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Hugo Wurtele

Wurtele, Hugo

Associate professor


Université de Montréal

Research Axes


Contact information

Phone: 514-252-3400, poste7288


  • Émile Fortier
  • Sari Gezzar-Dandashi
  • Ian Hammond-Martel
  • Jean-François Lemay
  • Mary McQuaid
  • Edlie St-Hilaire
  • Roch Tremblay
  • Shufeng Zhou

Hugo Wurtele, PhD, heads the DNA Replication and Genome Stability Research Unit. He is an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Montréal.

Research Unit

DNA Replication and Genome Stability

DNA damage can cause the inactivation or aberrant activation of various genes, which leads to the development of cancer. DNA repair mechanisms allow normal cells to survive this damage, but they can also compromise the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments that kill cancer cells by inducing massive DNA damage. Research on DNA repair is therefore crucial for us to better understand the mechanisms leading to the development of cancer so that we can create new treatment modalities.

We use human cells in culture and Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast as experimental models, as well as fluorescent microscopy, biochemistry and genetic approaches, to better understand how cancer cells respond to anticancer drugs that cause DNA damage. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms that influence the efficacy of chemotherapy agents that prevent the duplication of genetic material (DNA replication).

A better understanding of these phenomena will lead to the development of new cancer treatment strategies and will identify molecular markers to better classify tumours in order to define appropriate treatments for each patient.

  • Bélanger F, Fortier E, Dubé M, Lemay JF, Buisson R, Masson JY, Elsherbiny A, Costantino S, Carmona E, Mes-Masson AM, Wurtele H*, Drobetsky E* (2018) Replication Protein A Availability During DNA Replication Stress Is a Major Determinant of Cisplatin Resistance in Ovarian Cancer Cells. Cancer Research doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0618.
  • Simoneau A, Ricard É, Wurtele H (2018) An interplay between multiple sirtuins promotes completion of DNA replication in cells with short telomeres. PLoS Genetics. 14(4):e1007356.
  • Desfossés-Baron K, Hammond-Martel I, Simoneau A, Sellam A, Roberts S, Wurtele H. (2016) Valproate inhibits MAP kinase signalling and cell cycle progression in S. cerevisiae. Scientific Reports. doi: 10.1038/srep36013
  • Simoneau A, Ricard É, Weber S, Hammond-Martel I, Wong LH, Sellam A, Giaever G, Nislow C, Raymond M, Wurtele H. (2016) Chromosome-wide histone deacetylation by sirtuins prevents hyperactivation of DNA damage-induced signalling upon replicative stress. Nucleic Acids Research. 44(6):2706-26.
  • Bélanger F, Angers JP, Fortier É, Hammond-Martel I, Costantino S, Drobetsky E, Wurtele H. (2016) Mutations in Replicative Stress Response Pathways Are Associated with S Phase-Specific Defects in Nucleotide Excision Repair. Journal of Biological Chemistry 291(2):522-37.
  • Simoneau A, Delgoshaie N, Celic I, Dai J, Costantino S, Boeke JD, Verreault A and Wurtele H (2015) Interplay between histone H3 lysine 56 deacetylation and chromatin modifiers in the response to replicative DNA damage. Genetics 200: 185-205
  • Wurtele H, Kaiser GS, Bacal J, St-Hilaire E, Lee EH, Tsao S, Dorn J, Maddox P, Lisby M, Pasero P, Verreault A. (2012) Histone H3 lysine 56 acetylation and the response to DNA replication fork damage. Molecular and Cellular Biology 32: 154-172.
  • Wurtele H, Tsao S, Lepine G, Mullick A, Tremblay J, Drogaris P, Lee E-H, Thibault P, Verreault A, Raymond M. (2010) Modulation of Histone H3 Lysine 56 Acetylation as an Antifungal Therapeutic Strategy. Nature Medicine 16: 774-780


  • Postdoctoral fellowship

    Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, États-Unis

  • Postdoctoral fellowship

    IRIC, Université de Montréal

  • PhD

    CRCHUM, Université de Montréal


  • 2020 Senior Researcher  (FRQS)
  • 2016 Junior 2 Research Scholar  (FRQS)
  • 2012 Junior 1 Research Scholar  (FRQS)
  • 2012 Finalist for the Maud Menten New Principal Investigator Prize  (CIHR)
  • 2010 Postdoctoral Fellowship  (Human Frontier Science Program)
  • 2008 Postdoctoral Fellowship  (Cancer Research Society, Canada)
  • 2004 PhD fellowship  (FRSQ)