Pedro Hernández, new junior team leader


Pedro Hernández has set up a new research team within the Genetics and Developmental Biology Unit (Inserm U934/CNRS UMR 3215) headed up by Pierre Léopold. His established competence in developmental biology, immunolgy and physiology using the zebrafish model adds much-needed expertise on the integrative biology aspects set up within this Research Center unit.

That back-to-school feeling is in the air, and particularly for Pedro Hernández, who arrives at Institut Curie this September. Having completed his studies in his home country, this young researcher from Chile kickstarted his career in Freiburg (Germany) before joining the Institut Pasteur in Paris in 2015 as a post-doctoral researcher.

Throughout his career to date, in addition to his experience with the mouse model, he has amassed expertise in using another invaluable model for the life sciences scientific community: the zebrafish. This species’ transparent embryos are extremely easy to observe and are used as a model for understanding how complex physiological mechanisms work in humans. Pedro Hernández aims to uncover the principles governing how mucous membranes remain intact through the processes of intestinal repair, inflammation and development. As he explains, “disruption to intestinal mucosa repair linked to inflammation significantly increases the risk of cancer”.

The Development of Mucosal Immunity and Tissue Integrity team is currently being assembled and is based at the Research Center’s Paris site. The director of the Genetics and Developmental Biology Unit (Inserm U934/CNRS UMR 3215) Pierre Léopold is looking forward to working with the new team: “Pedro Hernández was selected by an international jury, and was one of 70 candidates […] His appointment arrives after a highly successful post-doctoral experience in Philippe Herbomel’s laboratory at the Institut Pasteur”. His plans feature “a very promising combination of physiology, immunology and developmental genetics”. The junior team leader brings highly complementary expertise in the research unit’s specialist subjects: Development, genetics and cancer.