Manuela Tavian PhD

Course and current status

2011 - Present: Head of a group at the UMR-S949, University of Strasbourg, EFS-Alsace (France)

2009-2011: Head of a Group at the INSERM), Unit 682, University of Strasbourg (France)

2006-2008: Head of a Group (Equipe Avenir) at the INSERM Unit 602, Villejuif (F).

2002: Permanent position as "CR1" at the INSERM Unit 506, Villejuif (F).

2001-2002: Post-doctoral fellow at the INSERM, Unit 506, Villejuif (F).

2000-2001: Post-doctoral fellow at the Pasteur Institute, Paris (F).

1993-1999: Preparation of a PhD thesis at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Embryology/CNRS, Nogent-sur-Marne (F).

Scientific summary

The continuous production of blood cells throughout life depends on the existence of a small cohort of haematopoietic stem cells (HSC) generated in the course of embryogenesis. These cells are characterised by their capacity for self-renewal and multipotency (ability to differentiate into all blood cell lines). The HSC resident in adult bone marrow are employed clinically in the treatment of haemopathies (leukaemia and certain genetic diseases of the blood system). However, the conditions allowing the in vitro expansion of these cells while conserving their potential for self-renewal and multipotency, an issue of major importance in view of their clinical application, are still poorly known.

The principal objective of our research is to elucidate the cellular and molecular events leading to the specification and activation of a haematopoietic programme during embryonic development, as likewise to understand the mechanisms involved in the generation and expansion of HSC in the different haematopoietic niches of the embryo.

Two lines of research are being developed. In a first instance, we are investigating the establishment of a haematopoietic system during ontogenesis in the human and murine embryo. This study – which aims at identifying new factors responsible for the emergence and above all the expansion of haematopoietic cells in the embryo – has led us to discover that angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is a new marker of HSC and allows earlier identification in the embryo of the pre-haematopoietic cells dispersed in the sub-aortic mesoderm (Sinka et al., 2012). ACE belongs to the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). A second line of research concerns the study of this system as a regulator of haematopoiesis.

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