Career

CO-FOUNDER OF DIAG2TEC (start-up), June 2015 – Present
(http://www.diag2tec.com/), Montpellier, France

Diag2Tec is an expert company devoted to hematological cancers, particularly to Multiple Myeloma. Main goals are to define biomarkers and generate assays to develop precision medicine approach for patients affected by these cancers.

RESEARCHER , CANCEROLOGY, MULTIPLE MYELOMA, Sept 2007 - Present
CHRU – INSERM - CNRS, Montpellier, France

Responsible for the identification of new biomarkers and therapeutic targets to improve the prognostic of patients with Multiple Myeloma, which is a blood cancer. Also in charge of developing easy to use statistical tools for patients’ clinical data and biological data analyses.

  • Manage projects and write scientific articles
  • Supervise students and ingeniors involved in the project
  • Study of drug resistance mechanisms in Multiple Myeloma

Training & Collaborations

  • Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, United States (2015 & 2016)
  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany (2014)
  • German Multiple Myeloma Group, Heidelberg (since 2007)
  • Multiple Myeloma European OVERMYR project (2012 – 2015)
  • SIRIC Montpellier cancer (2013 – 2014)

Achievments

Selected Publications

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that attenuate expression of their mRNA targets. Here, we developed a new method and an R package, to easily infer candidate miRNA-mRNA target interactions that could be functional during a given biological process. Using this method, we described, for the first time, a comprehensive integrated analysis of miRNAs and mRNAs during human normal plasma cell differentiation (PCD). Our results reveal 63 miRNAs with significant temporal changes in their expression during normal PCD. We derived a high-confidence network of 295 target relationships comprising 47 miRNAs and 141 targets. These relationships include new examples of miRNAs that appear to coordinately regulate multiple members of critical pathways associated with PCD. Consistent with this, we have experimentally validated a role for the miRNA-30b/c/d-mediated regulation of key PCD factors (IRF4, PRDM1, ELL2 and ARID3A). Furthermore, we found that 24 PCD stage-specific miRNAs are aberrantly overexpressed in multiple myeloma (MM) tumor plasma cells compared to their normal counterpart, suggesting that MM cells frequently acquired expression changes in miRNAs already undergoing dynamic expression modulation during normal PCD. Altogether, our analysis identifies candidate novel key miRNAs regulating networks of significance for normal PCD and malignant plasma cell biology.
In Nucleic Acid Research.

DNA microarrays have considerably helped to improve the understanding of biological processes and diseases. Large amounts of publicly available microarray data are accumulating, but are poorly exploited due to a lack of easy-to-use bioinformatics resources. The aim of this study is to build a free and convenient data-mining web site (www.genomicscape.com). GenomicScape allows mining dataset from various microarray platforms, identifying genes differentially expressed between populations, clustering populations, visualizing expression profiles of large sets of genes, and exporting results and figures. We show how easily GenomicScape makes it possible to construct a molecular atlas of the B cell differentiation using publicly available transcriptome data of naïve B cells, centroblasts, centrocytes, memory B cells, preplasmablasts, plasmablasts, early plasma cells and bone marrow plasma cells. Genes overexpressed in each population and the pathways encoded by these genes are provided as well as how the populations cluster together. All the analyses, tables and figures can be easily done and exported using GenomicScape and this B cell to plasma cell atlas is freely available online. Beyond this B cell to plasma cell atlas, the molecular characteristics of any biological process can be easily and freely investigated by uploading the corresponding transcriptome files into GenomicScape.
In PLos Computational Biology.

