Jean-Claude Labbé, PhD

Professor, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, University of Montreal

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Research interests

  • Self-renewal of germinal stem cells
  • Organization and function of the germinal syncytium
  • Cell polarity and mitosis

My research program aims to understand the fundamental mechanisms that govern cell division during animal development. We specifically focus on studying the different properties of germline stem cells in a classic model organism: the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans.

One of these properties is stem cell self-renewal. Like all types of stem cells, C. elegans germline stem cells undergo self-renewal through contact with their niche, a single cell named DTC. We seek to understand how these germline stem cells polarize and orient their division axis to maintain contact with the niche, and thus ensure a balance between self-renewal and differentiation.

Another property of germline stem cells studied in my group is their organization as a syncytium, a conserved cellular architecture in which multiple cell nuclei share a common cytoplasm. We seek to understand the molecular mechanisms that control syncytial architecture formation, expansion and maintenance, in order to decipher the fundamental principles that govern this type of tissue organization.

As most C. elegans genes controlling cell division have a human homolog, our findings using the nematode may guide our understanding of gene function in several diseases, including cancer.

Members of the laboratory

Mohamed Réda Zellag, BSc
MSc student

Léa Lacroix, MSc
PhD student

Kimia Zarnani, MSc
PhD student

Eugénie Goupil, PhD
Research associate

Vincent Poupart, MSc
Research agent