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Movement is natural to us. From slowly crawling out of bed to the occasional dash to catch the bus, our muscles are hardwired to mechanically comply to our command. It is therefore easy to overlook the extent of the stress and strain they endure as a biological system. And despite an architecture geared for contraction, our muscles are prone to ripping and tearing. In this project, we will mimic the damage that occurs during exercise in in vitro muscle cultures using optogenetics.

By reproducing injuries in a dish, we will strip all the barriers separating us from the cells we are observing. This will allow us to monitor how cells repair their damage with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. We will first assess how cells change their behavior after damage using a panel of cell biology and microscopy tools. We will also identify which repair genes are upregulated and determine when and where they are expressed using sequencing and imaged-based spatial genomic techniques. The ultimate objective is to find a master regulator of the repair transcriptional program which we can then modulate to preserve muscle function. We will then be able to improve muscle health in myopathies, after exercise and during aging but other outcomes could also surface for in vitro meat production or preserving muscle in space flight.


Techniques: tissue engineering, RNA-sequencing, microscopy, cell biology and spatial transcriptomics.

20142023

Research activity per year

Personal profile

Biography

I obtained his PhD from the Paris Descartes University and the Freie University of Berlin working on nuclear positioning during skeletal muscle development. I then performed his post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Pura Munoz in Barcelona studying how myofibers respond to discrete injuries. In parallel, I lead the tissue engineering MyoChip team in Lisbon aimed at supplementing neurons and a vasculature to in vitro muscle culture. After a short stay at Stanford University to apply imaged-based spatial genomic techniques to muscle specimens, I began his laboratory on intercellular communication within the muscle organ at Monash University in Australia in 2023.

 

I am interested in seeing biology unfold infront of me. Throughout my training, I developed in vitro muscle systems to observe and manipulate cells in real time. My work focuses on complexifying in vitro systems to generate multi-cell type cultures with which we can answer fundamental biological questions and model diseases for drug screening.

 

I recently published a paper in which we identify a novel mechanism of muscle repair which is independent of stem cells. This finding could redefine strategies of how we preserve muscle function in exercise, muscle diseases and aging. Alongside my work on intercellular communication, I hope to decipher the mechanisms underlying this muscle self-repair program. 

 

Research interests

Our lab is interested in understanding how cells communicate to establish the architecture of skeletal muscle. We use cell biology, tissue engineering and spatial transcriptomics to study how specialized regions such as the neuromuscular and myotendineous junctions develop and operate in exercise, disease and aging

Supervision interests

The lab is currently growing and we are recruiting at all levels. I am very keen on building an inclusive and dynamic environment for labmembers. My mentoring philosophy aims to give mentees the basic tools to perform the research they are passionate. By faciliating their scientific and personal development, I hope to empower them to pursue their aspirations their way.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Cell Biology, PhD, Doctorate

Award Date: 27 Sept 2016

Experimental Medicine, Masterof Science, Master of Science

Award Date: 30 Sept 2012

Physiology, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Science, McGill University

Award Date: 30 May 2009

Research area keywords

  • Skeletal muscle
  • Tissue engineering
  • Regenerative Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Spatial Transcriptomics

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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