MOUNIA CHAMI PhD

Course and current status

Education

2001:   PhD in molecular and cellular biology. Paris XI University, France. Host laboratory: INSERM U370, Faculty of Medicine Necker-Enfants malades. Paris V University, France.

2006: Diploma for research direction (HDR). Paris V University, France.

2007: Diploma for animal experimentation, level 1. Veterinary school, Lyon, France.

 Work experience

2001- 2004: Post-doctoral position. Host laboratory: Prof. Rizzuto Rosario. University of Ferrara, Italy.

2004- 2005: Post-doctoral position. Host laboratory: INSERM U370, Paris V University, France.

2005-2008: INSERM young investigator contract. Host laboratory: INSERM U807, Paris V University, France.

2009-2010: Team leader, Italian Institute of technology, Department of Neuroscience and Brain Technologies, Genova, Italy

Since 2011: Researcher (CR1 INSERM), Institute of molecular and cellular pharmacology, UMR 6097-CNRS, Nice-Sophia Antipolis University, Valbonne, France.

 Teaching activity

- Teaching of molecular biology and biochemistry (PCEM1) and of cellular biology (PCEM2), Paris V University, France.

- Teaching of Master 1 and Master 2 degrees, Paris V and XI Universities and Nice University, France.

- PhD Students Cycle Courses, Italian Institute of Technology, Genova, Italy.

Research supervision

Since 2001: Supervision of Master 1, Master 2 and PhD students.

Fellowships, patent and scientific prizes

2014: LECMA (Ligue Européenne contre la maladie d'Alzheimer) grant.

2006: Poster award of the European Calcium Society (ECS).

2001: National PHD award « Association Nationale des Enseignants de Biologie Cellulaire ».

2004 : Post-doctoral fellowship Roux, Pasteur institute.

2002: European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Long term post-doctoral fellowship.

2001: Post-doctoral fellowship « Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer ».

1998 : National PhD fellowship « la Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer » and the « Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale ».

2000 : Patent « cellular genes implicated in oncogenesis, diagnostic and therapeutic applications ». INSERM patent N° 00 11 826, 2000.

Scientific summary

My research project is concentrated on the study of the role of calcium signaling at the subcellular level in physiological and pathological conditions.

I am specialized in: 1) the measurements of calcium signalling dynamics in different intracellular compartments and microdomains (Endoplasmic Reticulum “ER”, mitochondria, cytoplasm) using recombinant targeted aequorin probes, fluorescent probes, and ratiometric/FRET calcium-based probes (Pericam and cameleon) ; and 2) in 3D morphological high resolution imaging of ER and mitochondrial structure using targeted recombinant fluorescent proteins (GFP-based).

Using these tools and molecular biology approaches, I studied the molecular mechanisms associated to human liver carcinogenesis and the impact of calcium signaling in the control of cell proliferation and apoptosis. I demonstrated in different models the role of subcellular calcium signalling and ER-mitochondria structural communication in the accomplishment of apoptotic cell death. We cloned and characterized, a new spliced isoform of SERCA1 (Sarco-endoplsmic reticulum Calcium ATPase) encoding a C- terminal truncated SERCA1 protein (S1T). We demonstrated that S1T is an ER stress protein linking ER stress to mitochondrial apoptosis through selective calcium transfer from the ER to the mitochondria. We also reporterted  a primordial role for calcium in mitochondrial bioenergetics control in OXPHOS disease related to respiratory chain complex II defect.

Taking advantage from this knowledge in calcium signaling field and experience in mitochondrial and ER organelle function, I oriented my studies on the molecular mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Indeed, AD is a multi-factorial pathology where calcium deregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction and ER stress may play a crucial role.

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