Mathieu Millette

Mathieu Millette

“INRS’s Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie research centre is a cultural melting pot where passionate, committed and creative scientists try to decode the functioning of the infinitely small and to understand the language of micro-organisms. It is an honor and a privilege to be associated with these world-renowned researchers in order to contribute to the scientific and economic development of Quebec.”

Mathieu Millette 
Master’s in applied biology, 2003
Doctorate in biology, 2008
Centre Armand-Frappier Santé Biotechnologie research centre
2022 Prix Lumières Awardee • Starburst category

Scientific Director

Why did you choose to study at INRS?

INRS is an institution known for the excellence of its research professors and study programs. I was recommended to meet Professor Monique Lacroix because of the originality of her work on probiotics and antimicrobial films used to preserve food. I was very intrigued. Prof. Lacroix became my mentor for the duration of my graduate studies. I have fond memories of that.

What do you remember about your experience at INRS?

From my time at INRS, I remember the fraternity that existed between the students of the various research laboratories. I really appreciated the spirit of collegiality and collaboration that reigned there. It is extremely important to have fun every day in a field as intense as academic research.

Do you have a favourite memory of the campus?

I have many fond memories of campus. I enjoyed bonding with faculty and students, as well as the long hours of lively discussion and debate with colleagues. I think my favorite memory is the thesis defense. I have rarely experienced such a feeling of excitement, intensity, and emotion as on that day. It was really the consecration of a project started several years before.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from your time at INRS?

To invent and innovate, you have to be passionate about what you do and persevere. Results are obtained through hard and sustained work.

Tell us about your journey since graduation

After obtaining my PhD in biology, I completed an industrial post-doctorate. It was a collaboration between Prof. Lacroix’s laboratory and the Quebec company Bio-K Plus International. Then, I was hired by this same company as scientific director. I started a preclinical research laboratory there. With the help of a team of seasoned researchers, we are developing future probiotics, improving probiotic production processes and seeking to elucidate the interactions between beneficial bacteria and pathogenic microorganisms or with human cells. I now direct the clinical, preclinical and process research of Bio-K Plus. I teach courses and give conferences to the general public and to scientists. I create research partnerships with academic and industrial scientists. All this is very exciting and motivating.

How did your time at INRS prepare you for your career?

At INRS, I learned the basics of the scientific method, how to pose hypotheses and find solutions to answer them. I also learned that it is important to collaborate to achieve one’s goals. I apply these principles directly to my work.

What advice would you like to give to current students?

The main advice I would like to give to students is to have fun: find pleasure in what you are doing. Also, be intense and 100% committed to the projects you take on. Dare to try and think outside the box. Be creative and imaginative. Scientific research isn’t boring; be passionate about what you do. Connect and talk with researchers outside of your research interests. You never know where it might lead.

What are your wishes for the future?

Individually, I wish for graduates to experience the ecstasy of the researcher, that eureka moment that leads to a great scientific discovery. Collectively, I wish us to find and implement innovative solutions to implement healthy lifestyle habits and increase the healthy life span of our society.

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