Research team website  

17 L’orée du Bois
76770 Houppeville
42 yrs, married, three children
Tel: (33)2-35-14-66-23
Fax: (33)2-35-14-69-46
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nationality - French
Current position - DR2 Inserm, U1239, Laboratory of Neuronal and Neuroendocrine Communication and Differentiation.

Team leader, Team 3: “Astrocyte and Vascular Niche”


Hélène Castel started to develop different variants of the electrophysiological technique at the university of Rouen in the laboratory of Dr Vaudry (U413 Inserm) and biochemical approaches to give a comprehensive view of modulation of the GABAA receptor-channel function by interacting proteins.
She received her PhD in Neurosciences, Molecular and Cell Biology at the Rouen University in 2000, and then spent 2 years on a post-doctoral position in Pr Colquhoun’s laboratory at University College of London, UK. There, she has developed fast-concentration-jump techniques to mimic electrical fast synaptic inputs on recombinant NMDA receptors and acquired expertise in molecular biology through mutagenesis of NMDA receptor subunits. In 2002, she obtained a permanent position as chargée de Recherche (CR) at the French National Institute of Health (Inserm) and University of Rouen. In 2010, she became group Leader “Astrocyte and Vascular Niche” and since 2015, she is co-head of the international platform “Cancer and Cognition” under the French North-West Canceropole. She develops projects based on vasoactive and chemokine G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in tumor brain, brain vascular physiopathology and on cognitive dysfunctions induced by cancer and targeted therapies.


1996-2000  PhD Thesis in « Biologie Cellulaire, Option Neurosciences » Fellowships MENRT-Monitorat and ATER.
2000-2002 Post-Doctoral position, University College London, Department of Pharmacology, London (Head-Pr D. Colquhoun). MRC recipient.
2002-2016 Position at Inserm as CR2, “ Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology”, U413 Inserm, University of Rouen, 76821, Mont-Saint-Aignan, (Head-Dr H. Vaudry).
2010   Team leader of an emerging team in the Inserm U982 unit, University of Rouen (Head-Dr Y. Anouar).
2011   Habilitation à diriger des recherches (HDR).
2016   Position at Inserm as DR2,  Inserm U982 unit, University of Rouen Normandy (Head-Dr Y. Anouar).

Prize and Distinctions

Prize of the LARC-Neurosciences Network (1999), of SNE-SERVIER (2000), and of “Ecole doctorale Normande Chimie-Biologie” (2000).


Electrophysiologist, cell biochemist and molecular biologist, expertise in the field of Neuroendocrinology and Neurosciences (neurons/astrocytes), receptor-associated signalings, ionic currents and receptor-receptor interactions, animal behavior and neurogenesis, gliomagenesis, brain vascular diseases, cognition and cancer.


31 h TD/year - Coordinator of the Neuro-Oncology Module of the Neuroscience Master 2.

Seminar and invited speaker (2014-2011)


  1. Chemotaxis in the Development of High Grade Glioma: Urotensin II Receptor Ligands and Signallings as Potential Therapeutic Tools. Kent University, School of Pharmacy, November 13th 2013.
  2. The neuropeptide urotensin II as a new chemokine in glioma development activating biased migration/adhesion signaling pathways. UII analogs structure and modelization. Interreg Perene Meeting, Caen, October 30 2013.
  3. Le peptide urotensine II en tant que nouvelle chimiokine dans le développement des gliomes de haut grade. Séminaire Unité Inserm 1079, Génétique médicale et fonctionnelle du cancer et des maladies neuropsychiatriques,  Rouen, 9 avril 2013.
  4. Rôle de l’UII dans l’hémorragie sous-arachnoidienne: Cible thérapeutique. Séminaire Unité Inserm1096, Nouvelles cibles pharmacologiques du traitement de la dysfonction endothéliale et de l'insuffisance cardiaque, Rouen, 21 janvier 2013.
  5. Malignant glioma: Highly aggressive tumors characterized by neoangiogenesis and cell invasion. 2nd NEUROMED School: Neuroglia, energy metabolism and brain imaging, November 20-23 (2011).
  6. Evaluation de deux modèles murins d’hémorragie sous-arachnoïdienne: application au rôle potentiel du peptide vasoactif urotensine II dans le vasospasme post-hémorragique. Séminaire Service de Neurologie du CHU de Rouen, Rouen, Octobre 2012.
  7. Potential involvement of Urotensin II glioma cell migration. University Lyon 1, U842 Inserm, Lyon, Novembre 2011.

