Michèle Beniey

January 2021

  • Residency Program: Université de Montréal
  • Supervisors: Dr. Saima Hassan,

When did you become interested in research?
My interest in research started to grow during my undergraduate studies. Before starting medicine, I did a summer internship in the fundamental research laboratory of Dr. Stephanie Fulton at CRCHUM (Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal). The research project I partook in at that time was very different from my current scientific area, but I was introduced to several aspects of the scientific reasoning and to lab techniques. A few years later, my research interest grew as a medical clerk during my core surgical rotation in the Department of Surgical Oncology at CHUM (Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal).

What research are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the role of parp inhibitors in breast cancer, particularly triple-negative breast cancer. We are evaluating three different sequencing strategies of administration of chemotherapy (i.e., carboplatin) and parp inhibitors (i.e., talazoparib). We use orthotopic xenografts as a model to assess tumor and metastatic response, and toxicity.

How has research influenced your career goals?
Over the past years, as a resident in the clinician-scientist program, research made me grow a lot, gaining in maturity. Having been mostly exposed to the clinical setting prior to the years I spent doing research full time, I realized, in a very concrete way and as a protagonist, the impact of research on the clinical issues that patients face.

I have a very strong bond with my patients in the clinic. However, research has given me access to a new world: a world in which we generate data on the bench side to fuel clinical innovations.  I have discovered a very inspiring way to contribute to the improvement of patients’ health. I liked the fact that I was able to take time to brainstorm and create scientific results, to adapt, to make decisions without any guidelines to inform them.

Research has opened my eyes on many levels. Without research, I truly wonder how I would have progressed in my career trajectory. Research also confirmed my interest in surgical oncology and helped me understand the scientific and clinical stakes of that field.

What is one piece of advice you would share to other residents interested in research?
The main advices I can give are the following:
1- Make a list of life objectives and see how research falls into it.

It is important to sit down and think about our own objectives before getting involved in a research degree, career, or project. The list will change over time. However, this will prevent us from engaging in something that will not bring us any benefit and spending a lot of energy without any purpose.

When starting a research project or degree, several objectives and frames are given to us by supervisors, program directors etc. Before being caught up in this spiral, we need to know where we stand and to always come back to the list. We also need to make sure that the proposed objectives and their achievement are in line with what we had in mind.

2- Choose a supervisor with experience.

3- Never panic. Do not try to hurry, accept that each step, each abstract, each manuscript take time.

What are the challenges of conducting research during residency?
The main challenge is to be stretched between taking the time needed to produce quality research and trying to be efficient, having several publications in a short period of time.

What do you enjoy doing outside of residency/research?
Outside of work all my time is dedicated to church, family, friends and sport. What I enjoy the most is taking time to grow on my Christian journey and learning theology. I pray and meditate the Bible a lot. I also enjoy spoiling my loved ones, reading, hiking, learning on femininity and developing my creativity by cooking and making home made cosmetics.

Most memorable moment in research?
The moment when I became autonomous with writing research protocols and manuscripts. This is key since it is the whole purpose of our research training.

Selected Publications
Beniey M., Boulva K., Tran A. Mapping Sentinel Lymph Nodes in Cutaneous Melanoma: A Vast Array of Perioperative Imaging Modalities. Melanoma Research 2020 doi: 10.1097/CMR.0000000000000704

Abbas M., Dhane M., Beniey M., Méloche-Dumas L., Eissa M., Guérard-Poirier N., El Raheb M., Lebel-Guay F., Dubrowski A., Patocskai E. Repercussions of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Well-being and Training of Medical Clerks: A Pan-Canadian Survey. BMC Medical Education 2020 doi: 10.1186/s12909-020-02293-0

Beniey M., Destrempes N., Coulombe G., El Khoury M., Nassif E. Use of Intraoperative Radioguidance in Recurrent Merkel Carcinoma, Case Reports in Surgery 2020 https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/1789185.

Beniey M., Gauthier V., Coulombe G., El Khoury M., Nassif E. Radioactive Seed Localization in Recurrent Thyroid Carcinoma: A Case Report. Otolaryngology Case Report 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xocr.2020.100165.

Beniey M., Boulva K., Kaviani A., Patocskai E. Novel Uses of Radioactive Seeds in Surgical Oncology: A Case Series, Cureus 2019 11(9): e5706. doi:10.7759/cureus.5706.

Beniey M., Haque, T. Hassan S. Translating the role of PARP inhibitors in triple-negative breast cancer. Oncoscience 2019;6:287-8.