BEH Research interests (T6)

Key words

Research Themes

Our objectives will be to consider the molecular, cellular, metabolic and physiological mechanisms developed by organ-isms and / or humans to manage the environmental constraints and to understand correlation between environmental stress and plasticity of organisms. Different research programs support these researches, two of which could help for the development of new research institute around Aix-Marseille University, AMIDEX CREER closely related to “Reproduction & Environment” and AMIDEX PASSIV-ITER related to new energy technologies.
Our mains goals are :
• To understand and characterize the impacts taking into account biotic and abiotic factors,
• To describe and explain the observed effects by complementary approaches, ranging from molecular and cellular biology to physiological and behavioral analyses
• To conduct analyses in laboratory, experiments in mesocosms and realistic experiments in field.
At the ecosystem level, the persistence / presence of a species in a given environment depends on its sensitivity, vulnera-bility and adaptability. This persistence depends on physiological tolerance and genetic heritage of the species. The de-fense mechanisms generate a metabolic cost modifying the distribution of energetic reserves. Then, the reserves are allo-cated to the maintenance of homeostasis and not to the survival of the organism, leading to significant metabolic and physiological disorders
In terms of human health, exposed and affected populations develop numerous pathologies including cancers, reproduc-tive disorders, metabolic disorders, accelerated tissue aging processes. The multifactorial aspect of pathologies, coupled with delayed effects, makes the relationship between environmental exposures and human health difficult to elucidate.
More specifically, we will study the impact of agricultural practices on non-target organisms to improve knowledge on species susceptibility, physiological functions and metabolic pathways (reproduction, development, immunity). Both, behavioral and population responses (life history traits, evolution of biodiversity) and interspecific interactions (competition between species) will be investigated.
Moreover, genotoxic stresses, including ecogenotoxic responses, induced by iatrogenic, particulate and/or chemical expo-sures, and the mechanism of action, direct or mediated by inflammatory or oxidative responses, will be investigated in germ and somatic cells and/or tissues. We will focus on the development of new biomarkers, including biomarkers of mutagenesis, related or not to reproductive, developmental, and immunity disorders.
We will assess the impacts of oxidative stress and inflammation on health. The study of biological or molecular processes (ex : dioxin receptor, type 2 diabetes and PCBs or PAHs, extrinsic cell aging) involved in the effects of pollutants allows the identification of molecular targets against which new molecules synthetized by organic chemistry, (Eg : antioxidant flavonols), biotechnologies (eg PROTAC approach), or extracted from species constitutive of biodiversity (eg toxins from cnidarians, photo-protectors present in coral mucus) will be documented. The vectorization of these active molecules (eg « Solid Lipidic Nanoparticles ») and ecorestorative approaches (eg nano-composites) will also be carried out, underlining the integrative nature of our approach.
We will continue to develop experimental models to document the genotoxic effects of chemical, particulate or physical agents on the tissues involved in reproductive function in humans, whether they are germinal cells or not, but also in terrestrial and aquatic model organisms.
Because of our multidisciplinarity, we will be able to cover large methodological field such QSAR, biostatistics, biochemical, biophysical (cellular bioenergetics) or molecular biology (transcriptomics and genomics) techniques allowing us to document epigenetic effects (methylation, DNA, miRNA, etc.), and genotoxic effects including primary DNA lesions (comet assay), genetic mutations (Ames test, Pig-A test), and chromosome damage (micronucleus assay in combination with centromere labelling).
Health investigations on both biotope and population will help us to describe and to understand molecular and physiological processes impacted by anthropogenic pressure in a specific context. These integrative studies should lead to relevant tools to guide the conditions of a sustainable development taking into consideration quality and health of the environ-ment.
Our work aims to federate project in closed relationship with the transversal theme “Anthropocene and Health » et “Agricultural practices and Biodiversity Interactions over time ».