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Postdoctoral fellows

Our postdoctoral fellows work hard! Here is a glimpse of what they've been up to.

Volatiana Rakotoarivelo holds a Master’s degree in Developmental Immunology from the University of Aix-Marseille Luminy, before obtaining a PhD in Immunology from the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada. During her PhD, Volatiana specialized in obesity and inflammation, determining the inflammatory status of adipose tissue, focusing on a human study.

She has been a postdoctoral researcher for nearly 4 years at the reasearch center of the Heart and Lung Institute. By obtaining the CMDO (Cardiometabolism Diabetes Obesity) exchange fellowship, she performed her clinical research skills on human obesity at Paris-Pierre Marie Curie, Sorbonne University. Currently, Volatiana is working on several research projects focused on obesity, as well as on the analysis of mouse adipose tissue to study the effects of endocannabinoids on energy metabolism. The ultimate goal of her projects is to target the endocannabinoid system to improve cardiometabolic health.

Charlène Roussel holds a Double doctoral degree in Microbiology, Biotechnology, and Health (Clermont-Auvergne University, France) and in Applied biological sciences (Ghent University, Belgium).
She has been a postdoctoral researcher for nearly 4 years at the Institute for Nutrition and Functional Foods (INAF, ULaval). During her double French-Belgian doctorate (University of Clermont Auvergne and Ghent University), Charlène specialized in applied microbiology, the host-food pathogen relationship, and in vitro simulation of the human digestive environment.

Currently, Charlène is working on several research projects that focus on the ecological interactions of microorganisms within the gut, as well as the analysis of omics data, in order to investigate the effects of dietary or prebiotic-like molecules on gut microbial communities. The ultimate goal of these projects is to improve overall health and decrease the likelihood of disease.

Hilal Kalkan holds a doctoral degree in Molecular Life Sciences, from the University of Campania Luigi Vanvitelli. She pursued her Ph.D. work at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry (ICB), National Research Council (CNR), in Naples, Italy. Her Ph.D. project focused on a rare skeletal muscle disorder with poor prognosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and the potential involvement of the endocannabinoidome-gut microbiome interplay in DMD as a novel target. This study has been published in one of the high-impact journals in the field, EMBO Molecular Medicine. Hilal has worked in different fields including Neurobiology (ICGEB, Trieste), Molecular Pathology, and Developmental Biology. She has received the Erasmus+ Program award from a European funding program for her study and pursued Molecular Hematology (ICGEB, Trieste). She has been awarded Young Research Scholarship from European Association for Cancer Research.

As a post-doctoral fellow, she is working on the identification of G-protein–coupled receptors (GPCR) by using a unique open-source resource to demonstrate the nonorphan human GPCR targets through a method called PRESTO-Tango for the simultaneous and parallel interrogation of the human nonolfactory GPCRome.

Hayatte-Dounia Mir obtained a PhD in Life Science and Health from Paris-Saclay University working on the gut-brain axis. She, more specifically, studied the influence of indole, a bacterial metabolite from the gut microbiota, on the pathophysiology of anxiety and depression using a gnotobiotic mouse model. She then joined the Karolinska Institutet to understand the influence of bacterial peptidoglycan sensing molecules on neurodevelopmental disorders using knockout (KO) mice models and human-derived neuroepithelial-like cells.

Hayatte-Dounia Mir has now joined the CERC-MEND and currently studies how the gut microbiota influences the endocannabinoidome epigenome and the host physiology using germ-free mice. She is also involved in several projects implicating KO mice models and human intestinal cells.

Chanté Muller holds a doctoral degree in medicinal biochemistry from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, USA. During her studies, she earned an NIH National Research Service Award fellowship awarded for her project focused on the interactions between cannabinoid ligands and the ionotropic cannabinoid receptor TRPV1. Her PhD studies resulted in five first author publications, one of which has been cited over 300 times.

Chanté is currently studying novel oxyendocannabinoidome (oxy-eCBome) metabolites and their cellular targets and physiological effects – the goal of which being to investigate some hypothesized relationships of the oxy-eCBome with the gut microbiome/eCBome axis and its role in systemic inflammation.

Andrea Colarusso holds a doctoral degree in Biotechnology from the University Federico II of Naples (Italy) and has been a postdoctoral researcher for almost three years at the same University. Andrea is an experienced researcher in molecular biotechnology for industrial applications with a particular focus on the use of microbial cell factories for recombinant protein production. In the last five years, he has been working on projects related to CDKL5 Deficiency Disorder (CDD) a rare neurodevelopmental condition caused by the loss of the CDKL5 protein in the brain. In particular, he managed to achieve the recombinant production and purification of CDKL5 from an unconventional bacterium, a result unmet so far with promising future applications for therapy.

Currently, Andrea is analyzing the endocannabinoidome – gut microbiota interaction in CDKL5 model mice to decipher the molecular causes of CDD symptomatology and suggest new treatments for this genetic disease.