Dr. Bernard Zalc has obtained his MD from Pitié-Salpêtrière Medical School in Paris (1974), and his PhD (Doctorate Es Sciences Naturelles) from University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris). After graduating, Dr. Zalc has been a post-doc with Pr. Norman Radin at University of Michigan (Ann Arbor-USA)(1974-75) and then with Dr. P. Dupouey at the Institute Pasteur in Paris (1975-1976). Then Dr. Zalc received a position in Dr. Nicole Baumann’s lab at INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale). In 1988 he was recruited as Directeur de Recherche at INSERM. Since 1998, Dr. Zalc has been directing the INSERM Unit “Biologie des Interactions Neurones/Glie”, which is located in Paris at the Hôpital de la Salpêtrière. Since 2009, Dr. Zalc is directing the Research Center of the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute (French acronym :CRICM). This research center group together all the research units in Neuroscience in the site of Hopital de la Salpetriere; this includes 25 teams, with a total of more than 450 individuals involved in research, teaching and clinical research (www.cricm.upmc.fr). In January 2011, all these teams have been regrouped in a new building of 22 000m2, which has been erected in the heart of the campus of the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospîtal.
Dr. Zalc's scientific interest is in the biology of myelin forming cells and related diseases like Multiple Sclerosis. For the past few years, he has concentrated his effort on the understanding of the origin during development of the oligodendrocyte, the myelin-forming cell in the central nervous system. Major findings from Dr. Zalc have been to establish the map of the restricted site of emergence of oligodendrocytes along the neural tube and to demonstrate that oligodendrocytes are generated by different sources of progenitors. His present work is devoted to the phylogenic and ontogenetic origin of myelin forming cells. Dr. Zalc’s ongoing research with Dr Jean Leon Thomas is aimed at deciphering the molecular mechanisms that underlies the specification of a multipotent stem cell into an oligodendrocyte and on the molecules that control the migration of oligodendrocyte precursors. Another project in collaboration with Dr. Catherine Lubetzki is related to the understanding of the processes controlling myelin deposition, with a special focus for remyelination, and together with Dr Bruno Stankoff on imaging in vivo, in human, myelinated tracts, demyelinated areas and evaluating remyelination using positron emission tomography.