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Arrival of Zayna Chaker at IGFL

It's a great pleasure for us to welcome Zayna Chaker in 2024. Zayna works on adult neurogenesis in mice. She was selected following the last recruitment symposium organized at the IGFL. Her project is now supported by the FRM and she will soon be able to join us to set up her team.

Welcome to IGFL!

An overview of her research projects:

Research over the last three decades has demonstrated that new neurons are generated in the adult brain, and can integrate into pre-existing complex circuits.

The process of adult neurogenesis is evolutionary conserved among vertebrates, including fishes, frogs, reptiles, birds, rodents and primates. It is sustained by a small population of non-specialized cells, namely neural stem cells (NSCs), which persist as embryonic vestiges in adult brains. These cells reside in tightly controlled micro-environments, called niches, and co-exist in activated or quiescent states.

The addition of young cells constitutes an important layer of adult brain plasticity, further enhancing its ability to adapt to diverse life experiences.  However, the physiological relevance of adult-born neurons as well as the regenerative power of NSCs after injury are still highly debated, especially in mammals.

In the lab, we are investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms allowing regionally-distinct pools of NSCs to coordinate their behavior in space (across niches) and time (from embryo to different phases in adulthood), under specific physiological and pathological conditions. Our work aims to better understand and eventually harness adult NSC potential, shedding new light onto the functional importance of adult neurogenesis for adaptive brain remodeling. We are following a developmental, evolutionary and circuit research perspective, using mouse and Zebrafish as two contrasting, yet complementary, model systems.