Chris JOPLING PhD Developmental Biology

Course and current status

2012-present     Group leader, IGF, Montpellier, FRANCE

2014                HDR, (University of Montpellier, France)

2012                CRCN, (INSERM, France)

2001-2006       PhD, Developmental Biology (Hubrecht laboratory, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

1999-2001       MSc, Neuroscience, (UCL, London, UK)

1995-1998       BSc, Biochemistry, (Kings College, London, UK)

Scientific summary

Our team aims to decipher the mechanisms involved in cardiac development, disease and regeneration. Our research is divided into the following programs


Cardiac development and disease

Congenital heart defects (CHD) are an unfortunately common occurrence affecting upwards of 2% of all live births. The cardiac outflow tract (OFT) in humans is a transient structure which develops during gestation and will give rise to a number of arterial pole features such as the aortic valve. Hemodynamic forces are known to regulate cardiogenic events such as OFT development and valve formation. When these forces, or the sensory systems which detect them, are disrupted these developmental processes are also affected. Our goal is to define the signalling events downstream of hemodynamic forces that drive OFT/aortic valve development and to identify novel factors required for this process.


Cardiac regeneration

The loss of cardiac tissue following a heart attack results in drastic changes in mechanical loading. Cardiomyocytes respond to these changes by undergoing hypertrophy which will ultimately lead to heart failure. In contrast to adult mammals, neonatal mice and adult zebrafish can fully regenerate their hearts after an extensive insult. Our goal is to identify the molecular mechanism required to trigger cardiac regeneration. In particular we are focused on the role of inflammation and mechanical forces


The effect of environmental factors on Neuro/Cardiovascular development

The harmful effects of poisonous high-levels of environmental pollutants to the central nervous and cardiovascular systems are well known. We are testing the hypothesis that exposure to pesticide cocktails during development, in compositions and dosages pertinent to environmental contamination and to consumers, may result in neuro/cardiovascular defects.


Epigenetics of cardiac development and disease.

Little is known about the epigenetic regulation of cardiogenesis. It is now clear that DNA sequence alone does not underlie complex regulatory networks. The cohesin complex, has been shown to play a central role in the formation and abrogation of DNA loops. Patients with loss of function mutations in cohesin complex members (Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS)) present with defective cardiac development that is thought to result from widespread transcriptional dysfunction. Characterizing the defective chromatin conformational changes underlying these defects will yield novel insights into the epigenetic mechanisms governing cardiac development.

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