Franck Simonnet

Embryonic brain regionalization in Tribolium

I graduated in evolutionary biology at Pierre et Marie Curie University (Paris, France). My Ph.D entitled "evolutionary developmental biology of chelicerates: study of the scorpion Euscorpius flavicaudis" focused on the process of segmentation and nervous system patterning in this specie.
I moved to Goettingen and joined Ernst Wimmer's group.

Tribolium Stain
Tribolium in situ hybridisation for wingless (red) and unplugged (purple) genes

Main project:

I'm interesting in embryonic brain patterning in Tribolium. Comparative data suggest that the mid-hindbrain boundary of vertebrates may correspond to the division between the deutocerebrum and tritocerebrum of Drosophila. I'm exploring this issue in Tribolium. The advantage of Tribolium are i) the available genome allows the study of genes which are known in vertebrates but have no homologue in Drosophila, ii) functional experiments could be perform by RNA interference, iii) I'm involved in an insertional mutagenesis screen which will shed independent new light on the nervous system patterning without reference to Drosophila.

Tribolium Brain LSM
Tribolium central nervous system revealed by anti-Horseradish Peroxydase / Alexa 488

Side project:

During my Ph.D, I gained experience to collect scorpion embryos and continue to work on it. In collaboration with Dr. Angelika Stollewerk (Mainz, Germany), we study scorpion's neurogenesis.

Young scorpion Euscorpius flavicaudis after hatching