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You are here: Home / Teams / Development and function of the neuromuscular system - J. ENRIQUEZ

Development and function of the neuromuscular system

Our research

Locomotion is a stereotyped behavior employed by animals to seek food, mates, or evade predators. As Michel de Montaigne said: ‘life is only movement’. The rhythmic and precise pattern of locomotion is intrinsically tied to the intricate architecture of the locomotor system. This architecture takes shape during development and remains in place throughout adulthood. Our team's objective is to investigate the coordinated development of three primary components of the neuromuscular system: motoneurons, muscles, and glia. We aim to comprehend how these cells acquire their intricate morphologies to construct a functional locomotor system. Additionally, we seek to understand how this architectural integrity is maintained throughout adult life. Our research is organized around 4 questions:

Q1: production of a finite number of astrocytes.

What is the molecular logic of astrocyte competition?

Q2: Development of muscle morphologies.

Is there, in parallel to the general program of myogenesis, a muscle specific program controlling their morphologies?

Q3: Development of muscle innervation.

What are the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling the building of the axon-muscle connectome?

Q4: Maintenance of muscle innervation.

Is there a genetic program in adult motoneurons and muscles actively maintaining the architecture of the muscle innervation once built?

Our system

The adult Drosophila meets all criteria to achieve our goals with ease; in this model it is possible to study the logic of morphological specification in a small number of easily distinguished cells: ~50 MNs per leg, ~14 muscles per leg and ~280 neuropile glia per leg neuropile, using a vast array of powerful genetic tools, without abandoning an appendage-based locomotion scheme.

our techniques

Our multiscale research project encompasses a multidisciplinary approach involving molecular biology, cellular biology, developmental biology, and physiology. Our approach uses single-cell/nuclei RNA sequencing (SCS/SNS) coupled with an innovative 3D spatial transcriptomic methodology to unravel the gene networks regulating cell morphologies. We employ cutting-edge data analysis methods and develop computational approaches to reconstruct SCS/SNS clusters in space and time. Through state-of-the-art genetic tools, we study the function of these gene networks by visualizing and selectively modifying the genotypes of cells during development and in adult life. We determine the effects of these genetic manipulations on cell morphology and system architecture using advanced microscopy, as well as on locomotion dynamics employing a unique behavioral recording technology.

we are recruiting!

We are offering a M2 internship in bioinfomatics - analysis of single cell RNA-seq and spatial transcriptomics data. Offre de stage équipe Enriquez Jonathan M2 bio info

We are also looking for a Postdoctoral researcher or Research Engineer in image analysis applied to Spatial Transcriptomics. 

Undergrad(s) and Master student(s): Please contact us if you want to join the adventure! Please submit a CV, names of at least 2 referees, a statement of achievements and future research interest to Jonathan Enriquez:

We aim to recruit, see our "we are recruiting" tab for more information! 

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current team members

ENRIQUEZ Jonathan Team Leader



GUILLERMIN Camille PhD Student 
VONAU Samantha M2 Student
GOUMRHAR Fatima M2 Student
NIE Ziyan PhD Student
MORENO Manuela PhD Student 


BEDUE Léa, 2nd cycle engineer student (Ecole de Biologie Industrielle à Cergy)

MOINI Zoé, M1 Student (UCBL)

DUMAS Anaïs, M1 Student (UCBL)

GUAN Wenyue, Post-doc - 2017/2022

CHEBIL Mona, M1 Student (ENSAT) - 2021

DERVIEUX VIRGILE, M1 Student (UCBL) - 2021

VENKATRAMAN Sandeep, M2 Student (AMRITA) - 2021

BALLAS Eliott, AI Student (ESTBB) - 2021

FOUVRY Thomas, Med Student - 2021

SAINT-CHARLES Pauline, Master (UCBL) - 2021

GARCES Alain, CR (Inserm) - 2018/2020

BELLEMIN Stéphanie, IE (CNRS) - 2017/2020

HAMMOUM Imene, Post doc (CNRS) - 2019

KALBFEIS DIT DARNAS Aurelien, Master (UCBL) - 2019/2020

MOLLET Bastien, Bachelor (ENS) - 2019

CAMACHO RUFINO Miguel, Bachelor (ENS) - 2019

DALL'AGNOL Laure, Master (UCBL) - 2019

PERRIN Julie, BTS - 2019

MERCIER Noémie, Bachelor - 2018

LANGLAIS Emma, Bachelor - 2018

KHOUADER Billel, Bachelor (ENS) - 2018

BILAL Rayssa, Master intern (UCBL) - 2018

ASEI CESCHINO Valentin, Master (UCBL) - 2018


Our funding

Fondation pour la recherche médicale — Wikipédia      Découvrez le programme du Téléthon 2019 :: Monteux