PRORET
The laboratory of cellular and molecular biology of the retina and the Eye clinic at the Université Louis Pasteur bring together several experts with broad and combined expertise in fundamental and clinical visual sciences. This includes investigators with expertise in retinal pathology, surgery and pharmacology (Sahel, Mohand-Saďd), Molecular biology and gene regulation (Léveillard), retinal cell biology (Hicks) and electrophysiology (Picaud). Prof. José Sahel heads both the laboratory and the vitreoretinal medical and surgical unit at the University eye clinic with a broad patient population and a clinical research platform. Thierry Léveillard has trained in many leading institutions such as UCSD, the Salk Institute and Pierre Chambon's Institute in Strasbourg. A close collaboration with the latter allows the construction of several specifically designed transgenic animals including spatio-temporally inducible models. The deep knowledge of Thierry Léveillard in all molecular biology concepts and techniques combined with David Hicks' expertise in retinal cell development and biology is a major strength of the laboratory. The LPR has filed several patent applications on pharmacological rescue of photoreceptors in retinal degenerations. Owing to the close interaction between the LPR and the retina center at the clinic, current neuroprotection projects should gain fast clinical applications.

The personnel involved in the EU programme will be:
    1. Professor José Alain Sahel (Head of the LPR and of the Retina Center at the University of Strasbourg Eye Clinic),
    2. Dr. David Hicks (Directeur de recherche INSERM),
    3. Dr. Thierry Léveillard (Chargé de recherche INSERM),
    4. Dr. Serge Picaud (Chargé de recherche INSERM),
    5. Dr. Henry Dreyfus (Directeur de recherche INSERM),
    5. Dr. Saddek Mohand Said (PhD candidate),
    6. Mrs. Anne Claire Fintz (PhD student).
Other PhD students and 4 full-time equivalent technicians shall intervene in the project.

Two most significant recent publications:

1. Mohand-Said S., Deudon-Combe A., Hicks D., Simonutti M., Forster V., Fintz A.C., Léveillard T., Dreyfus H., Sahel J.A. Normal retina releases a diffusible factor increasing cone survival in the retinal degeneration (rd) mouse. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. (USA) 95: 8357-8362, 1998.

2. Heidinger V., Hicks D., Sahel J.A., Dreyfus H. Peptide growth factors but not ganglioside protect against excitotoxicity in rat retinal neurons in vitro. Brain Res. 767: 279-288, 1997.

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