Daniela Cota M.D. in Medicine and Surgery

Course and current status

Education and Professional positions:

Since 2011: Group Leader Inserm permanent team (AERES evaluation: A+)

Since January 2009: Deputy director, NeuroCentre François Magendie, Bordeaux

2008-2010: Group Leader of an AVENIR-ATIP team “Energy balance and obesity”

Since 2008: CR1 Inserm permanent position; AVENIR-ATIP  laureate

2008-2013: clinical researcher contract Inserm/CHU hospital Bordeaux

2004-2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Cincinnati, OH, USA with Profs. R. J. Seeley and S. C. Woods

2001-2003: Postdoctoral Fellow, Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany with Profs. G. K. Stalla and U. Pagotto

2001-2003: Medical School of Specialization in Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders, Univ. of Bologna,  Italy (Director Prof. R. Pasquali)

2000 : Medical License, Univ. of Bologna, Italy

1999 : M.D. Magna cum Laude in Medicine and Surgery, Univ. of Bologna, Italy

Other professional activities:

Since 2014: member Editorial Board of Endocrinology

Since 2013: Academic Editor for Plos One

Since 2012: consulting Editor for Molecular Metabolism

Since 2012: member of the Editorial Board of ISRN Obesity

2011-2012: member  of  French AERES evaluation committees

Since 2008: member of the French Society of Neuroscience, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) and of the Society for the Study of Ingestive behavior (SSIB)

Since 2008: member of the Editorial Board of the Italian Journal of Primary Care (IJPC)

2008: consultant for SRone, Glaxo-Smith Kline

2005-2008:scientific consultant for the pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis, USA

Since 2004: member of the Endocrine Society and of the Obesity Society

Selected Honors and Awards:

2011: Partner in French EquipEx  OptoPath and French LabEx BRAIN

2010: Inserm prize for excellence in science

2009:Prize FRM Aquitaine

2008-2010: Inserm AVENIR-ATIP grant/Chair of Excellence Region Aquitaine/Marie Curie International Reintegration Grant

2005: Ethan Sims Young Investigator award of the Obesity Society


Scientific summary

Obesity is a major health problem worldwide. However, despite the human and economic costs of this disease, efficient anti-obesity therapies are currently lacking.

One of the avenues that might lead to gain significant insights into the causes and potential treatments of obesity is the unravelling of the biological mechanisms regulating energy balance. Integrative systems and specific fuel sensing pathways are among the mechanisms known to control energy balance. Therefore, our past 4 years of research activity has been committed to studying in an integrated way both integrative systems and specific fuel sensing pathways. In particular, among the integrative systems, we have investigated the endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) and, among the fuel sensing mechanisms, we have studied the mammalian Target Of Rapamycin complex 1 (mTORc1) cascade. Our studies on the ECS have helped to further detail the role of this system in energy balance by showing that while food intake and energy expenditure are controlled by cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) located in the central nervous system, the equilibrium between energy storage and utilization is mediated by a direct action of CB1 on peripheral tissues. At the same time, our ground-breaking studies on the mTORc1 pathway have been the first to demonstrate that mTORc1 is a critical integrator of the effects of hormones and nutrients on food intake, and that the dysregulation of this pathway favours obesity.

In conclusion, our research activity has significantly contributed to extend our understanding of how integrative systems and intracellular fuel sensing mechanisms control energy balance and contribute to the development of obesity. Such studies therefore constitute a solid background on which we plan to develop our future research project

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