Christine Gourier – Team leader
My team is developing multidisciplinary experimental approaches for studying mammalian fertilization. Fertilization is the process leading a sperm and an egg encounter to produce a new being. Fertility disorders is increasingly affecting people. Treatments against infertility seem to have reached their limit, with 40% of successful ongoing pregnancy after two years of medical care. However very little is known about the molecular mechanisms underlying gamete fusion in mammals. Our objective is to elucidate the cascade of events triggered by the sperm-egg encounter and leading to gamete membrane fusion. These events include molecular recognition, membrane adhesion, membrane remodeling, membrane fusion. For studying each of them, we develop various biophysical approaches, encompassing quantitative force measurements sensitive from single bonds up to macroscopic cell-cell adhesions, high temporal and spatial resolution optical imaging in order to investigate the membrane dynamics underlying the fertilization process, microfluidics and biomimetic systems.
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