Genetics, Cell Biology and Development

Research topics in the Department include the identification of molecular and signalling pathways controlling the cell cycle, and those involved in stem cell biology, in the development of the gonad and of the germ line and in muscle differentiation. Another topic concerns ligand/receptor interactions in axonal guidance during the development and function of the central nervous system. Several groups are interested in deciphering specific molecular regulations controlling developmental processes, such as RNA silencing by small non-coding RNA (microRNA and piRNA) and post-translational regulations.
These fundamental biological questions are addressed using model organisms, mostly Drosophila and mouse, and a variety of techniques ranging from classical genetic approaches, cell biology, advanced light microscopy, to bioinformatics and systems biology.
Groups in the Department Genetics and Development have strong transversal interactions with other groups at the IGH or groups located in the close Institute of Functional Genomics, that are also interested in some aspects of embryonic and germ line development, neurogenesis or muscle differentiation.

All the groups in the Department Genetics and Development work at the understanding of molecular mechanisms of human diseases. Tumorigenesis is an important question addressed in the Department, through the utilization of cell and mouse models. Analysis of multipotent stem cells showing regenerative potential is another important topic of research in the Department. Several groups have also developed Drosophila models of human diseases (e.g. muscular dystrophy, motoneural dysfunction, sterility), in which sophisticated genetics can be applied to gain insights into molecular pathways involved in these diseases.