Epithelial pathophysiology, Stem cells and Tissue repair
The projects developed by SkinStemDev team for the last decade (previously located in Nice-Sophia-Antipolis INSERM U898) aim at identifying and characterizing molecular events that underlie normal and pathological epithelial embryonic commitment and epithelial homeostasis. For that purpose, we are using pluripotent stem cells (embryonic and induced iPS) derived from healthy individuals and patients as in vitro cellular models and somatic epidermal and dermal stem cells. Our study combines (1) fundamental approach, by the identification of genes, signalling pathways and miRNAs involved in epithelial commitment, self renewal by cell autonomous and cell non-autonomous manner manner but also (2) applied research by the production of cellular models dedicated to corneal and skin pharmacotoxicity but also for drug discovery to treat patients suffering from limbal stem cell deficiency and severe burns.
1. Epithelial commitment, differentiation and aging (Ayelet Levy; Isabelle Petit): our interest is mainly focused on the molecular events underlying the cross-talk between stem cells during skin development, homeostasis, tissue repair and aging. For these studies, we are using pluripotent and somatic stem cells, functional genomic assays, co-culture, 3D organogenesis, secretome and epigenetic modulation.
2. NFAT function and regulation in epithelial pathophysiology (Sébastien Jauliac): we are studying the regulation and function of NFAT factors in epithelial homeostasis and physiopathology. We have demonstrated for the first time the implication of the NFAT pathway in the regulation epithelial cells motility in breast carcinoma and highlighted the NFAT factors as critical components of epithelial cell fate.
3. Ectodermal dysplasia, Aniridia and corneal cell/gene therapy (Edith Aberdam): our goal is to provide alternative tools for acquired (wounds, burns) and hereditary (aniridia and ectodermal dysplasia) corneal opacification. We have recently designed a protocol to efficiently produce corneal epithelial cells from pluripotent stem cells derived from patient samples (hair follicles and skin biopsies). This novel methodology will be optimized to develop a "ready-to-use" transplantable cornea but also a cellular model for toxicity assays of cosmetic products and pharmacological tests of drugs.
Dr. Daniel Aberdam