Biography

Over the years, I have developed a strong interest for neuropathological conditions and their mechanisms, and how we could manipulate these molecular mechanisms to develop therapies. Understanding acute neuropathological conditions such as stroke or chronic brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease implies the ability to study in vivo the mechanisms of such conditions, hence my interest in animal models and in vivo imaging. Among the mechanisms involved, I am particularly interested in the relation between inflammation, neuroinflammation and brain damage/neuronal loss.
To answer the numerous scientific questions related to the understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved I have acquired a strong knowledge in several domains such as pharmacology of various neurotransmission systems (e.g. opioidergic, cholinergic, benzodiazepine), neuroscience, and neuroinflammation and neuropathological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke. More particularly, I have now acquired a good overview of the experimental approach of stroke, through model of brain ischaemia, and most importantly their respective strength and weakness (i.e. high reproducibility that translate poorly to clinical application). During my PhD I had the opportunity to approach PET imaging, a thematic that I was looking to take further during my post-doc in Orsay and now in Manchester. This technique obviously requires theoretical and practical knowledge of the biology it is applied to, but also knowledge in various domains outside biology such as neuroanatomy, and basic knowledge in radiochemistry to liaise with the radiochemists efficiently. Computing and programming are almost compulsory in this field to enable efficient image analysis, data management and processing; these fit quite well with my taste for programming. I have over the last 6 years implemented at the WMIC a new software for preclinical image analysis developed by Dr Renaud Maroy and his colleagues (CEA, Orsay).

Collaborators and affiliated staff

Main collaborators:

FMHS: Profs Karl Herholz, Steve Williams, Kaye Williams, Pippa Tyrrell, Anthony Jones, Joanna Neill, Drs Christian Prenant, Alex Gerhard, Rainer Hinz, Marie-Claude Asselin, Michael Harte and Mrs Alison Smigova.

FLS: Profs Stuart Allan & Nancy Rothwell, Dr Emmanuel Pinteaux

PhD students: Ms Aisling Chaney (supervisor) and Ms Sujata Sridharan & Helen Parker (co-supervisor)

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

Methodological knowledge

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurosciences
  • Neuroinflammation
  • Stroke
  • Preclinical molecular imaging (PET, MRI)
  • Alzheimer's disease

Overview

Leading preclinical brain imaging, with a main focus on PET imaging, and supporting brain imaging projects from collaborators.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Neuroscience;
  • D.E.A. (Diploma of Advanced Studies, compulsory pre-thesis diploma), Neurosciences;
  • Master Degree, Biochemistry and Biology

Research interests

Since I came in Manchester University in 2006, I have led the preclinical brain PET imaging activity in the University at the Wolfson Molecular Imaging Centre. This activity is focusing on imaging neuroinflammation to understand its contribution to brain pathological conditions, both acute and chronic, more particularly stroke and Alzheimer diseases. I am supervising and conducting the preclinical activity in Manchester for our contribution to the EU FP7 project INMiND, which started in March 2012. This grant is in perfect line with my previous and current research imaging activity, and is aiming at understanding the role of neuroinflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and identifying new biomarkers and therapeutic targets.
I have developed independent projects aiming at i) developing new biomarkers and contrast agents for both PET and MRI imaging, and ii) using these contrast agents to image neuroinflammation and investigate how peripheral inflammation or comorbidities influence neuroinflammation. To achieve this, I have established industrial collaborations as well as academic collaborations.

In parallel to the imaging activity, I am contributing to the activity of the lab of Prof. Rothwell and Dr Stuart Allan. In continuity with previous work that I have done, I did co-supervise with Dr Emmanuel Pinteaux, Ms Loan Nguyen who successfully got her PhD in July 2010. Part of her work has been recently published and Ms Fiona Britton who successfully got her PhD in December 2012. Her study were looking at the role of the extra-cellular matrix (ECM) and more particularly of matrix metalloprotease 9 (MMP9) in the disruption and remodelling of the ECM, and how IL-1 can regulate ECM remodelling following stroke.

I am currently supervising Ms Aisling Chaney who started her PhD in October 2012 working on MRS and PET imaging in AD preclinical models, and co-supervising Ms Sujata Sridharan who works on the characterisation and modelling of new TSPO PET tracers preclinically and clinically (Dr Rainer Hinz) and Ms Helen Parker who works on the role of neuroinflammation in MPS diseases (Dr Brian Bigger).

Neurosciences, neuroinflammation, stroke & brain ischemia, cytokines, pharmacology, in vivo imaging (specialised in Positron Emission Tomography, interest in all others imaging techniques: MRI, optical, ..)


Social responsibility

Contributing to various public engagement events across the University and assoociated institutions such as museums, schools and other public spaces.

Teaching

  • Imaging in Biomedical Research (BIOL31631)
  • Intercalating BSc Pathology Programme

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