MDI Biological Laboratory
Assistant Professor

Romain Madelaine, Ph.D.

Fishing for tissue regeneration: can the zebrafish reveal the key to unlocking regenerative potential in mammals?

Contrary to humans, some animals have the powerful capacity to fully regenerate damaged tissue and organs, including the nervous system. Dr. Madelaine's research focuses on the function of the stem cell population during tissue regeneration, using the zebrafish as the model organism. 

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Endogenous neural stem cell reprogramming for neuronal regeneration

In humans, olfactory or optic nerve injuries and associated neuronal degenerative diseases are often followed by permanent loss of smell or vision respectively. Unlike in humans, the zebrafish has the capacity to fully regenerate all neuronal subtypes and restore sensory functions after injury. Understanding the molecular mechanisms controlling retinal and olfactory neural stem cell function in zebrafish provides a starting point to design future strategies fully exploiting mammalian NSC potential for neuronal regeneration. The Madelaine Lab recently identified transcription factors involved in developmental and regenerative neurogenesis. This research project will study the capacity of these factors to activate/reprogram endogenous NSCs, allowing the formation of new neurons. They expect their discoveries to open new therapeutic strategies leading to the regeneration of neurons, limiting the negative impact of neurodegenerative diseases in humans.

Apelin signalling dependent muscle regeneration and rejuvenation

Progress in biomedicine has allowed people to live longer, but with increasing age, elderly people often suffer from age-related diseases. The degenerative loss of muscle leading to muscular atrophy is called sarcopenia. The onset of sarcopenia has recently been linked to a decline in muscle regenerative capacity because of defects in muscle stem cell activation and proliferation. Recently, a small peptide highly conserved across the evolution, Apelin, has been shown to improve muscle stem cell proliferation, muscle regeneration and muscular function in aged animals. However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying apelin regenerative function are largely unknown. This project will characterize the effects of apelin as an anti-aging and pro-regenerative signaling peptide and decipher the cell type specific functions of apelin in muscle homeostasis. The Madelaine Lab expects their findings will reveal molecular and cellular therapeutic targets to alleviate or reverse age-associated sarcopenia.

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  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
  • Ph.D., Toulouse University, 2011

Student Projects

Student projects using the zebrafish model organism are available to investigate the mechanisms of stem cell dependent regeneration.

Undergraduates will learn basic techniques of molecular and cellular biology, including transgenesis, CRISPR/Cas-9 genome editing, in situ hybridization and immunochemistry.

GSBSE and MBMS grad students from the University of Maine are accepted for rotation projects.

International Master and PhD students are also welcome.

Contact us to discuss your research interest if you are considering joining the lab!

Please see below for Graduate Program opportunities:

Lab Members

Caroline HalluinResearch Assistant II

Caroline Halluin, Research Assistant II, has a technical degree in Biology and 20 years of experience working in research labs with zebrafish, including the CNRS in France, studying zebrafish early neurogenesis in Patrick Blader’s lab, and at Stanford University, researching the function of neuronal circuits using calcium imaging and optogenetics in Philippe Mourrain’s lab and establishing genetic tools to control protein functions with light in James Chen’s lab. At MDIBL, Caroline studies the process of neuronal regeneration in zebrafish.

Romain MenardPh.D. Student

Romain Menard, PhD student in the Molecular & Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Maine, BS in Molecular and Cellular biology from Orleans, France and MS in Pathophysiology from Toulouse University and in Regenerative Medicine from Montpellier University. At MDIBL, Romain studies the biological mechanisms controlling muscle regeneration and how they are dysregulated during aging using the zebrafish as a model organism.

Aissette BaanannouPostdoctoral Researcher

Aissette Baanannou, Postdoctoral Researcher, Engineering and MS degree in Biotechnology from the National School of Engineers of Sfax in Tunisia, PhD in Toulouse studying transcriptional regulation of bab genes during drosophila development. Aissette was a postdoctoral researcher at the Center of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS), where he established the zebrafish model to analyze the toxicity of chemical compounds. He has also interned in the lab of Professor Uwe Strahle at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany) to study the function of otos genes in zebrafish hearing. At MDIBL, Aissette will use the zebrafish model to analyze the function of different transcription factors during olfactory and retinal neurons regeneration. He will also perform single cell RNA-sequencing to identify potentially new regenerative factors.

Bidhi BiwediPh.D. Student

Bidhi Diwedi, PhD student from Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS), Germany. At MDIBL, Bidhi studies neurovascular regeneration in the zebrafish retina after optic nerve degeneration to identify new molecular and cellular mechanisms of regeneration in vertebrates.

Pritha DasPh.D. Student

Pritha Das, PhD student from Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS), Germany. At MDIBL, Pritha studies the function of a transcription factor during retinal ganglion cells regeneration with the objective to promote the formation of new retinal neurons using endogenous neural stem cell populations in zebrafish.

Dexter MorseBioinformatician/Master student

Dexter is a master student from the Roux institute, Portland, Maine. At MDIBL, Dexter performs RNA sequencing analysis and chemical modeling to identify therapeutic candidates with a potential to improve human health.

Past Members

Deena Small Ph.D - Visiting scientist (2023)
Michael Patnaude - Undergraduate Student (2023)
Laetitia Lancelot - Graduate Student (2023)
Elena Morin, Ph.D - Visiting scientist (2022)
Sampath Rampuri - Undergraduate Student (2022)
Perla Marthe - Undergraduate Student (2022)
Julius Sinning - Undergraduate Student (2022)
JiJia Li - Graduate Student (2022)