DNA repair is critical to resolve extrinsic or intrinsic DNA damage to ensure regulated gene transcription and DNA replication. These pathways control repair of double strand breaks, interstrand crosslinks, and nucleotide lesions occurring on single strands. Distinct DNA repair pathways are highly inter-linked for the fast and optimal DNA repair. A deregulation of DNA repair pathways may maintain and promote genetic instability and drug resistance to genotoxic agents in tumor cells by specific mechanisms that tolerate or rapidly bypass lesions to drive proliferation and abrogate cell death. Multiple Myeloma (MM) is a plasma cell disorder characterized by genetic instability and poor outcome for some patients, in which the compendium of DNA repair pathways has as yet not been assessed for a disease-specific prognostic relevance. We design a DNA repair risk score based on the expression of genes coding for proteins involved in DNA repair in MM cells. From a consensus list of 84 DNA repair genes, 17 had a bad prognostic value and 5 a good prognostic value for both event-free and overall survival of previously-untreated MM patients. The prognostic information provided by these 22 prognostic genes was summed within a global DNA repair score (DRScore) to take into account the tight linkage of repair pathways. DRscore was strongly predictive for both patients' event free and overall survivals. Also, DRscore has the potential to identify MM patients whose tumor cells are dependent on specific DNA repair pathways to design treatments that induce synthetic lethality by exploiting addiction to deregulated DNA repair pathways.
In Oncotarget.

High throughput DNA microarray has made it possible to outline genes whose expression in malignant plasma cells is associated with short overall survival of patients with Multiple Myeloma (MM). A further step is to elucidate the mechanisms encoded by these genes yielding to drug resistance and/or patients' short survival. We focus here on the biological role of the DEP (for Disheveled, EGL-10, Pleckstrin) domain contained protein 1A (DEPDC1A), a poorly known protein encoded by DEPDC1A gene, whose high expression in malignant plasma cells is associated with short survival of patients. Using conditional lentiviral vector delivery of DEPDC1A shRNA, we report that DEPDC1A knockdown delayed the growth of human myeloma cell lines (HMCLs), with a block in G2 phase of the cell cycle, p53 phosphorylation and stabilization, and p21(Cip1) accumulation. DEPDC1A knockdown also resulted in increased expression of mature plasma cell markers, including CXCR4, IL6-R and CD38. Thus DEPDC1A could contribute to the plasmablast features of MMCs found in some patients with adverse prognosis, blocking the differentiation of malignant plasma cells and promoting cell cycle.
In PLoS One.

BACKGROUND: Genetic abnormalities are common in patients with multiple myeloma, and may deregulate gene products involved in tumor survival, proliferation, metabolism and drug resistance. In particular, translocations may result in a high expression of targeted genes (termed spike expression) in tumor cells. We identified spike genes in multiple myeloma cells of patients with newly-diagnosed myeloma and investigated their prognostic value. DESIGN AND METHODS: Genes with a spike expression in multiple myeloma cells were picked up using box plot probe set signal distribution and two selection filters. RESULTS: In a cohort of 206 newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma, 2587 genes/expressed sequence tags with a spike expression were identified. Some spike genes were associated with some transcription factors such as MAF or MMSET and with known recurrent translocations as expected. Spike genes were not associated with increased DNA copy number and for a majority of them, involved unknown mechanisms. Of spiked genes, 36.7% clustered significantly in 149 out of 862 documented chromosome (sub)bands, of which 53 had prognostic value (35 bad, 18 good). Their prognostic value was summarized with a spike band score that delineated 23.8% of patients with a poor median overall survival (27.4 months versus not reached, P<0.001) using the training cohort of 206 patients. The spike band score was independent of other gene expression profiling-based risk scores, t(4;14), or del17p in an independent validation cohort of 345 patients. CONCLUSIONS: We present a new approach to identify spike genes and their relationship to patients' survival.
In Hematologica.

Recent Publications

More than 25 publications. See my ResearchGate profile for a full list.

  • Global miRNA expression analysis identifies novel key regulators of plasma cell differentiation and malignant plasma cell

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  • GenomicScape: an easy-to-use web tool for gene expression data analysis. Application to investigate the molecular events in the differentiation of B cells into plasma cells

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  • A DNA repair pathway score predicts survival in human multiple myeloma: the potential for therapeutic strategy

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  • Inhibition of DEPDC1A, a bad prognostic marker in multiple myeloma, delays growth and induces mature plasma cell markers in malignant plasma cells

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  • Genes with a spike expression are clustered in chromosome (sub)bands and spike (sub)bands have a powerful prognostic value in patients with multiple myeloma

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Recent Posts

Visit my training website in Biostatistics & Data Analysis: STHDA, Statistical tools for high-throughput data analysis.

Sample of My Courses on R & Data Science: