Nathalie Vergnolle PhD in Pharmacology

Course and current status

I’m a gastrointestinal pharmacologist focusing on inflammation and pain.

Having trained in France (PhD in 1997 from the University of Toulouse), I did a 2-years post-doctoral training under the supervision of Pr. John L. Wallace and Pr. Morley D Hollenberg at the University of Calgary, Canada.

Rapidly, I was offered a position as assistant and then associate professor in the department of Pharmacology of the faculty of medicine at the University of Calgary, Canada. I spent half of my research career (10 years) there, building a research team at the University of Calgary.

Then, I took a position in France at the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) as a research Director, and I established an INSERM ATIP-AVENIR research team, with the support of the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation. 

In 2016, I have founded and I am the current director of the Digestive Health Research Institute in Toulouse (130 persons), France, where I also head a research team (Gut Proteases Signals) focused on the role of proteolytic balance and pathways in intestinal diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).

I have received several research awards and recognitions (some listed below):

-the master award in Gastroenterology in 2006 from the American Association of Gastroenterology

-the woman in inflammation research award in 2013, from the International Association of Inflammation Societies

- a European Research Council (ERC) personal award (Consolidator-ERC) in 2013

- the INSERM research prize in 2018

- the "Grand Prix Marthe Condat" for innovation and Technonolgy Transfert in 2020

Scientific summary

My research work has contributed to identify the major role of protease signals in inflammation and pain mechanisms. We have identified molecular targets (proteases and protease-activated receptors: PARs) for the treatment of inflammation and pain, having been the first to identify the pro-inflammatory effects (Vergnolle et al. 1999) and the pro-nociceptive effects (Vergnolle et al. 2001) of PARs. Our work has led pharmaceutical industry to launch programs on PAR inhibitors and protease inhibitors for the treatment of inflammation and pain, which are currently still on-going and for some of them in clinical phases.

As of today, I have published more than 200 research articles and 11 patents have been filled with the discoveries made by my research team.

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