Valerie Simonneaux is a CNRS director of research (DR1 CNRS since 2012), head of the team “Neuroendocrine rhythms in reproduction” at the Institute of Cellular and Integrative Neurosciences in Strasbourg, France. Valerie has a broad background in the neuroendocrinology of biological rhythms. Her current focus is on the circadian and seasonal control of reproduction.
In the last few years her team has reported that hypothalamic neuropeptides of the RF-amide family (kisspeptin and RFRP-3) are pivotal relays between seasonal (melatonin, circannual clock) and daily (SCN neuroendocrine outputs) time cues and the central regulation of GnRH neuron. Thus, the melatonin-driven synthesis of local thyroid hormone by the tanycytes leads to seasonal variation in Kisspeptin and RFRP neuronal activity which are essential to synchronize reproduction with the seasons. In female mammals, SCN outputs drive an opposite and coordinated daily activation of kisspeptin and inactivation of RFRP3 neurons at the day of proestrus to synchronize the preovulatory LH surge at the rest/activity transition. Her team is currently investigating how these neuroendocrine pathways are altered following circadian disruption or exposure to endocrine disruptors, and during long term regulation such as hibernation, circannual timing, maternal programming.
Besides this research activity, she is the director of the Strasbourg’s Institute of neuroscience NeuroStra, she has been the president (2016-18) of the Society of NeuroEndocrinology and now member of the council of the Société des Neurosciences, the Société d’Endocrinologie and the Société Francophone de Chronobiologie.