About Dr Nicolas Fossat

Doctor Nicolas Fossat is a Sydney University Research Fellow in Professor Patrick Tam’s laboratory, in the Embryology Unit, Children’s Medical Research Institute.

I completed my PhD in 2005 at the Ecole Normale Superieure of Lyon in France. During this period, I studied the homeodomain transcription factor Otx2 which is coded by one of the few master genes essential for the formation of the head. Notably, using the latest tools of molecular biology, I developed a novel genetic approach called “conditional self-knockout” allowing the inactivation of the Otx2 gene at anytime and anywhere in the mouse. My background is a strong understanding of and an easy ability to manipulate the mouse embryo genome. In 2007, I joined Professor Patrick Tam’s team. Professor Tam is a pioneer in mouse embryo manipulation. In his lab, I pursue my understanding of the formation of the head. I focus on the intersection of transcriptional and signalling activities by studying the interaction of another important actor of the formation of the head, the master gene Lhx1, and a fundamental pathway, the WNT signalling pathway which is crucial in every part of the body for the control of cell proliferation and cell differentiation. In addition, I work on the foregut endoderm which is also important for the formation of the head as well as for the establishment of organs involved in secretory or absorptive functions, such as the thyroid, pancreas and the liver. With the ultimate goal to cure diseases affecting these organs such as hypo/hyper-thyroidism or diabetes, I have started to study the function of an unknown gene that Patrick Tam’s lab has identified as specifically active in the foregut endoderm. This new gene codes a RNA-binding protein which has led me to also take a great interest in RNA and miRNA functions.

Selected publications

  • Nicolas Fossat, Sabine Pfister and Patrick Tam (2007). A transcriptome landscape of mouse embryogenesis. Developmental Cell, 13(6): 761-2. PubMed ID: 18061558.
  • Nicolas Fossat, Coralie Le Greneur, Francis Béby, Stéphane Vincent, Pierre Godement, Gilles Chatelain and Thomas Lamonerie (2007). A new GFP-tagged line reveals unexpected Otx2 protein localization in retinal photoreceptors. BMC Developmental Biology, 7(1): 122. PubMed ID: 17980036.
  • Nicolas Fossat, Gilles Chatelain, Gilbert Brun and Thomas Lamonerie (2006). Temporal and spatial delineation of mouse Otx2 functions by conditional self-knockout. EMBO Reports, 7(8): 824-830 (Highlighted in Faculty of 1000 Biology). PubMed ID: 16845372.
  • Gilles Chatelain, Nicolas Fossat, Gilbert Brun and Thomas Lamonerie (2006). Molecular dissection reveals decreased activity and not dominant negative effect in human OTX2 mutants. Journal of Molecular Medicine, 84(7): 604-615. PubMed ID: 16607563.
  • Nicolas Fossat, Virginie Courtois, Gilles Chatelain, Gilbert Brun and Thomas Lamonerie (2005). Alternative usage of Otx2 promoters during mouse development. Developmental Dynamics, 233(1): 154-160. PubMed ID: 15759271.