Paolo Giacobini PhD Neuroscience

Course and current status

Paolo Giacobini obtained his Ph.D Degree in Neuroscience in 2005 at the University of Turin, Italy. This was a graduate partnership program between the University of Turin, Italy and the National Institute of Health (NIH), USA, where he spent several years during his PhD and Post-Doctoral formation. Since 2009 he’s a group leader at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Lille, France and in 2010 he obtained his HDR at the University of Lille.

In 2016 Dr Giacobini has been awarded laureate of the European Research Council-Consolidator Grant (ERC-CoG).

In 2017 Giacobini has been appointed Junior Research Director (DR2) at Inserm and he leads a research team composed by clinicians, post-doctoral fellows, PhD students, research assistants, and master students.

He has been member elected of the Administrative Council of the French Neuroscience Society (Société des Neurosciences; 2015-2019) and of the French Neuroendocrine Society (Société de Neuroendocrinologie; 2016-2019).

Since 2020 he is a Scientific Board Member of the BioImaging Center Lille (direction of all imaging facilities of the University of Lille, France).

In 2021 he has been appointed Expert Panel Member of the European Society of Endocrinology’s (ESE) Focus Area on Reproductive and Developmental Endocrinology.

Scientific summary

Dr. Giacobini has a broad background in the field of neuroscience, neuroendocrinology and developmental biology. His team is interested in dissecting the molecular mechanisms underlying the development and function of a small population of hypothalamic neurons regulating fertility in all vertebrate species, namely the Gonadotropin Hormone Releasing (GnRH) neurons. Alterations in the development and or function of the GnRH system are associated with several reproductive disorders. Among infertility disorders, Giacobini’s team is interested in understanding the neuroendocrine basis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is the most frequent reproductive disorder affecting 10-18 % of women worldwide.In addition, PCOS women frequently present different metabolic comorbidities, including obesity and insulin resistance. As a result, PCOS patients have higher risk of type-2 diabetes, and at least half of them meet the criteria of metabolic syndrome. Collectively, these alterations have a discernible impact on the quality of life and define an enormous clinical, psychological, societal and economic burden, which urges for development of improved diagnostic and treatment protocols. The project that Giacobini leads since the last 5 years, and which is funded by a European Research Council-Consolidator Grant obtained in 2016, aims at understanding the etiology of PCOS and to discover new early diagnostic markers and therapeutic strategies to treat this disease. 

More recently Dr. Giacobini became interested in using tissue-clearing techniques to study the 3D-organization of human fetal development. Combining whole-mount immunostaining, tissue-clearing clearing, and light-sheet imaging Drs Paolo Giacobini and Alain Chedotal, at the Institut de la Vision in Paris, have teamed up to start building a 3D cellular map of the human development during the first trimester of gestation.  In 2019 Giacobini became member of a research consortium, that has been recently created in France under the support of INSERM (Human Development Cell Atlas, HuDeCA project), whose aim is to build an atlas of embryonic and fetal human cell types. This project is part of an international initiative to map both normal and pathological cells of the human body (Human Cell Atlas or HCA), in adults as well as during development. The HuDeCA transversal program aims to structure human embryology research in France and to develop unique platforms and databases to contribute significantly to international efforts, including the HCA project. Dr. Giacobini is also a member of a H2020 EU-funded Project (HUGODECA) whose goal is to describe cellular organisation and the development of human gonads for better understanding of the mechanisms that trigger differentiation and divergence during sex determination into testes in males and ovaries in females.

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