Céline Vallot and her research group are investigating epigenetic mechanisms driving tumor plasticity. These study how chemical modifications of the chromatin, structuring DNA, play a role in defining the phenotype of cancer cells. They explore the dynamics of acquisition of epigenetic features in cancer cells, to understand how these cells evolve in response to treatment, and eventually escape cancer therapy. The group combines computational approaches to microfluidic systems to profile the epigenomes of each cancer cell.
Deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms often occurs in cancer, with recurrent mutations of epigenetic players or massive redistribution of epigenetic marks throughout the cancer cell genome. Given the dynamic nature of epigenetic changes, epigenome rewiring might give cancer cells the opportunity to delineate a rapidly evolving malignant transcriptional program, more plastic than through the acquisition of genetic events. Upon cancer treatment, this inherent plasticity may allow epigenetic alterations to be easily acquired and play a key role in the emergence of resistant phenotypes. Yet the contribution of epigenetic plasticity to the biology of cancer cells remains unclear, and means to target it rather unspecific and inefficient. The research projects we are leading in the group aim at grasping the dynamics of epigenetic deregulation in cancer cells during two time frames in triple-negative breast cancer :
Our objective is to decipher mechanisms of non-genetic tumor evolution, with a long-term perspective to enhance response to cancer treatment.
• 1st group leader position: 2017, Institut Curie, UMR3244/Translational Department, Paris, France
• 1st permanent position: 2013-2016, Université Paris 7, Paris, France, Claire Rougeulle’s lab
• Postdoc: 2010-2013, Université Paris 7, Paris, France, Claire Rougeulle’s lab
• PhD : 2009, Institut Curie, Paris, France, François Radvanyi’s lab
• Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), 2020
• Olga Sain Prize, La Ligue Contre le Cancer, 2019
• Institut Necker/Fondation TOURRE Prize, 2019
• Gaston Rousseau Prize, Académie des Sciences, 2018
• CNRS Bronze Medal, 2018
• Claude Paoletti Prize, CNRS, 2016
• ATIP-Avenir Grant, 2016