Congratulations to Claire Chevalier for an outstanding thesis defence!
This past Friday, September 29th 2018, Claire Chevalier successfully defended her thesis entitled “Physiological Adaptations to Ambient Temperature Variations through the Gut Microbiota”, which was awarded with High Distinction.
Claire joined the laboratory of Prof. Mirko Trajkovski in February 2014 where she worked on deciphering the complex relationship between microorganisms living in our digestive system (known as gut microbiota), metabolism and energy homeostasis. In a seminal paper, which she published as co-first author in the prestigious journal Cell only 2 years after Claire began her thesis, Claire found that exposure to cold temperatures alters the balance and composition of gut microbiota in mice. Interestingly, this alteration alone significantly contributed to metabolic changes that help with cold-adaptation such as white fat browning, increased energy expenditure and weight loss. In addition, Claire found that the absence of a bacteria called Akkermansia muciniphila was associated with an increased intestinal absorptive surface, leading to an increased caloric uptake. Supplementation of this bacteria alone was sufficient to prevent the intestinal growth and reduce the calories uptake. This leads to the exciting possibility that finding ways to mimic the gut microbiota changes to cold and using A. muciniphila as a probiotic, could represent novel weight loss strategies. In addition, Claire participated in several other projects investigating the effects of antibiotics and fasting on gut microbiota-driven energy balance, leading to two additional publications in Nature Medicine and Cell Metabolism.
In the future, Claire plans on finishing the ongoing project running in the lab before trying to head toward the industry especially in start-up related to microbiota.
Congratulations again Claire, for an extraordinary PhD, and best wishes for your bright future!
Posted by: P. Nunes-Hasler8 Oct 2018