Invited speaker in congress and meetings

  1. Signaling switch of a vasoactive peptide GPCR: Prototypic chemotaxic mechanism involved in glioma. 19th World Congress on Advances in Oncology and 17th International Symposium on Molecular Medicine, Athens, Greece, 9-11 October, 2014
  2. Castel, H., The vasoactive peptide Urotensin II: a new chemokine exhibiting migration/adhesion properties in glioma 20th International Symposium on Regulatory Peptides (REGPEP2014), Japon, 7-10 September, 2014.
  3. Castel H. Chemokine behavior of urotensin II through activation of pleiotropic receptor signaling pathways in glioblastoma: key mechanisms and potential targeting with nanoparticles. International workshop international de l’IUPAC Nanomaterials and Human Health : Trends and Future, Canterbury, 15-16 September, 2014.
  4. Chemotaxic signaling of the Urotensin II vasoactive peptide receptor in glioma. TC2N Meeting, Gent, Belgium, 5-6 June 2014.
  5. Impact of the anti-angiogenic therapy immuno-neutralizing VEGFA on cognitive functions in mice: toward the understanding of neurobiological mechanisms ; International Cancer and Cognition Task Force Symposium, Seattle, USA, 10-12 February 2014.
  6. Cancer et Cognition, que peut-on attendre des modèles pré-cliniques?; 2ème séminaire InterCancéropôles/INCa, 18 juin 2013, Lille.
  7. Impact d'un traitement anti-angiogenique ciblant le VEGF sur les fonctions cognitives chez la souris ; 1ère journée interrégionale GIRCI Est-Cancéropôle Grand Est, 29 octobre 2013, Dijon.
  8. Cognitive dysfunctions and cerebral plasticity in mice after chemotherapy: Influence of cognitive reserve in young and aged mice. ICCTF. Paris, France. March 15-17 (2012).
  9. Genetic analysis of intracranial aneuryms From Gene Alterations to Function. Berlin joint meeting, with the French vascular section, December 15-17 (2011).

Evaluation committees

  • Consultant for Novartis (Buparlisib).
  • Co-coordinator of the emerging National platform « Cancer and Cognition », Coordinator of the Axis : “animal models and biomarkers”, France
  • Nominated member of the Inserm committee for evaluation of “contrat d’interface Hospitaliers (2013-   ), France
  • Member of the jury for innovative start-up in Haute-Normandie (2014-   ), France
  • Member of the « Comité de la Recherche en matière Biomédicale et de Santé Publique
    - CRBSP – of Rouen since 2012.
  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the North-West canceropole (2007- ....)
  • Member (elected) of Inserm Scientific Committee N°1 CSS 1, “Neuroscience, Neurology, Neuroendocrinology”
  • Member of the Expert Committee (66-69th sections) of the University of Rouen, (2007-2009), Amiens (2009) and Caen (2009), and for a Chair of Excellence at the University of Rouen (2010).
  • Member (elected) of the Council of the Department of Biology of the University of Rouen Normandie (2017-      )
  • Member of the Executive Committee of the Unit 982 Inserm
  • Expert for the ethic committee of Normandy
  • Consulting in the Neuroscience field for SIGMA


  • Institut for Research and Innovation in Biomedicine,
  • Cancéropole Nord-Ouest, co-responsable Axe 4,
  • LARC Neurosciences,
  • Trans Channel Neuroscience Network,
  • Peptide Research Network Excellence,
  • GDR-GPCR 35-45,
  • Neuroscience society,
  • Neuroendocrine society,
  • ICCTF working group,
  • ANOCEF (French Neuro-oncology association)