Université de Strasbourg

Tina Mukherjee & Angela Giangrande

Biography - Tina Mukherjee

Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), Bangalore, India & USIAS Fellow at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC), University of Strasbourg, CNRS and Inserm, France

Tina Mukherjee, USIAS Fellow 2021Tina Mukherjee is an assistant investigator at the Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine (inStem) in Bangalore, India. She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Delhi and her Master of Science degree in biochemistry from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). She went on to gain a PhD in developmental biology from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany, where she worked with Dr. Martin Zeidler and Professor Herbert Jäckle on investigating the role of JAK (Janus tyrosine Kinase)-STAT (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription) pathway in cellular proliferation. Subsequently she moved to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA, where she conducted her post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Professor Utpal Banerjee. At UCLA, she started exploring hematopoiesis and extensively worked on characterizing signaling mechanisms in blood cell fate specification and stress response. Her work led to novel findings like non-canonical interactions between Hif-α and Notch in blood fate specification and the involvement of systemic cues like nutrition and olfaction in development and maintenance of blood-progenitor cells. Her findings highlight the importance of local and systemic metabolic signals in blood progenitor maintenance.

For her exemplary work at UCLA, Dr. Mukherjee was awarded an MBI (Molecular Biology Institute) Postdoctoral Award for Research Excellence and the prestigious Boyer-Peter Award in 2011. She was furthermore nominated for the UCLA Chancellor’s Award for Postdoctoral Research and was a recipient of the Nanyang Assistant Professorship (NAP) from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her laboratory at inStem focuses on investigating metabolic requirements for the development of blood cells and exploring non-immune functions of immune cells in homeostasis and physiology. The current work from Tina Mukherjee’s laboratory implicates the use of olfaction in immune priming and the importance of blood cells in animal growth regulation. She is the recipient of the Ramalingaswami Re-entry Fellowship and the Har Gobind Khorana Innovation Young Biotechnologist Award (IYBA-2017) awarded by the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India.

Biography - Angela Giangrande

Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC), University of Strasbourg, CNRS and Inserm, France

Angela Giangrande, USIAS Fellow 2021

Angela Giangrande is a CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research) research director at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC) in Strasbourg. She obtained her PhD in Strasbourg, where she developed her interest in transcriptional regulation and in the Drosophila melanogaster genetic model. After a European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) post-doctoral fellowship in the USA at the University of Washington, Seattle, she returned to Strasbourg, where she set up her group at the IGBMC, then directed by Professor Chambon. She characterized the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the differentiation of glial cells in Drosophila. Glia represent the second major population of the nervous system and are fundamental actors in neuronal development, function and survival. In flies, they also provide an immune function, acting as the functional homologs of vertebrate microglia, macrophages that move into the nervous system during development. Microglia contribute to shape the nervous system and are involved in pathologies as severe as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

The work of Angela Giangrande revealed the role of the Glide/Gcm transcription factor in the development and function of Drosophila glia and her previous USIAS fellowship (2013) allowed her to highlight the evolutionary conservation of this key transcriptional pathway in vertebrate microglia. Finally, she disclosed key molecular features and the heterogeneity of the hemocytes, the immune cells residing outside the Drosophila nervous system that represent ideal sensors of the internal state. Fly hemocytes constitute the functional homologs of the vertebrate macrophages and, as the latter, they arise in multiple hematopoietic waves. Her work hence opens novel perspectives for understanding the role of scavenger cells beyond immunity, using a simple animal model that allows for in vivo and in vitro analyses at unprecedented levels of resolution.

Angela Giangrande has coordinated several national and international grants and was awarded the France-Taiwan Scientific Prize by the French Academy of Sciences (2009). In 2019, she created an International Associated Laboratory (LIA) on the Impact and Regulation of Calcium Signalling in Drosophila Immune Cells (CALIM), which partners the CNRS and University of Strasbourg with the National Centre for Biological Science (NCBS) and inStem in Bangalore, India.

Project - Immune cells: metabolic sensors in coupling animal growth with nutrient availability

01/09/2021 - 31/08/2024

Our understanding of animal growth is largely from the standpoint of the endocrine system, like the thyroid and pituitary glands, the hypothalamus, and the pancreas, to name a few. Their functioning coordinates nutrient intake with animal growth during their development. Thus, the thrust in the field is to understand how these organs communicate to orchestrate growth.

Recent work from the laboratories of Dr. Giangrande at IGBMC and Dr. Mukherjee at inStem has revealed distinct metabolic states of immune cells across animal development. Their work also reveals a unique engagement of immune cells in coordinating animal growth. Using the fruit fly as their model system, the laboratories investigate fundamental principles underlying blood development, from embryogenesis to their organization, in the adult fly and explore non-canonical roles of immune cells outside immunity. They find that altering immune metabolic activity affects animal size. Specifically, in developing animals that carry immune cells with reduced metabolic activity, they emerge as small adults. Contrarily, animals carrying immune cells with increased activity emerge as large adults. These findings are exciting as they place immune cells as regulators of animal growth.

This collaborative initiative between the laboratories of Angela Giangrande and Tina Mukherjee aims to investigate the novel function of immune cells in regulation of animal growth. The work puts an emphasis on understanding the importance of immune metabolic activity, and its influence on peripheral growth control mechanisms.


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