Redefined priorities for the CRM – An interview with Pr. Bertrand Fontaine

The Center of Research in Myology (CRM) is a center of excellence for research on muscle and its pathologies. It is part of the Institute of Myology which also has six other distinct and complementary poles*, and which constitutes a beneficial ecosystem favoring interactions and the emergence of innovative projects. “We are in a supportive environment that for us, is a guarantee of success” said Pr Bertrand Fontaine, acting director at the CRM.

Collective reorganization
The major reorganization of the CRM scientific project for the years 2019-2024 was conducted in collaboration with the teams during discussion and writing workshops. “Writing a joint project has enabled us to achieve a coherence that justifies that we are all together and that our project is not the addition of individual projects,” stressed Bertrand Fontaine. “Collaborative intra-CRM projects have emerged, reflecting the creation of a new group dynamic.” Common scientific priorities have been identified in three broad areas of research: basic research, neuromuscular research, and therapeutic applications, which will include the muscle, the neuromuscular junction, and the motor neuron.

Refocus teams and make innovative technologies available
To respond effectively to these scientific issues, “we have decided to refocus teams according to the research themes that they are most competent in and to assure the technological advances of shared interest that have been developed in the laboratories, in order to benefit the entire community of researchers at the Institute.”

Technological platforms to serve the community
Four technological platforms have been established: an AAV platform (pre-clinical research and validation of models before the clinical stage), a muscle cell immortalization platform (in progress with Myobank, one of the poles of the Institute), a microscopy platform and a bioinformatics platform.

Major scientific projects
In parallel, a dozen major scientific projects will be developed. These include the pathophysiology and therapeutic applications in Steinert’s disease, the understanding of fundamental mechanisms common to various muscle diseases around intracellular signaling, the functioning of the neuromuscular junction and its role in neuromuscular disorders, or, the therapeutic aspects of motor neuron diseases (such as SMA), or Duchenne muscular dystrophy, “knowing that through this work, a research avenue has been identified that could have broader consequences for muscular aging.”

Increase international visibility and recruit new teams
Of the major scientific themes selected, the CRM teams are already very well positioned internationally, possibly in a leadership position. Two new high-level teams from two French centres of excellence have already joined the Centre, and international teams will soon join them and increase the research potential of the Center of Research in Myology.


* The Neuromuscular consultation led by Professor Bruno Eymard, the main activity center of the Reference Center for Neuromuscular Pathology-East Paris, the Histopathology laboratory led by Dr. Norma Romero, the Physiology and Neuromuscular Evaluation laboratory led by Jean-Yves Hogrel, the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) laboratory led by Dr. Pierre Carlier, Myobank (Research Tissue Bank) led by Pr. Bertrand Fontaine and I-Motion Institute, pediatric clinical research center led by Laurent Servais (on the Trousseau Hospital for Children site).
The Institute of Myology also has a transversal teaching activity.