Our team studies the cellular and molecular basis sustaining neuronal integrity, and deciphers the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration and/or developmental defects in disease. We combine fundamental and applied research, because we are convinced that the knowledge of the nervous system feeds therapeutic development, and reciprocally, that the study of diseases expands our knowledge of the basics. Our team is strongly engaged in the dissemination of science (fundamental & translational), and organizes/participates to numerous events for the public and patients.
Using a multidisciplinary approach encompassing genetics, cell biology, and physiology, the lab is permanently in a learning mode, seeking to explore new disciplines/systems that will help us answer our biological questions. In the last years, we have discovered the genetic loci and genes responsible for a number of neurological diseases, developed diagnostic tools and generated several pre-clinical models (patients derived cells, mouse and zebrafish) to tackle key cellular pathways for neuronal maintenance.
Initially focused on a fatal neurodegenerative disease called GAN (giant axonal neuropathy), for its wide alteration of the nervous system and generalized disorganization of the cytoskeleton, we identified the GAN gene and uncovered key roles of the encoded Gigaxonin-E3 ligase in controlling cytoskeletal architecture (Intermediate Filaments), autophagy machinery (ATG16L1) and neuronal identity (Shh signaling through Ptch). Overall, our team uncovered the repertoire of the molecular and cellular alterations underlying GAN pathophysiology, and now offers potential therapeutic targets for this fatal disease. Notably, our work on a rare disease has also contributed to a deeper understanding of fundamental cell- and neuro- biology. Moreover, these discoveries have a significant impact in health, as they can be of benefit to other neurological and non-neurological diseases.
Our scientific direction is to further tackle the biology of neuromuscular diseases, with a focus on GAN and Charcot-Marie-Tooth diseases. Specifically, we aim to unravel the regulations and functions of i) the cytoskeleton and ii) the autophagy pathway in normal neuronal physiology and disease states, and then translate this knowledge into therapies.
Three main axes are being pursued. Positions are open, so enthusiastic candidates are welcome to apply (see “job offer” section).
The spirit of the lab is to promote diversity and complementarity, at personal and professional levels. Acknowledging and respecting our differences, and building on those will make our journey fun and our research much richer!
The laboratory is currently recruiting, at various levels (2021: 3 postdoctoral researchers & 2 engineers; 2022: 1 PhD student)
Details on the projects and how to apply here:
Master student: ERASMUS program
Promoting science (fundamental & translational) is a strong commitment of the team. We organize and participate with enthusiasm to numerous events for the public and patient driven associations: Science Festival, Brain Week, Téléthon… Adapted to the message & the audience, our activities are on various formats: Twitter, YouTube, written press, television, conferences, workshops in the lab, teaching in schools ….