Dr. Christian Giaume (1951 - 2019) was a world leader in the biophysical and pharmacological properties of gap junction channels in brain glial cells. In 1986, he obtained his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Henri Korn at the Pasteur Institute (Paris, France). He was later promoted to Director of Research at the Centre National De La Recherche Scientique (CNRS).
For two decades Prof. Giaume's work mainly focused on the molecular constituents of glial gap junctions and connexins. His work has led him to propose that instead of a “glial syncytium”, astroglia is organized in networks that are plastic and exhibit a specific spatial organization. Consequently, neuroglial interactions that are generally viewed at single cell level have also to be considered as an interplay of neuronal and astroglial networking. He also studied the contribution of astroglial connexin channels in the control of synaptic plasticity in several mouse models of brain pathology such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, neuropathic pain, and sleep disorders.
He leads a research team titled “Junctional communication and neuro-glio-vascular interactions” at the Collège de France in Paris. Their research shows that connexin channels differ in the control of synaptic activity, plasticity, and in the integrity of the blood brain barrier. He is currently author and co-author of 134 peer-reviewed articles, many published in top journals including Science, Nature, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, PNAS and Neuron, with an H-index of 49 and more than 7,000 citations. He passed away in April 2019.