Fotografía de Delphine Franssen

Delphine Franssen



Grupo de investigación

Regulación hormonal del balance energético, la pubertad y la reproducciónn (IMIBIC)

Sobre mí

Regarding my background, I graduated with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in biomedicine with the highest honors at the University of Liège (Belgium) in 2012. The major of my master’s degree was “Neurosciences” and I conducted my master’s thesis in the Neuroendocrinology Laboratory of GIGA-Neurosciences under the supervision of Pr Jean-Pierre Bourguignon and Pr Anne-Simone Parent. As a result of their satisfaction for my work and my enthusiasm for research, they offered me the opportunity to conduct a PhD in their laboratory. I obtained the competitive FRIA fellowship from “Fonds national de la recherche scientifique” (FNRS, Belgium). During the last 4 years, my studies aimed at assessing the impact of endocrine disruptors chemicals on hypothalamic control of puberty. I was especially interested by deciphering the disrupted mechanisms inside GnRH neurons network. I brought this work to completion and published several articles in peer-reviewed journals (n=8; two as leading author) which reflects my hard work and writing skills. In September 2016, I have defended with honors my Doctoral Thesis and have been awarded my PhD in Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Liege. The PhD experience was very rewarding. I have gained a broad range of knowledge in neurosciences and endocrinology. I have got work experience with a plethora of laboratory techniques from in vitro to in vivo experimental models as well as bioinformatical analysis of RNAsequecing. I had the opportunity to present my work at several international conferences in the field of Neuroendocrinology (Paris 2012, 2013; Prato 2013; Rennes 2014; Lucca 2014; Berlin 2014; Torino 2015; Lille 2015, Chicago 2015; Budapest 2016; Corte 2016; Orlando 2017). My thesis work has been recognized by research community as it has been awarded with the Servier Price in Otcober 2016 and with the “Endocrine Society Outstanding Abstract Award»
in April 2017. As I really wish to continue to improve my knowledge in the Neuroendocrinology field, I have decided to join the laboratory of Pr Tena-Sempere in October 2016. I have obtained a Marie Curie COFUND fellowship (co-funded by the University of Liege and the European Union) for one year of postdoctoral research and then a WBI (“Wallonie-Bruxelles Internationnal”) grant for a second year of investigation.

Líneas de investigación

During my PhD thesis I studied the impact of early exposure to endocrine chemical disruptors on sexual maturation and its hypothalamic regulation.
Currently, during my postdoctoral fellowship, I am investigating the role of AMPK-mediated signaling in GnRH and Kiss1 neurons in the control of key aspects of reproductive function, with special focus in the metabolic regulation of puberty onset, gonadotropic function and fertility.

Resultados destacables

During my PhD thesis I studied the impact of early exposure to endocrine chemical disruptors on sexual maturation and its hypothalamic regulation. In my opinion, my most important finding was to identify that an exposure during the first days of life to the very widespread endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A (BPA) at a dose close to human exposure disturbed hypothalamic systems and delayed sexual maturation. This dose of BPA, 160 times lower than the safe daily exposure defined by European authorities, induced these effects by altering the GABAergic neurotransmission suggesting that the impact of BPA was not only localized in hypothalamus but could also involve the whole central nervous system. A second important finding that I have made (not yet published) was the identification of GPR151 as a potential new actor of GnRH network regulation. The analysis of hypothalamic mRNA expression by RNAsequencing revealed that GPR151, an orphan GPCR sharing sequence homology with GPR54, was the most affected gene after BPA exposure. I identified the expression of this receptor in GnRH neurons in vivo and observed in vitro a stimulatory action on GnRH release.


I have always been interested in sciences and research. After my master thesis, I had the opportunity to perform a PhD. I was and I am still passionated by the Neuroendocrinology field so it is why I have continued with a postdoctoral fellowship in that same field.

Deseo científico

One day, I would like to direct my own research group.

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