Marie Breau PhD Developmental Biology

Course and current status

2014 : INSERM Senior Scientist (CR1), Sylvie Schneider-Maunoury's laboratory, UMR7622, IBPS, Paris

2012-2014 : Postdoc in Sylvie Schneider-Maunoury's team, UMR7622, IBPS, Paris

2008-2012 : Postdoc in David Wilkinson's laboratory, NIMR, MRC, Londres

2003-2007 : PhD in Jean Paul Thiery's laboratory, UMR144, Curie Institute, Paris 

Scientific summary

Neuronal movements and axonogenesis in the developing nervous system

Deciphering the basic mechanisms of neuronal circuit formation represents a major challenge in modern neurosciences.

Our aim is to identify the mechanisms which control and coordinate neuronal movements with axon emergence (axonogenesis), two key steps of neuronal circuit assembly. 

In the central nervous system, neurons migrate radially or tangentially through the laminar structure of the developing brain. By contrast, in the peripheral nervous system, neurons are organised into clusters such as ganglia or sensory organs. During development, these neurons, or their progenitors, have to gather and converge from large fields of cells to form these discrete and compact structures. We refer to this process as cellular coalescence.

How coalescence is achieved is still poorly understood. What are the cell behaviours and molecular mechanisms underlying this morphogenetic process ? How are coalescence movements of neurons coordinated with axonogenesis ?

We use olfactory placode morphogenesis in zebrafish as a model to explore these questions. We have set up a live imaging technique to follow the movements, morphology changes, and intracellular architecture dynamics of olfactory sensory neuron progenitors and their forming axons during coalescence. Loss and gain-of-function experiments of candidate genes are combined with these imaging techniques to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying olfactory placode morphogenesis and its coordination with sensory axonogenesis.

Motivated, enthusiastic students or postdocs are welcome to apply. Please contact me directly if you are interested by the project.

Image d’exemple