Valerie MEZGER PhD Molecular and Cellular Biology

Course and current status

2001      HDR                          Accreditation to supervise research, University Paris VI, France

1990      PhD                          Molecular & Cellular Biology, University Paris VI, France

1985      Msc                           (Theoretical part) History and Philosophy of Science (REHSEIS), Univ Paris VII

1984      MSc                          Molecular & Cellular Biology, Univ Paris VI, France

1981-1985                           Student at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Paris

Research Experience

2009-present  Co-Director UMR7216 Epigenetics and Cell Fate, CNRS/Université Paris Diderot, Paris Director of Research and Group Leader. Team: Development & Environment Interface

Crosstalk between brain developmental programs and prenatal stress responses.

Contributions of stress-induced epigenetic mechanisms.

Translational strategies to neurodevelopmental disorders (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome; Autism and Preemies, linked to neuroinflammation).

1996-2009       CNRS Research Scientist (CR1) and Director of Research, (UMR 8541), ENS, Paris.  

Head of Group : Physiological roles of the Heat Shock Transcription Factors (HSFs).

                                (in the Michel Morange Lab)

Uncovered the role of HSF2 in normal gametogenesis and brain development

Unraveled HSF2 first target genes governing neuronal migration


1994-1996       Postdoctoral researcher, Weizmann Institute, Israel (David Yaffe & Uri Nudel lab)

Role of Dp71, a non-muscular product of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy gene (DMD).

Performed Dp71 gene inactivation by homologous recombination(knock-in), which allowed characterization of the stage- and cell type-specific activity of the Dp71 promoter during development and during differentiation of various tissues, including the nervous system and the eyes, and association with morphogenic events and terminal differentiation.

1991-1994       CNRS Research Scientist, CNRS URA 1302 (CR2, and then CR1 from 1994)

Unravelled of a novel Heat Shock transcription Factor (HSF2) in the preimplantation and post implantation mouse embryo.

Evidenced a spontaneous DNA-binding activity of HSF2 in brain development, unrelated to the regulation of Hsp genes.


1984-1990       Undergraduate and graduate research, CNRS UMR218, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France (François Jacob Lab; Supervisors: Olivier Bensaude and Michel Morange)

Mechanisms of developmental induction of the transcriptional activation of heat shock genes (Hsp) in the mouse preimplantation embryo and embryonal carcinoma cell lines.


1983                    6 month-internship, Institut Pasteur, Paris

                                (Supervisor: Charles BABINET)


1982                    Summer Internship, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA.

                                (Supervisor: Kathleen KARRER)


Scientific summary

Valerie  Mezger (Head of Team Interface between Development and Environment) has strong expertise in stress-responsive TFs (HSFs), and a leading position in the stress response and the transcriptomic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the stress response of the fetal brain (collab. P. Gressens; K. Hashimoto-Tori and P. Rakic, Yale, USA). Her team is one the founding groups of UMR7216, Epigenetics and Cell Fate (CNRS), created in January 2009 (Director J. Weitzman; Associate Director, V. Mezger) at the new campus (Paris-Rive Gauche) of Paris Diderot University. She dedicates to the unravelling of the epigenetic mechanisms by which stress-responses protect or compromise brain developmental programs. VM tackles this question by using fetal alcohol syndrome or neuroinflammation paradigms. VM has also participated in the establishment of the LIA (International Associated Laboratory) EPIGENO STEM (Univ Connecticut) and the DHU PROTECT (P. Gressens) and is an active member of its Scientific Council. She has published as a PI in EMBO J, PNAS, Genes & Dev, EMBO Mol Med, and as collaborator in Leukemia, Neuron, Plos Biol, Mol Psy.

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