Symer

A recent paradigm shift defines metabolism not only as a series of mass and energy conversions, but also as an information transducing mechanism.
“Information carrying” metabolites seem to play a central role for regulating epigenetics, the reprogramming of genetic information by chemical modification of DNA and histones, finally leading to altered gene expression. This new concept has important and far-reaching consequences for human society, since the general public now foresees, for the first time, the impact of the environment, life style, health and social conditions on the human genome, an effect that appears to be fuelled by changes in metabolism and that might impact several generations. In fact, the metabolism-epigenetic axis may well represent a missing link in many otherwise unrelated pathologies, including the global threat of rapidly spreading non-communicable chronic diseases, responsible of almost 90% of deaths in France.
To tackle these complex issues, the interdisciplinary SYMER consortium of experts within UGA and international centers of excellence are joining forces for a systems project. Its multi-scale experimental approach (cellular, animal, human, society) integrates different biological systems. Their analysis and interpretation will require the development of mathematical tools and predictive models, as well as a deep understanding of the societal and political implications and expectations in this emerging field.
Schema - Symer Project

Workpackages

  • Workpackages 1 - Cells
    Analyzing how altered metabolism impacts on epigenetic marks and downstream epigenetic signaling, and developing new quantitative theoretical frameworks for its investigation and beyond.
  • Workpackages 2 - Animal
    Studying the impact of endocrine disruptors on metabolism, and further on epigenetic reprogramming in a multi-generation experimental animal model, and generating the necessary bioinformatic tools.
  • Workpackages 3 - Human
    Studying the impact of short half-life ED on metabolism and growth and understanding how these effects could be mediated by epigenetic reprogramming during early life.
  • Workpackages 4 - Societal
    Analyzing the impact of epigenetics on the public and its translation into public health policies from a sociological point of view. Managing a project with constant adaptation to the challenges of an interdisciplinary approach.