Tremblay named one of world’s top three experts in microglia

tremblay2021_160x220Dr. Marie-Ève Tremblay (Division of Medicial Sciences) is one of the world’s top three experts in microglia.

She currently ranks third in the world on a list created by Expertscape, an online analytics platform that objectively ranks researchers and institutions based on their peer-reviewed scientific publications. This puts Dr. Tremblay in the top 0.0042% of global experts on microglia, the brain’s resident immune cells.

“The Expertscape ranking gives a huge boost of confidence to my entire research team and myself,” says Dr. Tremblay. “We are really proud of our achievement, particularly the expertise and collaborations we have developed over the years, and most happy to see our continuous efforts and determination rewarded.” 

To create its list of experts, Expertscape first searches the PubMed database to find all the medical journal articles published about a topic in the past ten years. It then assigns a score to each article based on the year of publication, the article type, the journal in which it was published, and the researcher’s level of authorship (i.e., first author, second author, etc.). Expertscape’s based its list of microglia experts on nearly 19,000 peer-reviewed articles published between 2011 and 2021. It considered 85 of Tremblay’s papers for this list.  

Dr. Tremblay’s work has fundamentally changed the field of microglial research. Some of her key contributions include:

  • Revealing that microglia remodel synapses, the connections between neurons, during normal physiological conditions.
    • This discovery contributed to the development of a new field of research investigating the physiological roles of microglia in the healthy brain. Previously, researchers considered microglia resting or quiescent during normal physiological conditions, only becoming active upon exposure to trauma, injury, or disease.

  •  Identifying dark microglia.
    • This microglial population is rare in healthy young adults but becomes highly prevalent upon chronic stress, aging, and in various models of disease pathology, such as depression, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer's. These cells are distinguished by their markers of cellular stress and altered interactions with synapses, suggesting a key role in the pathological remodelling of neuronal circuits leading to cognitive impairment.

  • Discovering novel molecular mechanisms underlying the physiological roles of microglia in different contexts of health and disease. 
Tremblay Lab

Dr. Tremblay’s lab is currently researching how microglia are affected by various environmental risk factors, such as Western diet, ketogenic diet, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, cigarette smoking, viral and bacterial infection, disease pathology, and more. In understanding these effects, the team aims to identify novel intervention strategies. “These interventions will promote beneficial microglial functions, as well as desirable consequences on the brain and behaviour, along the aging trajectory,” she says.

Clarivate also recognized Dr. Tremblay as a Highly Cited Researcher in 2021.