Marjorie Whitfield, Researcher (Inserm CRCN)

During my Ph.D training (completed in 2017) at the GReD laboratory (University Clermont-Auvergne, Clermont Ferrand) under the supervision of Dr Fabrice Saez and Pr Joël Drevet, I have studied the physiology of spermatozoa with a particular interest in understanding their functional maturation during the transit in the epididymis and the female genital tract. Following this work, I joined the research group of Dr. Aminata Touré at the Cochin Institute (University of Paris), where I focused on the genetic causes and pathophysiological mechanisms that are associated with human asthenozoospermia. Within different consortia including geneticists and physicians in reproductive biology, my work contributed to the characterization of several gene mutations affecting the composition and assembly of axonemal dynein arm complexes, which are critical for cilia and flagella beating.

Since 2021, I have joined the Institute for Advanced Biosciences (Grenoble) to develop my own research program on the biogenesis of sperm flagellum. My long-term goal is to decipher the molecular and cellular mechanisms sustaining sperm flagellum assembly and maintenance, and to assess the contribution of the annulus in these processes. To conduct my research program, I have established over the past years several strong collaborations with national and international leaders in the field of genetics, ciliopathies and reproductive biology.

Along my research activities, I am actively participating in science communication through different social media. In 2021, I also received the Young Talent L’Oréal-Unesco Foundation Prize “For Women In Science” for my work on male reproductive biology and infertility, an award which aims at promoting women’s careers in science. This prize constitutes an important foundation to initiate my research program regarding the biogenesis of sperm flagellum.

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