© copyright Rodriguez/Arnaud/2019

Jonathan ElegheertInstitut interdisciplinaire de neurosciences (IINS) - CNRS/ Université de Bordeaux

ATIP-Avenir
Jonathan Elegheert: Structural biology and engineering of neuronal signalling
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Mes recherches

I studied medicine and biochemistry before obtaining a PhD in biochemistry from Ghent University, Belgium (2007-2012; lab of Prof. Savvas N. Savvides). I was an EMBO- and Marie Curie Actions-funded postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Structural Biology (STRUBI) at the University of Oxford, UK (2012-2018; lab of Prof. A. Radu Aricescu). In 2018, I received an Initiative of Excellence (IdEx) fellowship from the University of Bordeaux as well as a startup package from the regional council of Nouvelle Aquitaine to start my own team "Structural biology and engineering of neuronal signalling” at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Neuroscience (IINS). The interests of my team lay at the interface of structural biology, protein engineering, and molecular neuroscience. I aim to understand molecular principles of neuronal signalling, and to translate these to the cellular and organismal level. In 2019, I was recruited to the CNRS as "Chargé de Recherche“ (CR), and I obtained an ATIP-Avenir grant as well as an ERC Starting Grant.

Mon projet ATIP-Avenir

Molecular Structure and Engineering of Synaptic Organizer Proteins in Health and Disease

 

Project Summary :

Neuronal cells (neurons) communicate with each other at dedicated points of contact termed “synapses”. “Synaptic organizer proteins” form adhesive interactions that support the formation and function of these synapses. However, a mechanistic understanding of these processes is largely lacking. Simultaneously, the dysfunction of synapses and loss of neurons are hallmarks of neurodegenerative disease such as dementia. The properties of synaptic organizer proteins to form and functionalize synapses could thus be exploited to modulate neuronal function.

The project therefore has two aims. First, it aims to reveal the structural basis for complex formation between synaptic organizer proteins and neurotransmitter receptors. Secondly, it aims to leverage these insights for generating engineered variants of soluble synaptic organizers that can modulate neuronal connectivity, and to apply them in animal models of neurodegenerative disease. The project will combine techniques of structural biology, protein engineering and cellular neuroscience to achieve these aims.

Jonathan Elegheert est également lauréat ERC Starting Grant 2019