Valérie Dupe Scientist at the institute of Genetics and Development of Rennes (FRANCE)

Course and current status

After having acquired a strong background in vertebrate development at the IGBMC (Strasbourg, France) and at KCL (London), I have joined the IGDR (Rennes, France) at the end of 2006.

During my graduate school and postdoctoral training, I have acquired all technical skills to analyse transgenic animal phenotypes. In particular, I have good knowledge of descriptive embryology of mouse and chick. I have largely contributed to the understanding of the mechanisms implicating retinoic acid during brain development and cranial neural crest cells differentiation. The goal of my research project at the IGDR is to understand molecular events that occur during a malformative disease designated by holoprosencephaly. 

Scientific summary

Holoprosencephaly is a major brain anomaly and provides a clue to understand the mechanisms of normal and abnormal development of forebrain. Based on the hypothesis that similar patterning defects underlie vertebrate and human malformations, I have chosen to study forebrain pattern formation in chicken as a paradigm for human HPE. Currently, I am developing an experimental approach using drugs known to inhibit specific signaling pathways (SHH, NODAL, FGF or Notch) on an avian model system. The originality of this approach is to perform simultaneous inhibition by using various combinations of these drugs at various concentrations. Our goal is to create a HPE susceptibility to show the implication of a complex gene interaction network in this pathology.

This work will also lead to valuable diagnostic information as this project is included in a large scale research program dedicated to understand Holoprosencephaly and improve its diagnosis.

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