Joëlle Chabry Neuro-immunity and behavior

Course and current status

Joëlle CHABRY, Ph.D
" Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire "
CNRS UMR 6097      660, route des lucioles Sophia Antipolis
06560 Valbonne FRANCE
tel +334 93 95 77 48   Fax: +334 93 95 77 08

Web site:

 French citizenship   Born January 6th, 1964 in Nice (France)

Current position

2012- at present Senior Investigator in the team “Development of innovative therapeutic strategies for the treatment of depression” lead by Dr. C. Heurteaux.

1999-2012 Team leader of the "Molecular and Cellular Biology of Prion Diseases" team Research Director National Institute of Health (INSERM)

1996-1998 " Junior Researcher" "Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases" National Institute of Health, NIAID, Rocky Mountain Laboratories Hamilton, MT 59840, USA Advisor : Dr. Bruce Chesebro.

1992-1996 Junior Researcher National Institute of Health (INSERM)

PhD students supervisor

October 1st, 2004  Mathieu Marella, PhD Thesis.

November 26th, 2007  Sevda Dirikoc, PhD Thesis.

June 9th, 2009 Serena Santucci, PhD Thesis.

December 17th, 2009 Baptiste Ménard



2008          “Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches” University of Nice (France) 

1992           Doctor of Philosophy, Biochemistry and cellular biology. University of Nice (France)

1988           Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry with honors. University of Nice (France)


Main grants received

• 2007                         Alliance Biosecure (France)
• 2006-2009           ANR ”Neurosciences”  
• 2005                    Fondation de l’Avenir                   
• 2003-2005           Neuroprion : European Network of Excellence
2001-2003           French Program on ESST and Prions
2000-2003           Young investigator fellowship award INSERM
• 1998-2001           French Program on ESST and Prions


Honors and Awards

2004 Award from “Fondation pour la Recherche Scientifique Québéquoise” (FRSQ)

1997-1998 N.A.T.O researcher fellowship


Invited Speaker (2005-2010)

December 2010 Alcoholism & Addictions IREB, Paris (France)

April 2010 Congrès de Neurologie de Langue Française, Lyon, (France)

November 2009 Sixth International BMAA Conference, Miami, Florida (USA)

June 2009 Informa Life Sciences' Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies' Conference, Cologne (Germany)

June 2008 Europe’s leading event on TSE risk assessment for Biopharmaceuticals, Praha (Czech Republic)

May 2008   ICRS Satellite Meeting, Limassol (Chyprius)

October 2007 Gordon Research Conferences “Cannabinoid function in the CNS”. Les Diablerets (Switzerland)

• April 2005 II International Symposium on “The new prion biology: Basic science, diagnosis and therapy Venice (Italy).

February 2005 Swiss Societies for Experimental Biology and Neuroscience “Molecules to mind”. Zürich (Switzerland)


Selected bibliography

- Petit-Paitel A., Ménard B., Guyon A., Béringue V., Nahon J-L., Zsürger N. and Chabry J. (2012) PlosOne 7(4):e34691.

- Cordier-Dirikoc S. and Chabry, J. (2008) J.Virol. 82(17):8933-6

- Dirikoc, S., Priola, S. A., Marella M., Zsürger, N and Chabry J (2007)J.Neurosci. 27 (36): 9537-44.

- Marella M., Gaggioli C., Batoz M., Deckert M., Tartare-Deckert S., and Chabry J (2005) J. Biol. Chem. 280(2):1529-34.

- Marella M., and Chabry J (2004)J.Neurosci. 24(3): 620 –627.

- Chabry J, Ratsimanohatra C., Sponne C., Elena P-P., Vincent J-P. and Pillot T. (2003) J.Neurosci. 23: 462-469.

Scientific summary

Human lifestyles, life events, living environment and psychosocial factors have considerable impact on brain functioning and neuronal abilities. In parallel, these factors may also play a role in modulating both immune and neuro-immune systems. In animals, accumulating evidence indicates that environmental enrichment (EE) can mimic positive life experiences. Rodent models of EE refer to housing with increased space, physical activity, and social interactions that facilitate enhanced sensory, cognitive, motor and social stimulation. Accumulating evidence indicates that EE has powerful beneficial effects on various physio-pathological processes as it alters neurotransmitter systems, produces changes in gene expression and stimulates hippocampal neurogenesis.  Recently, EE has been shown to prevent the development of drug addiction, eliminate established addiction-related behaviors and even reduce the risks of relapse. 

A new actor has recently emerged in both alcoholism and depression fields namely the immune system. Indeed, chronic alcohol consumption augments pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the brain. Increased levels of the cytokine MCP1 (Monocyte chimoattractant protein1) were measured in post-mortem brain of alcoholics as well as in brain of alcohol-treated rodents. Interestingly, EE has also recently been shown to induce changes in the immune system. Our working hypothesis is that these changes could explain beneficial effects of EE on addiction.

Our research projet aims at (1) identifying psychosocial factors having positive impact on the success of alcohol withdrawal, (2) developing a mouse models of enriched environment having a positive impact on alcohol withdrawal (3) taking advantage of these models to investigate the role and the nature of immune cells involved in inflammation in the brain during alcohol-related addiction, withdrawal and depression.

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