As a neuroscientist and stem cell biologist, I am a Associate Professor in Stem Cells and Neurobiology, Principal Investigator, linking my basic research to industry and clinical needs, as well as integrated PhD programme lead, MRC DTP deputy lead and Doctoral Programme Lead.
Having graduated in Biology from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France, I completed my PhD in Neurosciences at the University of Paris VI, France, working on intracellular signalling pathways during neuronal apoptosis I then moved on as postdoctoral fellow in Professor Derek van der Kooy’s team in Toronto, Canada, working on neural stem cells during development, in the adult brain and in different pathological conditions, before joining Southampton.
- How brain development and function are affected by external factors such as maternal diet
- In vitro stem cells modelling of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases' molecular and cellular pathology
I lead a research group that investigates the role of the microenvironment on the activity of stem cells in the developing, adult or pathological brain. I am part of the Centre for Human Development, Stem Cells & Regeneration and the Southampton Neuroscience Group. My research group is based within the Southampton General Hospital and comprises clinical, non-clinical and industry scientists.
Role of maternal diet on regulation of offspring foetal neural stem cells and brain development
Early studies suggest an effect of maternal low protein diet on the overall brain growth and cell cycle. Generation of astrocytes and mature neurons is also affected by protein restriction during gestation. These and our data suggest that neural stem cells activity is affected by a maternal low protein diet. Our hypothesis is that a maternal low protein or high fat diet during gestation, and possibly just during the periconceptional period, affects the development of the brain and the regulation of neural stem cells across life. In particular, the project examines whether the maternal diet regulates in vitro and in vivo proliferation, self-renewal, differentiation and migration of the offspring neural stem cells at different ages, using techniques such as sphere assay, immunocyto/histochemistry, FACS, videomicroscopy, migration assays, in vivo labelling and imaging.
A human iPSC derived-3D neural model to study cellular and biochemical aspects of the pathology of Alzheimer's Disease's pathology
Treatments developed in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease fail to translate to patient therapies, possibly because there are significant differences between animal and human brains and proteins. To counteract this, patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) can be used to generate human neuronal models. We compare and contrast aspects of the structure and function of iPSC-derived neurons grown in 2D and 3D culture, with those of human resected tissue. We focus on aspects of tau biology and synaptic function to generate a gold standard for these disease-related parameters in living adult human neurons. We generate a 3D iPSC-derived neural model to study some cellular and biochemical aspects of the pathology of Alzheimer's disease.
I lead the integrated PhD programme as well as the Doctoral Programme in the school of Clinical and Experimental Sciences, I am the deputy lead for the MRC DTP at the University of Southampton.
I lecture at undergraduate (Medicine, Biology) and postgraduate (Medicine) levels in Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Neurosciences.
I supervise undergraduate and postgraduate short research projects in Medicine and Biology.
I am an Academic Integrity Officer in the Faculty of Medicine
External roles and responsibilities
- BSc Molecular and Cellular Biology, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France (1996)
- MSc Cellular Biology and Physiology, University of Lyon I, France (1997)
- MRes Neurosciences, University of Paris VI (now Sorbonne University), France (1998)
- PhD Neurosciences, University of Paris VI (now Sorbonne University), France (2003)
- PCAP (Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice) University of Southampton, UK (2010)
- PhD studentship in Neurobiology of Adaptive Processes Unitat University of Paris VI (France) funded by Association France-Alzheimer (France), Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (France), Société de Secours des Amis des Sciences (France), 1997-2003
- Postdoctoral fellowships in Professor Derek van der Kooy’s team at University of Toronto (Canada) funded by Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (France), Stem Cell Network (Canada), Regenerative Medicine Development Centre (Canada), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation/Stem Cell Network (Canada), 2003-2007
- Roberts Lecturer in Stem Cells / Brain Repair (HEFCE funded) at the University of Southampton (UK) 2008-2018
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (UK) 2011-present
- Enterprise Fellow of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton (UK) 2012-2018
- Inbound Research Mobility Award, Chinese University of Hong-Kong (2016)
- Inaugural Junior Enterprise Award (2014)
- Global Partnership Award (2014)
- Human Worlds 2019 award, Creative Activity category (2019)
- University of Southampton Digital Engagement-Pionner Awards 2022 (2022)