After several years of a very successful research training, Luc Bertrand is leaving the laboratory. He accepted a position as a Scientist at Charles River Laboratories in Montreal.

Luc joined the laboratory in 2013, shortly after graduating and receiving his PhD degree from the Institut National Recherche Scientifique (INRS)-Institut Armand Frappier (IAF) in Montreal, Canada. Luc’s doctoral training was related to identification and characterization of functional domains of the UL24 protein of herpes simplex 1. In our laboratory, Luc’s research was on HIV, stroke, and anti-retroviral therapy. Luc was initially employed as a Postdoctoral Scholar, and then, he switched to Research Associate.

Luc received several awards and recognitions for his work in the laboratory, including,

• 2016 Early Career Investigator Award to attend the 22nd international meeting of the Society on Neuroimmune Pharmacology (SNIP) in Krakow, Poland.

• Best Poster Award at the SNIP conference in Krakow, Poland 2016.

• Best Poster Award at the 3rd Annual Personalized NanoMedicine Symposium in Miami, FL 2016.

• American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship 2016-2018. The grant was funded at percentile of 0.01.

• 2017 Early Career Investigator Award from SNIP to attend a conference in Philadelphia, PA.

• 2017 Louis J. Elsas Award in Biochemical Genetics from the University of Miami.

In addition to his outstanding research, Luc also mentored several graduate and undergraduate students in the laboratory, including Martina Velichkovska, Louise Bertrand (the same name as Luc’s is a coincidence), Sita Ramaswamy, Ethan Cheng, and Oandy Naranjo.

During his stay in the laboratory, Luc published several papers:

• Leda AR, Bertrand L, Andras IE, El-Hage N, Nair M, Toborek M. Selective disruption of the blood-brain barrier by Zika virus. Front Microbiol 10, 2158, 2019.

• Bertrand L*, Velichkovska M*, Toborek M. Cerebral vascular toxicity of antiretroviral therapy. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, in press. (*equal contribution)

• Bertrand L, Méroth F, Tournebize M, Leda A, Sun E, Toborek M. Targeting the HIV-infected brain to improve ischemic stroke outcome. Nat Commun 10, 2009, 2019.

• Bertrand L*, Cho HJ*, Toborek M. Blood-brain barrier pericytes as a target for HIV-1 infection. Brain 142, 502-511, 2019. (*equal contribution)

• Cho HJ, Kuo AMS, Bertrand L, Toborek M. HIV alters gap junction-mediated intercellular communication in human brain pericytes. Front Mol Neurosci 10, 410, 2017.

• Bertrand L, Dygert L, Toborek M. Induction of ischemic stroke and ischemia-reperfusion in mice using the middle artery occlusion (MCAO) technique and visualization of infract area. J Vis Exp 120, 2017.

• Leda AR, Dygert L, Bertrand L, Toborek M. Mouse microsurgery infusion technique for targeted substance delivery into the CNS via the internal carotid artery. J Vis Exp 119, 2017.

• András IE, Leda A, Garcia Contreras M, Bertrand L, Park M, Skowronska M, Toborek M. Extracellular vesicles of the blood-brain barrier: role in the HIV-1 associated amyloid beta pathology. Mol Cell Neurosci 79, 12-22, 2017. An artistic representation of this work (modified figure) was selected for the cover of the journal.

• Bertrand L, Dygert L, Toborek M. Antiretroviral treatment with efavirenz disrupts the blood-brain barrier integrity and increases stroke severity. Sci Rep 6, 39738, 2016.

• Bertrand L, Nair M, Toborek M. Solving the blood-brain barrier challenge for the effective treatment of HIV replication in the central nervous system. Curr Pharm Des 22, 5477-5486, 2016. This paper was selected by the Editor-in-Chief as Editor’s Choice. An artistic representation of this work (modified figure) was selected for the cover of the journal.

• Castro V, Bertrand L, Luethen M, Dabrowski S, Lombardi J, Morgan L, Sharova N, Stevenson M, Blasig IE, Toborek M. Occludin controls HIV transcription in brain pericytes via regulation of SIRT-1 activation. FASEB J 30, 1234-1246, 2016.

• Bertrand L, Toborek M. Dysregulation of ER stress and autophagic responses by anti-retroviral drug Efavirenz. Mol Pharmacol 88, 304-315, 2015.

• Eum SY, Jaraki D, Bertrand L, András IA, Toborek M. Disruption of epithelial barrier by quorum sensing N-3-(oxododecanoyl)-homoserine lactone is mediated by matrix metalloproteinases. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 306, G992-G1001, 2014.

Good Luck Luc with your research at Charles River!

September 2019

for update 12

This summer we hosted again an exchange student from France. Louise Bertrand studies Biology at Ecole Supérieure de Biologie-Biochimie-Biotechnologies (ESTBB) at the Université Catholique de Lyon. She completed her 4 month internship (from May 2019 to September 2019) in our laboratory. Her main mentor was Luc and she worked on HIV and ischemic stroke. We were very pleased with her work and research progress. We thank Louise for her internship in our laboratory and wish her the best in the future.” 

A note from Louise: I would like to thank you, you and your team in your laboratory for making my internship so special. It was an incredible and enriching experience in every way. Thank you for all the opportunities you have offered me (the congress, participating in the lab-meeting etc...). (…) I discovered a whole new world in the laboratory, and I realized that this was indeed the world I would like to work in later, you made me even more fond of biology! Thank you for your warm welcome, your trust and your teaching. I returned to France happy and fulfilled to have been part of and learned in your laboratory for 4 months. I make my colleagues jealous of having had such a great internship, thank you for everything, sincerely! If I could, I would do my internship again this year in your laboratory... ! You have a great laboratory, great teachers and very very good cookers ! Thank you so much for this incredible and amazing internship!.

September 2019

for update 12

This year, we hosted again new Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) High School Scholars. Caterina Dong was a student at Coral Reef Senior High School and Octavio Calvo was a student at Mater Academy Lakes High School. Their training started on June 20 and finished on July 25 with a research symposium. Both Caterina and Octavio trained with Dr. Sylvia Torices. They presented a talk on “The Effect of HIV-1 on ALIX Expression Levels in Human Brain Pericytes.” 

Thank you Caterina and Octavio for your contribution to our research and Good Luck with your college plans.

Update:Caterina was accepted to Brown, Duke and Dartmouth and she selected Brown. Octavio was also accepted to several prestigious universities and he selected Georgia Institute of Technology.

July 2019

for update 12

My name is Harrison Rudd. I was born and raised in South Florida and am currently a graduate student in the Masters of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology program. Ultimately my goals are centered around earning both an MD and a PhD, pursuing surgery and research in biochemistry. When I’m not studying or in the laboratory you can find me cycling, running, swimming, or in the garden – not necessarily in that order. I am also a musician and enjoy cooking, drawing, and painting.