Dr. François Berthod is a professor at the Department of Surgery of the Laval University School of Medicine, and researcher at LOEX, Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus, CHU de Québec-Laval University research center.

The main objective of his research program is to use tissue-engineering techniques of in vitro organ reconstruction to model different diseases that can be induced, or modulated by the nervous system. These models will be useful to better understand the disease mechanisms and to find new therapeutic approaches. In addition, one of his projects aims to repair peripheral nerve injuries through the development of a nerve tube produced by tissue engineering with the patient’s own cells.

Development of in vitro models of diseases by tissue engineering

Many human diseases have causes and mechanisms that are still poorly understood, making it difficult to find more efficient drugs. Using patient cells, it is possible to reconstruct organs affected by these diseases, and recapitulate their effects in vitro to better understand their mechanisms, and use these models to test the efficacy of new drugs.

In the case of modeling psoriasis, Dr. Berthod’s team hypothesized that cutaneous innervation could play a major role in lesion formation, and developed, in collaboration with Dr. Roxane Pouliot, an innervated and immunocompetent psoriatic skin model to study this disease.

To model amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease, Dr. Berthod’s team uses tissue engineering tools. Motor neurons are cultured with astrocytes, microglia, Schwann cells, and myotubes in a compartmentalized three-dimensional construct to recapitulate the neurodegenerative process.

Repair of peripheral nerves by tissue engineering

Peripheral nerve injuries cause paralysis of the affected limbs. The current surgical options for repairing major deficits are ineffective. Dr. Berthod has developed, in collaboration with Dr. Hélène Khuong, neurosurgeon, a project to produce a nerve tube made up of the patient’s own cells, and tailored to bridge the nerve gap. The production of an autologous living tube is a major innovation that should greatly stimulate axonal migration in the graft and promote regeneration of the injured nerve, allowing motor and sensitive recoveries of the limb.

1401, 18e Rue
Local: R-205 - LOEX / CMDGT
Québec, Québec
Canada G1J 1Z4
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Muller Q, Beaudet MJ, De Serres-Berard T, Bellenfant S, Flacher V, Berthod F

Development of an innervated tissue-engineered skin with human sensory neurons and Schwann cells differentiated from iPS cells.

Journal Article

Acta Biomater, 2018, ISSN: 1742-7061.

Abstract | Links:

Girard D, Laverdet B, Buhe V, Trouillas M, Ghazi K, Alexaline M, Egles C, Misery L, Coulomb B, Lataillade JJ, Berthod F, Desmouliere A

Biotechnological Management of Skin Burn Injuries: Challenges and Perspectives in Wound Healing and Sensory Recovery.

Journal Article

Tissue Eng Part B Rev, 23 (1), pp. 59-82, 2017, ISSN: 1937-3368.

Abstract | Links:

Beaudet MJ, Yang Q, Cadau S, Blais M, Bellenfant S, Gros-Louis F, Berthod F

High yield extraction of pure spinal motor neurons, astrocytes and microglia from single embryo and adult mouse spinal cord.

Journal Article

Sci Rep, 5 , pp. 16763, 2015, ISSN: 2045-2322.

Abstract | Links:

Cadau S, Leoty-Okombi S, Pain S, Bechetoille N, Andre-Frei V, Berthod F

In vitro glycation of an endothelialized and innervated tissue-engineered skin to screen anti-AGE molecules.

Journal Article

Biomaterials, 51 , pp. 216-225, 2015, ISSN: 0142-9612.

Abstract | Links:

Pare B, Touzel-Deschenes L, Lamontagne R, Lamarre MS, Scott FD, Khuong HT, Dion PA, Bouchard JP, Gould P, Rouleau GA, Dupre N, Berthod F, Gros-Louis F

Early detection of structural abnormalities and cytoplasmic accumulation of TDP-43 in tissue-engineered skins derived from ALS patients.

Journal Article

Acta Neuropathol Commun, 3 , pp. 5, 2015, ISSN: 2051-5960.

Abstract | Links:

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Active projects

  • Centre de recherche en organogenèse expérimentale, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 2011-05-01 to 2020-09-22
  • Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - CHU de Québec-Université Laval, Subvention, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec - Université Laval, Centres de recherche affiliés, from 2017-01-01 to 2099-12-31
  • Centre thématique de recherche en neurosciences, Subvention, Institutionnel - BDR, BDR - Centres de recherche reconnus, from 1999-06-01 to 2020-10-18
  • Étude de l'impact de l'innervation cutanée dans le Psoriasis, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Modélisation par génie tissulaire de la modulation de l'angiogenèse par l'innervation sensorielle, Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2018-04-01 to 2023-03-31
  • Pathogenic Pathways and in-vitro modelization of Intracranial Aneurysms in populations of Inuit and French Canadian descent, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention Projet, from 2017-04-01 to 2022-03-31
  • Stratégies de réparation des transsections des nerfs périphériques par génie tissulaire, Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Volet Projet: Concours pilotes, from 2016-07-01 to 2021-06-30

Recently finished projects

  • Développement par génie tissulaire de peau humaine innervée, vascularisée et immunocompétente pour l'étude des réactions inflammatoires cutanées, Subvention, MITACS Inc., Bourse de recherche Mitacs Globalink, from 2016-12-31 to 2017-06-16
  • Human inducible pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) plateform, Subvention, La Fondation Neuro Canada / Brain Canada, Soutien aux plateformes technologiques (SSPT), from 2015-04-01 to 2018-03-31
  • Modélisation in vitro du développement du poil et de son innervation, Subvention, Conseil de recherches en sciences naturelles et génie Canada, Subventions à la découverte SD (individuelles et d'équipe), from 2012-04-01 to 2017-03-31
  • Stratégies de réparation des transsections des nerfs périphériques par génie tissulaire., Subvention, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada, Subvention de fonctionnement, from 2015-07-01 to 2016-06-30
Data provided by the Université Laval research projects registery