Université de Strasbourg

Joint Life Sciences Fellows Seminar: A Tale of Four Topics

February 3, 2022
From 15:00 until 17:00


In this seminar, five USIAS Fellows will present the results of their research in their respective areas. The seminar will be held in English and is open to USIAS Fellows as well as to the wider audience (for registration, contact our office).

Programme in pdf


Piezo channel nano-optical tweezers

Thomas Grutter (CAMB) will present on mechanosensitive Piezo channels, which convert mechanical stimuli into biological signals (electrical and ion flux signals), and are at the basis of our senses such as touch, pain, proprioception, hearing, and of important physiological functions including blood flow regulation. The discovery of Piezo channels only dates back to 2010, and was an important element in the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2021. The use of nano-optical tweezers has revealed that mechanically-activated Piezo channels can be converted into light-gated ion channels, (literally) shedding new light on the molecular mechanisms involved in Piezo channels.



Bruno Klaholz (IGBMC) will discuss new insights into protein synthesis regulation and dysregulation in humans at the level of the human ribosome machinery, through visualizing the specificity of chemical modifications of the human ribosomal RNA. Using a unique technology, based on cutting-edge high-resolution cryo-electron microscopy, it is possible to witness at the atomic scale the three-dimensional structure of the complete human ribosome and the detailed interactions that occur within it, including with mRNA and regulatory factors, opening the way to further exploring the molecular basis of human translation and associated diseases. 


Manuel Mendoza (IGBMC) will report on his work on nuclear pores, the large protein complexes which form channels between the nucleus and the rest of the cell, for molecules to move in and out in a controlled way.

asymmetric cell division

Contrary to what was assumed, nuclear pores can be different in different cells, and this can help explain differences in cell division and cell fate. This can reveal novel principles of how human stem cells and tissues are maintained, and how they may become derailed, leading to developmental disorders and cancer.



biofunctional engineering

Wojciech Krezel (IGBMC) and Alain Wagner (CAMB), combining their respective expertise in biology and chemistry, investigate a novel approach to detect, identify and study small exogenous bioactive molecules in vivo, and how they can apply this new approach to endogenous small bioactive lipids like retinoids. These play an important role in a range of cellular and molecular processes involved in vertebrate development, health and disease.

Using tailored chemospecific-probes should allow determination of metabolic fate of target molecules (purposely designed retinoid derivative), identification of relevant metabolic enzymes and receptors, and control of their bioavailability.



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