Dr Stephanie Duguez
Lecturer in Stratified Medicine (Musculoskeletal Health)
Dr Duguez was awarded her PhD on “muscle cell biology and metabolism” at Jean Monnet University (Saint Etienne, France), during which time she was an Associate Lecturer.
She was then appointed as a post-doctoral Research Fellow working on Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy type 2A, at Genethon (Evry, France), following which she took up a Research Associate position on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, US), before being appointed as a Project leader at the Institute of Myology (Paris, France).
She joined the Northern Ireland Centre for Stratified Medicine at Ulster University in 2016, where she leads Ulster University’s research group on Neuromuscular Health.
Dr Duguez has been committed to neuromuscular research since her PhD at Jean Monnet University on muscle cell metabolism, and Research Fellowship on Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy at Genethon (France). As a Research Associate at Children’s National Medical Center (US), she pioneered exploration of the role of muscle vesicles in neuromuscular disease.
Determined to develop this theme further, upon returning to France as a Project Leader at the Institute of Myology (Paris), and learning of Prof PF Pradat’s interest in the potential role of muscle in ALS, she proposed to extract myoblasts from patient biopsies and characterize their secretory vesicles.
Her research group at Ulster University is now composed of biologists and bioinformaticians and explores the intercellular communication between muscle tissue and surrounding cells, including motor neurons, inflammatory cells and fibroblasts.
They are using human muscle stem cells and studying the secretome profiles by different OMICS approaches such as proteomic, metabolomic, and transcriptomic analyses.
The aim is to decipher the role of intercellular communication in different physiological and pathological conditions such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (SBMA), and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA-III & IV).
Characterizing the muscle secretome will allow us to identify biomarkers and to unravel new therapeutic strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.
Her work on muscle vesicles is bolstered by an international network of collaborators including: clinicians (Paris, London, ‘Derry/Londonderry, Belfast), biopharma (Belfast), researchers on murine models (Marseilles, London, Strasbourg, Keele), cellular models (Evry), metabolomics (Tours), and on muscle transcriptomics (Washington DC, Strasbourg) and proteomics (Washington DC).
To explore muscle cellular functions in different physiological and pathological contexts, her group secured a biobank of primary muscle cells from healthy subjects and from different disease and age groups. In addition, and in collaboration with neurologist colleagues, her group has put in place the Northern Ireland Motor Neuron Disease Biobank.
Research Publications and Communication
See Scopus link for Dr Duguez’s publications.
Dr Duguez has been invited or selected as a speaker at over 19 international conferences (e.g. ARSLA, MDA, WMS).
Dr Duguez is a frequent reviewer for national and international funding bodies (e.g. BBSRC, MRC, ANR, AFM, ArSLA) and peer-reviewed journals (see Publons link).
Public Outreach and Civic Contribution
Dr Duguez is dedicated to the “Rare Diseases” field. She is a board member of the Northern Ireland Rare Disease Partnership (NIRDP), an association that aims to raise awareness for rare diseases. Dr Duguez is also involved in the Northern Ireland Rare Diseases Implementation Group (NIRDIG).
Dr Duguez contributes to teaching on a number of on-campus and distance-learning undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Biomedical Sciences at Ulster University. She is module co-ordinator at BSc level and contributes to other modules at BSc, PgCert and MSc level. Topics taught: Anatomy and Systems Based Physiology; Cellular and Molecular Pathophysiology; Clinical Trial Design; Clinical or Fundamental Research Design.
PhD Researcher Profile
Dr Duguez is open to wide-ranging PhD applications from candidates with a cellular and molecular science or clinical background. Her fields of interest include:
- Molecular mechanisms in neuromuscular and neurodegenerative conditions
- Biomarkers and personalized therapeutic strategies for neuromuscular and neurodegenerative conditions
- Muscle ageing and Muscle wasting
- Multi-omic analysis and Bioinformatics