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

Mechanics of neuronal development

During neuronal circuit formation, neurons move towards their final location while growing axons towards their target. While the biochemical guidance cues involved in neuronal migration and axon elongation are extensively studied, the contribution of mechanical forces in these processes remains largely unexplored in vivo.

In the lab we address this question using the zebrafish olfactory circuit as a model system. Its location underneath the skin of the embryo makes it amenable to live imaging and mechanical perturbation. We obtained imaging and functional data suggesting an important function for mechanical cues in the formation of the circuit: olfactory axons extend through the effect of extrinsic mechanical forces that drive the passive displacement of neuronal cell bodies away from their axon tips (Breau et al., Nat Comm, 2017).

Our goal is now to further identify the origin and contribution of mechanical forces in the construction of the circuit, and the molecular mechanisms involved in force propagation and sensing. To do so we use a pluridisciplinary strategy combining multiscale live imaging, genetic/optogenetic tools and physical approaches to measure and perturb forces in vivo.

We are looking for motivated, enthusiastic students or postdocs willing to join an interdisciplinary environment involving strong interactions between biologists and physicists. Please contact me directly if you are interested by the project.

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