Pascal de Santa Barbara Ph.D. Biology-Health

Course and current status

Academic Degrees

2005: Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches (HDR), University of Montpellier I, France.

1995-1998: Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Montpellier I, Institute of Human Genetic, UPR1142 CNRS, Montpellier, France (Advisor: Pr. Philippe Berta).

 

Appointments

Since 2011: Team Leader, INSERM. Research Scientist (DR2), INSERM U1046, Physiology and Experimental Biology of Heart and Muscles, Montpellier, France. Director: Pr. Jacques Mercier.

2007-2010: Group Leader, INSERM. Research Scientist (CR1), INSERM ERI25, Muscle and Pathologies, Montpellier, France. Director: Pr. Jacques Mercier.

2004-2006: INSERM Research Scientist (CR1), Institute of Human Genetic, UPR1142 CNRS, Montpellier, France (Advisor: Pr. Philippe Berta).

2002-2004: Post-doctoral fellow, Institute of Human Genetic, UPR1142 CNRS, Montpellier, France (Advisor: Pr. Philippe Berta).

1999-2001: Post-doctoral fellow, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA (Advisor: Dr. Drucilla Jane Roberts).

 

Honors and Awards

2010 : Prize « Chercheur d'Avenir », Région Languedoc-Roussillon, INSERM U1046, Montpellier, France.

2002-2003 : Postdoctoral fellowship, ARC, Institute of Human Genetic, UPR1142 CNRS, Montpellier, France.

2000-2001 : Postdoctoral fellowship, American Foundation for Urologic Diseases (AFUD), Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

1999 : Postdoctoral fellowship, ARC, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Scientific summary

The motility of the digestive tract is ensured by the coordinated contraction of the smooth muscle under the control of the autonomous enteric nervous system (ENS) and the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). The dysfunction of even just one cell type can be responsible to the development of gastrointestinal neuromuscular pathology (GINMD) in infants and adults. We showed that molecular pathways involved during the embryonic development of visceral smooth muscle cell such as FGF and BMP pathways are altered and that their misexpression may be responsible for GINMD.

The main focus of our research is to identify the molecular mechanisms that govern the development and differentiation of the visceral smooth muscle. Using both avian and mouse animal models, we investigate the function of BMP signaling pathway and RNA binding proteins during this process. Moreover, our interface with clinicians allows us to translate our findings into pathophysiology field.

With this approach, we aim to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control the development of the colonic wall in order to understand the etiology of GINMP. From identified functional, cellular and molecular visceral smooth muscle abnormalities, we project to develop various therapeutic strategies to reduce muscle dysfunction and to correct motility disorders.

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