My scientific career started in 1999 in France during the last year of my Master of Physiology. At that time, I joined Dr. PACAUD’s lab (Inserm U533, Nantes, France), a research group that was mostly interested on the identification of the roles of GTPase RhoA in the cardiovascular system.
At the end of my Ph.D. (2004), I decided to join Dr. Bustelo’s lab at the Cancer Institute of Salamanca (Spain) in order to continuing my scientific training on the Rho/Rac GTPase field. This stint was facilitated by the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) long term fellowship. My main work during this period has been the phenotypic characterization of knockout mice deficient in several members of the Vav family (Vav2 and Vav3), a group of signal transduction molecules that work as GDP/GTP exchange factors (GEFs) for Rho/Rac proteins.
Since 2009, I am in the UMR_S 915-l'institut du thorax (Nantes, France) as a full-time researcher. Cardiovascular research is identified as one of the excellent areas of research in Nantes, with UMR_S 915 - l'institut du thorax, as its main actor. The development of new therapies against cardiovascular pathologies constitutes one of the major axes of the projects of the institute.
Arterial diseases have engendered growing interest do their unfavorable impact on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. The aim of my project is to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of vascular diseases and to identify new therapeutic targets.
Rho proteins (RhoA, Rac1…) are major regulators of essential vascular smooth muscle cell functions. Increasing evidence has accumulated to implicate over-activation of Rho proteins as a common component for the pathogenesis of several cardiovascular disorders including hypertension. Recently, genetic analyses revealed that Rac1 could be involved in human arterial pathologies. However, the role of Rac1 in the cardiovascular system is still poorly understood.
By using both experimental models and developing approaches in human, the specific aim of my project is to determine the role of Rac1 in the cardiovascular system and to establish its involvement in hypertension.