 years as the health research advisor to the director of the Medical Research Council of Canada (now CIHR) as well as to the Prime Minister

  • As a response to the growing AIDS crisis, Dr. Chrétien chaired a commission on AIDS that resulted in a broad set of health and social recommendations

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy

  • The Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal (IRCM) was founded

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    Dr. Chrétien served as the director of this world-renowned research institute from 1984 to 1994.

  • Dr. Chrétien proposed what is now known as Prohormone Theory


  • Dr. Michel Chrétien established the first protein chemistry lab built around specialized infrastructure


    He served as director of the lab until 1999.


A fierce defender of scientific freedom.