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Training European Experts in Multiscale Studies of Neural Crest Development and Disorders: from Patient to Model Systems and Back again.

Project description

Understanding regulation of embryonic cells could shed light on numerous pathologies

Neural crest cells are a transient group of embryonic cells that migrate extensively, giving rise not only to most of the peripheral nervous system but also to cells of the adrenal gland, smooth muscle cells of the cardiovascular system, pigment cells in the skin, and craniofacial bones, cartilage, and connective tissue. Neurocristopathies (NCP) result from abnormalities in neural crest cells, and cancers such as melanoma and neuroblastoma are linked to them. However, it is difficult to trace pathologies to specific mutations in these cells. NEUcrest is harnessing the power of early stage researchers to tease out the complex aspects of neural cell and tumour formation, and more generally, the regulation of neural cell tissue in human health.


Neurocristopathies caused by defects in the neural crest (NC) encompass a broad group of diseases from birth defects (cleftvpalate) to complex syndromes affecting systems such as heart, gut and adrenals. Because NC derivatives are diverse, mutations affecting this lineage can lead to pleiotropic phenotypes making it difficult to understand the causative events. Furthermore, NC-derived cancers, (e.g. melanoma and neuroblastoma) reactivate embryonic programs during tumour initiation. Our aim is to create a unique interdisciplinary network of scientists and clinicians partners from academia, healthcare, industry and the public sector with experience in gene discovery, genetics, functional studies and in vivo phenotyping aimed at training creative and innovative ESRs to study the overall genetic, molecular and environmental regulation of NC tissue in human health. To study each of complex aspects of NC and tumour formation, NEUcrest provides a synergistic framework for comprehensive analysis of candidate genes and biological processes, from patients to model systems to pharma and back to the clinic. With the aim to develop a unified strategy to identify new genetic and environmental factors that contribute to disease and to develop new drug targets for therapeutics, ESRs will address following scientific challenges: undertake novel gene discovery approaches; establish cellular/animal models of disease; establish integrative strategies for understanding neurocristopathies; optimise computational modelling of NC gene networks; establish translational strategies for drug screening in NC-related diseases; improve clinical management strategies of NC-disease and interface with patients and the public. Our training program takes into account training through research as well as multidisciplinary partnerships and networking opportunities. All together, this will improve our understanding of the fundamentals of neurocristopathy and contribute to improvements in healthcare.


Net EU contribution
€ 549 604,08
75231 Paris

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Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 549 604,08

Participants (10)