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Faculty Member

France Gagnon MSc, PhD

Email Address(es)
Office Phone
Office Address
Dalla Lana School of Public Health 155 College Street, Office 662 Toronto, ON M5T 3M7
Epidemiology Division
SGS Status
Full Member
Appointment Status
Admin Position
Associate Dean, Research
Currently Accepting Doctoral Students?

Research Interests

Research Area:

  • Genomic and epigenomic epidemiology
  • Quantitative trait genetics
  • Cardiovascular genetics and epidemiology

Research Activities:

  • Identifying sexual dimorphisms, genetic and epigenetic determinants of chronic cardiovascular diseases and risk factors through innovative study designs that integrate emerging molecular technologies and novel analytic approaches
  • Application of polygenic risk scores
  • Knowledge synthesis through systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • Research training with specific emphasis on comprehensive cross- and inter-disciplinary training for epidemiological and statistical genetic research

Education & Training History

Fellowship (Genetic Epidemiology), University of Washington, Seattle

PhD, Biomedical Sciences (Cellular & Molecular Biology), Université de Montréal, Montréal

MSc, Experimental Medicine (Cardiovascular Epidemiology), Université Laval, Québec

BScN, BA, University of Ottawa, Ottawa

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology (CHL5430)
  • STAGE (Strategic Training for Advanced Genetic Epidemiology) training program mentor and former director

Professional Summary & Appointments

Professor (tenured), Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH)

Associate Dean of Research

Full Member School of Graduate Studies

Selected Honours & Awards

  • 2017, Selected for the New and Evolving Academic Leaders (NEAL) program, UofT
  • 2016, Selected for the Science Leadership Program (SLP), UofT
  • 2014, Anthony Miller Award for Excellence in Research, DLSPH
  • 2014, President-Elect, International Genetic Epidemiology Society
  • 2014, Graduate Teaching Award for Early Career Excellence, U of T Faculty of Medicine
  • 2012, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2 renewal) in Genetic Epidemiology
  • 2010, Elected on the Board of Directors, International Genetic Epidemiology Society
  • 2007 and ongoing, Reviews Editor for the journal Human Genetics
  • 2007, Early Researcher Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation
  • 2007, Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Genetic Epidemiology
  • 2006, New Investigator Award, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • 2006, New Investigator Award, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • 2002, James V. Neel Young Investigator Award, International Genetic Epidemiology Society

Current Research Projects

Together with statistician and epidemiologist colleagues from the STAGE team, to develop a unified polygenic risk score analytics platform for risk prediction, causal inference and discovery. The team aims to enable development, testing and deployment of flexible, powerful and robust analytics tools, and to apply these tools to a wide range of health outcomes and contexts.

Together with collaborators in Ottawa, Toronto, Bordeaux and Marseille, my research group has launched a genomic and epigenomic research program of deeply phenotyped individuals from clinical cohorts and large French-Canadian families. Our goal is two-fold: 1) To identify and characterize clinically-relevant genetic and epigenetic determinants of venous thromboembolism and better understand its underlying molecular mechanisms. This includes the investigation of sexual dimorphisms underlying hemostatic traits variation and recurrent venous thromboembolism; 2) To incorporate these novel genetic and epigenetic determinants to clinical algorithms to better predict outcomes. We are using multi-disciplinary multi-design approaches enriched by hypothesis-driven strategies that have evolved from comparative and regulatory genomics work.

Active Grants as Principal Investigator

  • 2019, 2020, McLaughlin Centre Accelerator Team Grant: A unified polygenic risk score analytics platform for risk prediction, causal inference and discovery
  • 2019-2022, CIHR Project Scheme: Sex differences in the risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism: testing an epigenetic hypothesis
  • 2018-2020, CIHR Catalyst Grant: Sex-specific DNA methylation in VKORC1 & UBIAD1 as variables in clinical decision rules for recurrent venous thromboembolism

Representative Publications

Ten representative publications in the past five years; trainees under my supervision underlined

  • Ward-Caviness C, Huffman JE, Everett K, et al. DNA methylation age is associated with an altered hemostatic profile in a multiethnic meta-analysis. Blood. Doi: 10.1182/blood-2018-02-831347. PMID: 30042098
  • Truong V, Huang S, Dennis J, Lemire M, Zwingerman N, Aïssi D, Kassam I, Perret C, Wells P, Morange PE, Wilson M, Trégouët DA, Gagnon F. Blood triglyceride levels are associated with DNA methylation at the serine metabolism gene PHGDH. Scientific Reports. Doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-0955-z. PMID: 28894120
  • Dennis J, Medina-Rivera A, Truong V, Antounians L, Zwingerman N, Strug L, Wells P, Trégouët DA, Morange PE, Wilson MD, Gagnon F. Leveraging cell type-specific regulatory regions to detect SNPs associated with a thrombosis endophenotype. Genetic Epidemiology. doi: 10.1002/gepi.22049. PMID:28421636
  • Zwingerman N, Medina-Rivera A, Kassam I, Wilson MD, Morange PE, Trégouët DA, Gagnon F. Sex-specific effect of CPB2 Ala147Thr but not Thr325Ile variants on the risk of venous thrombosis: A comprehensive meta-analysis. PLoS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0177768. PMID:28552956
  • Mandaviya PR, Joehanes R, Aïssi D et al. on behalf of The CHARGE Consortium Epigenetics group and BIOS Consortium. Genetically defined elevated homocysteine levels do not result in widespread changes of DNA methylation in leukocytes. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182472. PMID:29084233
  • Dennis J, Truong V, Aïssi D, Medina-Rivera A, Blankenberg S, Germain M, Lemire M, Antounians L, Civelek M, Schnabel R, Wells P, Wilson MD, Morange PE, Trégouët DA, Gagnon F. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in an intragenic chromosome 2q region associated with tissue factor pathway inhibitor plasma levels and venous thromboembolism. Journal of Thrombosis and PMID:27490645
  • Kassam I, Gagnon F, Cusimano MD. Temporal trends in the association of the APOE-e
     allele with outcome of traumatic brain injury in children and youth:  A meta-analysis and meta-regression. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and PMID: 25904811
  • Gagnon F, Aïssi D, Carrié A, Morange PE, Trégouët DA.  Robust Validation of Methylation levels association at CPT1A locus with Lipid plasma levels. Journal of Lipid Research. doi: 10.1194/jlr.E051276. PMID:24850808
  • Dennis J, Kassam I, Morange P, Tregouet D, Gagnon F.Genetic determinants of tissue factor pathway inhibitor plasma levels. Thrombosis and Haemostasis. doi: 10.1160/TH14-12-1043. PMID: 25879386
  • *Dick KJ, Nelson CP, Tsaprouni L et al. DNA methylation and body-mass index: a genome-wide analysis. Lancet. doi 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62674-4. PMID: 24630777  Commented in: Callaway E.  Epigenomics starts to make its mark. Nature. doi:10.1038/508022a. PMID: 24695296; Murphy TM and Mill J. Epigenetics in health and disease: heralding the EWAS era. Lancet. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60269-5.PMID: 24630775; Osório J. Looking at the epigenetic link between obesity and its consequences: the promise of EWAS. Nat Rev Endocrinol. doi:10.1038/nrendo.2014.42. PMID: 24686199
  • Gagnon F. Cautious enthusiasm about GWAS findings. Blood. PMID: 25395143. doi:10.1182/blood-2014-10-601518