Chair holder: Professor Jacques Brisson, Université de Montréal


The objective of the Phytotechnology NSERC/Hydro-Québec Industrial Research Chair is to optimize phytotechnological approaches to solve environmental problems related to the operation of power grid infrastructures that generate, transport and distribute electricity. The research program of the Chair will concentrate on two issues for which phytotechnological approaches are tailor-made: i) the restoration of disturbed soil that leads to erosion and the establishment of undesirable plant species and ii) the remediation of soils or water contaminated with wood pole preservatives. The various research projects of the Chair will deepen our understanding of fundamental ecological principles, thereby facilitating the transfer and adaptation of phytotechnology to the numerous other contexts that could benefit from similar practices.

Learn more about phytotechnology, ongoing projects and our team.

News and announcements

February 2018 – Philippe Heine, recipient of the Pehr-Kalm award
Congratulations to Philippe Heine for receiving the Pehr-Kalm award. This was awarded to him due to his efforts to making his research project on phytoremediation publicly accessible and understandable.

January 2018 – Welcome to Vlad Parasquive, new Chair member
We are very pleased to welcome Vlad Parasquive, PhD student under the supervision of Prs. Étienne Laliberté and Jacques Brisson, as a member of the Research Chair. Vlad is starting a project on the roles of mycorrhizal fungi in the establishment of trees in powerline rights-of-way.

November 2017 – First annual symposium of the Chair

Groupe chaire 2017 On the 20th of November, the research Chair in phytotechnology held its first annual symposium at the IRBV. A total of eight research projects (ongoing or in development) were presented to the members of the Chair, Hydro-Québec staff and researchers from the IRBV. Many were impressed by the quality of the talks.

September 2017 – New Chair students
We are pleased to announce that two students were recruited as part of the research Chair in phytotechnology. Anne Lachapelle, masters student, will work on the significance of functional complementarity for phytoremediation purposes. Adrien Frémont, PhD candidate, will study root exudates and their importance for phytodegradation of organic contaminants. Welcome aboard!

July 2017 – Two experimental designs are now up and running at the IREQ site

SemencesLast June, professor Brisson’s team implemented two important experimental designs related to projects 1.1 and 1.2. These projects aim to prevent establishment of undesirable plants in powerline rights-of-way with herbaceous and shrub covers. Many thanks to the interns who helped during field work: Sabrina Demers-Thibault, Vanessa Laplante, Antoine Mathieu, Clément Robert-Bigras, Élisabeth Guillemette and Todor Minchev.


June 2017 – Chloé Frédette back from an internship on constructed wetlands in Denmark
During the month of June, Chloé Frédette completed a four-week internship with Pr. Hans Brix at the University of Aarhus. During the internship, Chloé had the opportunity to deepen her understanding of constructed wetlands and to discuss related issues with European specialists during field visits. This new knowledge will certainly be useful for her own research project on constructed wetlands.

February 21 2017 – Best poster at the 2017 Forum Environnement for Chloé Frédette
On February 9 2017, Chloé Frédette presented a poster of her masters project on a zero-effluent processing system using willows during the 2017 Forum Environnement. The annual forum, organised by students and professors of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences, aims to highlight research projects related to environmental concerns conducted at the Université de Montréal. Our warmest congratulations to Chloé who won the prize for best poster.

January 24 2017 – New Chair member
We are pleased to announce that Pr. Gérald J. Zagury is joining the Phytotechnology Research Chair. Pr. Zagury’s research interests are related to the speciation and fate of heavy metals in the environment and methods to reduce contamination in soils and water. Pr. Zagury will cosupervise Philippe Heine’s research project.

November 2 2016 – Welcome to Pierre-Luc Chagnon, new professor at the Université de Montréal

pierre-lucThe research Chair in phytotechnology enabled the hiring of Pierre-Luc Chagnon as an assistant professor in biological sciences at the Université de Montréal. Professor Chagnon’s research interests are focused on the role of microorganisms on 1) plant community assembly and 2) ecosystem functioning. One of the main objectives of his lab will be to use functional traits to predict the potential of mycorrhizal fungi in providing ecosystem services related to phytotechnology (e.g. soil stabilisation, phytyoextraction of heavy metals, degradation of organic contaminants). Professor Chagnon, who will take office in January 2017, will greatly broaden the research team of the Chair.


October 17 2016 – Inauguration of the Chair
The official inauguration of the research Chair took place at the Biodiversity Centre on October 17. For more information, please consult the Forum articles (in French) on the Chair itself and on the inauguration.