Since 2010 Assistant Professor (Maitre de Conference) at University Pierre et Marie Curie. Institut Paris Seine (IBPS) Department Neuroscience Paris Seine (NPS). INSERM U1130, CNRS UMR8446, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris.
2005-2009 Post-doctoral researcher in the Center for Cognition and Neural Systems, Edinburgh, UK, Laboratory of Prof. Richard RGM MORRIS.
2001-2004 PhD in Cognitive Neurosciences, University of Toulouse (France). Supervisor: Prof J-M Lassalle.
Glutamate plays a central role in protein metabolism and biosynthesis. Moreover glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the CNS. Before its exoctytotic release, glutamate is accumulated in synaptic vesicles by 3 proton-dependent transporters named VGLUT1-3. These 3 transporters are structurally and functionally closely related conserved. In contrast, their distributions are almost complementary.
As can be seen on this figure (parasagital section of a rat brain), VGLUT1 expressing neurons (in blue) are essentially cortical (form the cerebral, hippocampus and cerebellum cortices). VGLUT2-positive neurons (in red) are essentially subcortical (in neurons forming a continuum from the thalamus to the spinal cord. Surprisingly, VGLUT3 is localized in a small population of neurons using another major neurotransmitter than glutamate. VGLUT3 is observed (in yellow) in cholinergic interneurons in the striatum/accumbens, subpopulations of GABAergic interneurons in the cortex as well as the hippocampus, and finally in serotoninergic neurons.
Therefore, VGLUT1-3 define three glutamatergic neuronal systems. Our team is interested in understanding the role of the three glutamatergic systems in normal and pathological brain. Using VGLUTs as biomarkers, we study rodent models as well as Human brain.
Our work is organized around two major axes:
1) Animal studies
In order to better understand the functional diversity of the glutamatergic systems, we are using genetically modified animals (loss or gain of function) for each VGLUT. The study of these animals is, and will be held by using various methods such as: anatomy, biochemistry, cellular biology (dynamic fluorescent imaging), in vivo imaging (MRI, PET), electrophysiology and behavior.
2) Human studies
The 3 VGluTs by are investigated by quantitative neuroanatomical methods (western blot, and immunoautoradiography). These experiments are made on Human post-mortem brain tissue samples from controls or subject suffering from neurodegenerative (AD or PD) or psychiatric (autism, suicide, anxiety) diseases.
All together these approaches will allow us to
1) Increase our knowledge on the role of the 3 glutamatergic systems in normal and pathological condition
2) Develop therapeutic or diagnostic tools