Rachel Marion-Letellier, Director of IRIB

  • Introduce yourself ! what is your background

I have been a lecturer at INSERM ADEN – Nutrition, Inflammation Unit (UMR 1073) at the UFR Santé of the University of Rouen Normandy since 2015. Since a few days I am also director of the IRIB (Institute for Research and Biomedical Innovation). Before coming there, I studied biology at URN, where I discovered the vital role of the gut and its importance in metabolic defenses. I then decided to do a thesis on nutrition and intestinal inflammation under the supervision of Professor Pierre Déchelotte. After a postdoc atImperial College of London, I came back to the University of Rouen in Normandy. Today, parallel to my research work, I am co-responsible for the master’s degree in biology at the UFR Sciences et Techniques, where I teach physiology. It is also this discipline that I address with future nurses, pharmacists, doctors at UFR Santé as part of their training.

  • What are your research topics?

My research is grouped around 2 main themes. First, I work on chronic inflammatory bowel diseases and especially on intestinal fibrosis. Today there is no specific treatment, although this disease affects the lives of more than 200,000 people in France. With my teams we try to understand how it works to then determine the best drug approach. This work is carried out within the INSERM ADEN department and also mobilizes the nursing teams of the Rouen Normandy University Hospital and in particular the team of Professor Guillaume Savoye, hepato-gastroenterologist. In this case we are talking about translational research. In this approach, clinicians and researchers work as a team to serve the patient. The observations made on the patient make it possible to orientate the aspect of basic research in order to jointly find clinically meaningful experimental models in the laboratory. The geographical proximity is a real plus to carry out these exchanges between our teams.
The final part of my research focuses on severe acute malnutrition. Again, this is a collaborative effort as we are doing this research with Norman society Nutriset which aims to feed vulnerable populations in developing countries. This collaboration is part of an Industry Agreement for Education through Research (Cifre), which fosters innovation through the research work of a PhD student within the laboratory and with the company and strengthens our links with the socio-economic world.

  • On November 25, 2022 you organize the symposium “Impact and Regulation of Steroids in Physiopathology” at the UFR Santé. Why is ?

This symposium offers several teams from Normandy who have been conducting research on steroid hormones in the endocrine, reproductive, digestive and cardiovascular systems in recent years the opportunity to present their results. External speakers will present their work on the role of steroids in the renal and nervous systems. This symposium brings together several IRIB teams (U1239, U1073, U1096) that have received RIN STEROIDS funding. The aim is to take stock of the results achieved and strengthen the partnership between our teams. This symposium on multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral research topics is open to students, researchers, educators and researchers, healthcare professionals, engineers and technical staff. It will contribute to IRIB’s influence, the advancement of its laboratories and the enhancement of its scientific research.

  • If it is aimed at scientists, would you also like to share your research with the public – tell us about these projects? Why this unique choice?

For a few years now, I’ve actually been involved with my laboratory at the Fête de la Science in the village of Madrillet. In this type of event outside the walls, making our research known is a challenge, but always a very enriching experience for the youngest and their parents. In order to make future citizens better understand the importance and mechanisms of basic research and to help these young people to orient themselves through the discovery of scientific professions, I also have the pleasure of welcoming them to the laboratory, particularly as part of the Declic- project. Sometimes I also organize visits for the patients of the CHU, which is directly opposite our premises. Finally, I recently took part in setting up the “Health Odyssey, from the microbiota to Normandy!” exhibition. visible in the Rouen atrium for a long time, offering the general public the opportunity to learn about their digestive system and discover the ongoing research on the subject.

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