A new Inria international chair in healthcare-related artificial intelligence

  • Innovation
  • International
Published on June 16, 2023 Updated on July 28, 2023

on the June 16, 2023

Arnaud Droit
Arnaud Droit

Arnaud Droit, professor at Université Laval, was awarded a research chair by Inria in collaboration with Université Côte d'Azur. The aim is to improve machine and deep learning in the field of medical data.

Arnaud Droit is a full professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval and a researcher at the Research Center of the Quebec University Hospital - Université Laval.
This Inria international chair will step up collaboration between Professor Droit's laboratory and the MAASAI research team jointly supervised by Université Côte d'Azur and Inria, in which mathematicians and computer scientists work together to find innovative learning methods.  ”This is a unique research opportunity. I'll be working with colleagues in a very scientifically stimulating environment. The development of joint projects in healthcare-related artificial intelligence (AI) gives access to large-scale European and Canadian grants," points out Arnaud Droit. 

 "I’m certain that this chair will increase the excellence of our cooperation with Université Laval in an area strategic for our community, as already demonstrated by the presence of the interdisciplinary Côte d'Azur Institute of Artificial Intelligence to which the MASAAI team brings a strong contribution," adds Jeanick Brisswalter, President of Université Côte d'Azur. 

"We’re very pleased and proud that Professor Arnaud Droit has been awarded an Inria International Chair. This demonstrates the vitality of Université Laval's research community in the field of AI and health. Also, this Inria International Chair will increase the potential for cooperation with our French partners. The chair could lead to major breakthroughs in biomarker identification and early disease diagnosis," explains Eugénie Brouillet, Vice-Rector, Research, Creation and Innovation. 

 I’m delighted that the connections between our two universities will be strengthened by this Inria international chair. Current collaboration with Professor Droit will increase now that he will regularly come to work with the MAASAI project team of the Inria center at Université Côte d'Azur. The use of artificial intelligence for predictive and personalized medicine is a fascinating topic that will lead to interesting interactions in the next five years with this chair," adds Maureen Clerc, director of the Inria center at Université Côte d'Azur. 


Improving machine and deep learning for medical data

Research will focus on improving machine and deep learning in the field of medical data. The main objective is to train systems capable of identifying specific biomarkers for certain pathologies, such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, cardiovascular and neurological disorders. By processing massive healthcare datasets, AI can detect specific molecules that will serve as indicators of an individual's health condition.
 "A system using blood analysis could be developed, for example, to estimate the risk of cancer recurrence based on the biomarkers detected. Similarly, AI could be used to analyze mammogram images and detect the presence of cancer cells and provide an early diagnosis. These advances will help us maximize available medical data and improve the way we screen for and diagnose disease. It will have a significant impact on people's health," reports the professor.  

A strategic hub in healthcare-related AI

With this Inria research chair, Université Laval and Quebec City are strengthening their strategic position in the sector of healthcare-related AI. Several Université Laval departments and research institutes are getting involved in this fast-growing field. The rich and dynamic ecosystem that is forming will make it possible develop multidisciplinary approaches and support inter-faculty and inter-expertise collaborations. 

Université Laval and its collaborators stand out as a world-class center of expertise in the field, and researchers like Arnaud Droit are recognized as leaders. 

"The new Inria International Research Chair not only improves collaboration, but it also demonstrates the close ties between Inria, Université Côte d'Azur and Professor Arnaud Droit of Université Laval. This award demonstrates the strong potential for cooperation in sectors of excellence such as healthcare-related artificial intelligence," emphasizes François Gélineau, Vice-Rector, International Affairs and Sustainable Development. 

This new Inria international chair is one of the aspects of the strategic partnership between Université Laval and Université Côte d'Azur. The cross-disciplinary approach to education and research shared by both partners also contributes to student exchanges and joint degrees in an environment conducive to innovation and skill development.