The University Paris Descartes-Inserm-CNRS unit 1124 is entitled Toxicology Pharmacology and Cellular Signaling. It corresponds to a Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology and Toxicology and consists of ten autonomous teams, each one led by a senior and/or a junior principal investigator. The teams have in common objectives to identify pharmacological and toxicological targets based on their expertise in signaling in different tissues and cells.
The units projects address important basic issues such as cellular detection and response to toxic and infectious agents as well as the molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to neurological, metabolic, infectious, and joint diseases. We expect our expertise in cellular signaling to help us to identify relevant drug and toxicant targets. Our projects have implications for public health as they are expected to lead to a better assessment of chemical toxicity and to the identification of novel therapeutic tools in highly relevant diseases. We are involved considerably in teaching and in public dissemination of our knowledge. We have been active in creating local, university and national and international networks involving public laboratories and we also interact with safety agencies and private companies.
Six of the 10 teams composing the unit were part of unit 747 (Teams 1 to 6). The four additional teams belonged to other units but had very close interactions with Unit 747 and their projects were cohorent with the main themes of the current unit. In addition, the unit is part of the Fédération de Recherche CICB-Paris which groups the 4 units of the Biomedical faculty that are involved in Chemistry, Pharmacology and Toxicology. The different teams of our unit are part of national and international networks that will be detailed in the section for each team.
Characteristics of the research performed in the unit
The unit has projects both in the field of basic research and in translational research. Most teams perform both types of research, although with different relative weights for each type. For instance, Team 3 is primarily oriented towards translational research whereas Team 4 has a more basic structural approach. It is the unit policy to support both types of research because of the nature of our fields of research. Understanding basic signaling pathways is critical to identify the most relevant drug targets. This is apparent for fibrates and polyphenols in metabolic diseases (Team 3), prozac in psychiatric diseases (Team 5, 6), lithium in demyelinating diseases (Team 8), PPAR ligands in joint diseases (Team 2), exercise and NMDA modulators in neuromuscular diseases (Team 9) and arsenic in inflammatory diseases (Team 7). In addition, we believe that a better understanding of the detection and adaptation to xenobiotics is required to identify their toxicity and to have a useful for public health. For example, our work on the role of adaptive mechanisms in long-term toxicity and on the interaction of adipose tissue and pollutants can be of use to identify novel biomarkers. Another example is that a better understanding of the mechanisms of addiction is important to identify new therapies (Team 10).
Consequently, our research findings are directed towards the scientific community, public health authorities, private companies and more generally the public. Furthermore, we are involved to a great extent in education and teaching. This is in line with our research expertise and with our policy to disseminate knowledge, notably by using innovative pedagogic tools. Our scientists have leading positions in our Faculty and in several Master programs.