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INRA 24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France
Team "Neuroendocrinologie Moléculaire de la Reproduction"
Leader : Hugues Dardente
Our team performs basic research into the neuroendocrine mechanisms of reproduction in mammals. We also have an interest in using such knowledge to devise novel tools aimed at a better control of reproduction in small ruminants such as sheep and goats.
Hugues Dardente (CRCN - HDR)
I’m a specialist of biological rhythms, with expertise in neuroendocrinology, molecular biology and cell biology. After being awarded a PhD in Neuroscience form Strasbourg University (France, 2003), I did two post-doctoral trainings in Montreal (Canada 2003-2006) and Aberdeen (Scotland 2006-2011), working on the molecular underpinnings of circadian rhythms (i.e. clock genes) and the role of melatonin and the pars tuberalis of the pituitary in seasonal rhythms, respectively. I currently hold a permanent research position at INRA (France) where I keep on working on the molecular and neuroendocrine basis of seasonal and circannual rhythms in sheep
All along my career, my research focused on the neural mechanisms controlling major physiological functions (i.e. nociception and reproduction) or implicated in pathological states (i.e. stroke) with the aim of developing new clinical treatment or agronomic applications. I was awarded a master in Biological Science from the University of Turin, Italy, in 1988 and a PhD degree in Neuroscience in 1994 from the Pierre et Marie Curie University (Paris, France). I spent 4 years of post-doctoral training at The Neurosciences Institute of San Diego (CA, USA). In 1998 I moved from Academia to Industry (Schering-Plough) assuming first the position of group leader and then of section head. In 2010 I moved back to Academia and I was appointed research director at the INRA. My main expertise is in the neurobiology, neuropharmacology and drug discovery fields. At present, my research goal is the development and use of kisspeptin analogs suitable for reproduction management in livestock.
My doctoral and post-doctoral formations, and half of my published articles, concern characterization and localization of receptors for chemical extracellular mediators by radioligand binding and autoradiography, from the macroscopic scale to electron microscopy. I addressed then programmed cell death and neuron neogenesis in adult mammalian brain as effector mechanisms of the neuroplasticity processes underlying physiological adaptations of neural functions. My present research topic aims at understanding the biological role of the neural stem cells of the satiety reflex center of adult rodents (dorsal vagal complex) in reproduction-nutrition interactions. This continuous activity has provided 65 published articles, 14 doctoral thesis and 41 Mastere internships (M1 or M2).
Masteres de Biologie de l’Université de Tours : coordination et enseignements présentiels dans l’UE mutualisée « Cellules-souches » des M1 de Biologie-Santé et de Biologie de la Reproduction.
Cours de Neuroendocrinologie dans le M1 « BioRepro » de Tours et dans le M2 d’Endocrinologie de Paris-XI.
Coordination du M2 de Biologie du Vieillissement des Universités Paris-Diderot et Paris-Descartes.
Having studied from the start of my career on the central control of ovulation and neuronal networks driving sexual behavior, I am deeply interested in the influence of endogenous hormones (steroids, melatonin and metabolic hormones) and neuromodulators on neuronal populations driving ovulation and more specifically, kisspeptin and GnRH neurons. My goal is to unravel the different regulatory pathways and the different components involved in the stimulation/inhibition of kisspeptin release and hence GnRH secretion. I am working on the ovine species as it is a well-known model for a specific aspect of reproduction, seasonal reproduction, consisting of 6 months with ovarian activity followed by 6 months of sexual rest. I am also using rodents namely for experiments involving specific metabolic regimen and/or consecutive neurosurgical approaches.
I obtained a PhD in Life Sciences in 1989 under the supervision of Georges Periquet. My thesis focused on the organization of the genome of two parasitoid wasps, Euplemus vuilleti and Diadromus pulchellus. I joined the CNRS in October 1990 to develop a project to study the impact of haplo-diploidy of hymenoptera on the structure of their genome and the genetic determinants of the viral strategies of parasitoidism and eusocialization that are only found in these organisms. In 1998 and 1999, I was a visiting professor at Carfornie Riverside University, jointly in the laboratories of Brian Federici and Peter Atkinson. On my return to France, from January 2000 to January 2010, I was in charge of the management of a project for the emergence of a research unit associated with the University of Tours and the CNRS, the LEPG and then the GICC. In June 2011, I joined on the Nouzilly site, the UMR INRAE-CNRS Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviour. I was in charge of the creation and management of the Genomic Plasticity and Phenotypic Expression team. At the end of 2020, I decided to close the team and join the Molecular Neuroendocrinology and Reproduction team to continue working on projects related to the programmed genetic plasticity of neurons.
In 2017, I obtained a PhD in Neurosciences at the University of Liège in Belgium under the supervision of Pr. Julie Bakker (GIGA Neurosciences). My work focused on the study of the neuronal circuitry controlling the reproductive behavior of female mice. A particular interest was focused on the role of kisspeptin neurons by studying the influence of the olfactory system on these neurons as well as the interactions with other neuronal populations, crucial in the expression of female sexual behavior. Subsequently, from 2017 to 2020, my postdoctoral fellowship at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne, Germany (with Dr. Sophie Steculorum) focused on the influence of olfaction on the control of metabolism in mice. In 2020, I joined the Molecular Neuroendocrinology of Reproduction team as a research engineer.
After obtaining a DUT (Applied Biology and Biochemical Analysis) and a Master's degree in Biochemistry in 1997, I joined INRA Nouzilly in 2000 as a contractor on private sector projects. In February 2002, I became tenured and joined the team of Neurobiology and Control of Seasonal Functions and work for IR Alain Caraty. Today I practice my activity in the NMR team with Dr. Hugues Dardente on the genetic mechanisms involved in the seasonal physiology of ovine reproduction. Specialized in animal testing, RIA, ELISA (...), for some years I have expanded my field of expertise by molecular biology techniques, cell culture
During 2003 I obtained a professional license in biotechnology and industrial microbiology. I joined INRA in 2005 for working on the mechanisms responsible for the virulence and carriage of Salmonella in chiken. In 2008 I changed team. I work with doctors Isabelle FRANCESCHINI and BELTRAMO Massimiliano on the kisspeptide. Rather specialized in molecular biology and bacteriology I broaden the field of my skills: cell culture, animal experimentation. At present, I am further diversifying my skills in relation to researchers needs
I got a first Master’s degree in Biology of Conservation in Paris Saclay’s University in 20117 and a second in 2018 in Biology of Reproduction. This second speciality gave me fondamentals of theorical knowledge to begin my PhD. The goal of my PhD is to understand mechanisms involved in ovulation phenomenon in mammals with a spontaneous ovulation. For this, we use the equin model and we work on two systems involved in the regulation of reproduction : the kisspeptin’s (Kp) system and the beta- Nerve Growth Factor (beta-NGF) system. I try to define how the beta-NGF act in central level but also to establish if the Kp et beta-NGF systems could act together. For this, we use C6, an analogous of Kp. In parallel, in vivo, we want to define if C6 and/or beta-NGF could be used to create an efficient protocol to induce ovulation in mare.