Inserm team leader
January 2012 – Present
The Neuroscience Institute of Montpellier,
Saint Eloi Hospital,
The Mediterranean Institute of Neurobiology,
Scientific campus of Luminy,
The Brain Mind Institute
Laboratory of Neurodegenerative disease
The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
The Developmental Biology Institute of Marseille
Luminy scientific campus
The mission of our team is to understand how the cellular environment contributes to the degeneration of motoneurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) to develop pertinent therapeutic approaches.
Our research interests: ALS is a devastating motoneuron disease characterized by the selective and gradual degeneration of motoneurons in the brain and spinal cord. ALS typically initiates in mid-life by a focal muscle weakness and wasting, which irrevocably spreads to complete paralysis muscle atrophy and leads to death of patients within two to five years after onset of symptoms.
There is growing evidence that a persistent inflammatory response contributes to ALS pathogenesis. The reactive astrocytes in the vicinity of motoneurons play a pivotal role by determining the extent of the inflammatory response from microglia and also by releasing factors selectively toxic for motoneurons. Neuroimmunity, another pathological signature of ALS, is characterized by the accumulation of blood-derived immune cells in the central nervous system. However, the inflammatory dialogue between neurons and immune cells can result in neuroprotective or destructive outcomes. Finally, the effect of a sustained inflammation on the functional integrity of the motor system, including sensory neurons and interneurons, remains elusive.
Our transdisciplinary approach is focussed on: