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    Department of Development, Reproduction and Cancer

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    Department director: Daniel VAIMAN

    Deputy Directors: Béatrice ROMAGNOLO & Pascal MAIRE

     

    The “Development Reproduction and Cancer” Department includes teams whose scientific interests synergistically converge on the study of molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate proliferation, differentiation, morphogenesis both in development and in specific pathological conditions. Our studies have very strong connections to many areas of human health and disease including developmental disorders, inflammation, cancer, infertility and neurodevelopmental disorders. These connections are attested by the tight and proficient interactions that the teams of the Department have with the Medical School of “Paris Descartes” University and particularly with the Cochin and Necker Medical Centers.

     One of the most privileged strategic axes, shared by most teams, involves the study of the regulation of gene expression and chromatin structure including the analysis of the biological consequences due to the disruption of specific gene circuitries. Another theme that is the object of intense investigation is the study of the biology of stem cells including their interaction with the environment and their signalling. Finally, a particular emphasis is given to the study of the control of cell proliferation and differentiation in both physiological and pathological conditions. From a methodological perspective, most of the teams base their studies on murine models, human genetics and cell culture systems with a very strong potential on translational medicine research.

     The Department has a strong and long standing pioneering tradition in Genetics, Development, Epigenetics and Physiopathology which is demonstrated by the considerable number of scientific publications in highly ranked journals. Our teams have a strong international visibility that is illustrated by the important number of European networks grants and by the fact that our teams belong to several of the recently created prestigious consortia (“Laboratoires d’Excellence” LABEX) including “Who Am I”, “Gr-Ex” and “Site de Recherche Intégrée sur le Cancer” “SIRIX”.

     

    In particular, our main research interests converge on a number of crucial poles:

    1) The biology of stem cells and their signaling in physiological and pathological conditions (Teams Maire-Sotiropoulos, Mayeux-Bouscary and Perret)

    2) The molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in cell differentiation and tissue morphogenesis (Teams Billuart-Bienvenu, Desdouets, Maire-Sotiropoulos, Mayeux-Bouscary, Perret, Pontoglio and Vaiman)

    3) The control of cell proliferation in normal and pathological conditions (Teams Batteux, Billuart-Bienvenu, Desdouets, Maire-Sotiropoulos, Mayeux-Bouscary, Perret, Pontoglio and Vaiman)

    4) The study of the epigenetic mechanisms of control of gene expression (Teams Billuart-Bienvenu, Maire-Sotiropoulos, Perret, Pontoglio and Vaiman)

     

     Thanks to the multidisciplinary aspects of the research interests and the specific expertise of each team, there is a considerable number of collaborations in the Department. In addition, the spirit of our Institute supports a very interactive and pleasant interdisciplinary activity and collaboration between teams belonging to different Departments. In order to maintain and strengthen the interaction between groups, it is a tradition, in the Department, to organize every month a departmental committee meeting that gathers all team coordinators. During these meetings a different team presents its “strategic perspectives” in rotation. The Department considers this meeting a very precious opportunity to promote novel possible scientific exchange and collaborations between groups. In parallel, the Department, in conjunction with the EMD Department, promotes and organizes weekly meetings where PhD students and Post-Doctoral fellows, in rotation, present and discuss their projects and results. Finally, to keep track with the improvement of novel techniques and/or new systems regularly implemented in our platforms, the Department, in coordination with the other departments, promotes the dissemination of novel concepts and tools with the organization of technical seminars.

     In conclusion, the scientific research activity of the Department aims at understanding how specialized cells function, and how interactions between cells lead to the development of tissues and organs. Our research groups use a wide array of cutting-edge approaches including genetics, genomics, biochemistry, and advanced imaging techniques. Our strategies aim at improving our understanding of specific pathological conditions. Finally, the Department provides a stimulating educational and research environment at the forefront of life sciences.