“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift.”
Born in Aix-en-Provence in France in 1972, Sarah Jenna did her undergraduate studies in Cell biology and Genetics in what is probably the most gorgeous science faculty in France, the Luminy Campus, at the extreme east of Marseille, in the middle of the national park of the "Calanques".
She obtained her Master and PhD degrees (in 1995 and 1998 respectively) in molecular virology in Montpellier, France, on HIV1 and Hepatitis Delta Virus (HDV).
She started her post-doctoral training in Dr Nathalie Lamarche-Vane laboratory at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, beginning of 1999. There, she worked on Rho GTPases regulation and participated to the functional characterization of two Rho GTPase regulators, CdGAP and Intersectin-l in mouse. This work highlighted the critical role played by Rho GTPases and their regulators at the interface of membrane trafficking and actin cytoskeleton remodelling.
Considering the high level of redundancy of Rho GTPase regulators in mammals and the limitations this constitutes, she followed an intensive course in Caenorhabditis elegans genetics at the Cold-spring Harbor laboratories in 2003. She then joined Dr. Eric Chevet’s laboratory (McGill University, Montreal) and started using C. elegans model to functionally characterize members of the Ras superfamily of GTPases. She also explored proteomic and genomic approaches to better understand the cross-talk existing between these genes in a more global way. This study led to the identification of a novel Rho GTPase (CRP-1) involved in the control of apical membrane trafficking in C. elegans epithelial cells and Endoplasmic reticulum stress response.
In october 2006, she obtained a Tier II Canada Research Chair in “Integrative Genomics and Cell signaling” and started her work as a PI at the Chemistry department of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). She developed a research program aiming to map Rho GTPase regulatory mechanisms controlling epidermal morphogenesis in C. elegans. She also developed in collaboration with Dr Michael Hallett at McGill University and later with Dr Abdoulaye Banire Diallo (UQAM), integrative genomic studies to characterize and predict genetic interactions in C. elegans and human.
A research program using developmental genetics and integrative genomics is developed in her laboratory, which is composed of students in biology/biochemistry and in bioinformatics.
In 2016 she founded with Dr Abdoulaye Banire Diallo (computer sciences department, UQAM) and Dr Mickael Camus (CEO of Mimetics labs) a software compagnie called "My intelligent Machines", MIMs (www.mims.ai) developing artificial research assistant for life scientists.