Sophie Conchon PhD Molecular and Cellular Biology

Course and current status

Since Jan.2012 : INSERM CR1 Researcher,  Team #4 of the Centre for Research in Transplantation and Immunology, INSERM UMR1064, Nantes, France.

Aug.2005-Dec.2011 : INSERM CR1 Researcher, Laboratory of Hepatic Biotherapies, INSERM U948, Hôtel Dieu Hospital, Nantes, France.

Jan. 2000- Aug.2005 : INSERM CR2 Researcher, Institut Cochin, INSERM U567, Endocrinology Department, Paris, France.

1997-1999 :  Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology Division, Cambridge, UK (1998-99 : Marie Curie Fellowship).

1992-1996 : Ph.D.  INSERM U36 – Collège de France, Paris, France.

Scientific summary

The liver plays a unique role in immune regulation, striking a delicate balance between tolerance and immunity. It is continually exposed to endotoxins and products of microbial degradation coming directly from the gut via the portal vein. The liver is also important in detoxification. These processes can lead to persistent inflammation, autoimmune disease and/or cancer. Paradoxically, the liver is also regarded as a site of unique immune privilege and immune tolerance, particularly in the context of transplantation. Liver transplant patients can develop operational tolerance, defined as the maintenance of stable graft function with no harmful immune responses in the absence of immunosuppressive therapy.

At a preclinical stage, work performed with viral vectors in the field of inherited disease gene therapy has shown that transgene expression in hepatocytes could lead to induction of tolerance to the product of the transgene, expressed in the liver, and elsewhere in the body.

My projects focus on the mechanisms responsible for this hepatic immune tolerance, and on the development of new strategies for tolerance induction in an allogeneic context.

Keywords : hepatology, immunology, transplantation, gene therapy.

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