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Head of the research group

Professeur à l'Unistra


Le Bel Institute, 5th floor North

Secretarial and accounting services provided by

email : reiffste@unistra.fr
Phone : +33 (0)3 68 85 14 32

Permanent members

  • Valérie BERL
    Maître de conférence à l'Unistra
    Phone : +33 (0)
    email : vberl@unistra.fr
  • Jean-Pierre LEPOITTEVIN
    Professeur à l'Unistra
    Phone : +33 (0)
    email: jplepoit@unistra.fr
    Chargée de recherche CNRS
    Phone : +33 (0)
    email : egimenez@unistra.fr

Non-permanent members

Post-docs :

  • Hassan SROUR
  • Marie BETOU
  • François-Marie MOUSSALLIEH

PhD students:

  • Fatma SAHLI
  • Minh KHONG

Description of the research group

Studies of the interactions between molecules of our environment and the skin in relation with dermatological pathologies.

Research topics

1- Action mechanisms of skin allergens

  • Synthesis and hemi-synthesis of isotope stable (13C, 2H) substituted chemicals.
  • Characterization by HRMAS (High-Resolution Magic Angle Spinning) NMR of reaction mechanisms of skin and respiratory allergens with reconstructed human epidermis.
  • Skin metabolism studies of fragrance chemicals and drugs by HRMAS NMR.
  • Development of alternative methods to animal experiments for the detection of skin allergens.


2- Photo-activable chemicals of dermatological interest

  • Synthesis of new photo-activable molecules derived from lactones.
  • Photo-reactivity studies of photo-activable molecules towards DNA and oligonucleotides.
  • Characterization of formed photo-adducts by NMR.

3- Contribution of radical reactions to mechanisms of skin sensitization and other dermo-oxidative  

  • Synthesis of skin allergens substituted by carbon-13 atoms at position of radical formation.
  • Evidence of radical formation by EPR and spin trapping.
  • Reactivity studies of radical intermediates towards amino acids, peptides and proteins.
  • Radical formation from skin allergens and danger signals in reconstructed human epidermis (EPR and in situ spin trapping).
  • Immune response associated to radical formation.
  • Anti-/pro-oxidative action of xenobiotics in the skin.

Key publications

Kuresepi S, Vileno B, Turek P, Lepoittevin JP, Giménez-Arnau E.
Potential of EPR spin-trapping to investigate in situ free radicals generation from skin allergens in reconstructed human epidermis : cumene hydroperoxide as proof of concept
Free Radic Res,
2018, 52, 171-79

Moss E, Debeuckelaere C, Berl V, Elbayed K, Moussellieh F-M, Namer, I-J, Lepoittevin JP.
In situ metabolism of cinnamyl alcohol in reconstructed human epidermis : new insights into the activation of this fragrance skin sensitizer
Chem Res Toxicol
, 2016, 29, 1172-78

Kao D, Chaintreau A, Lepoittevin JP, Giménez-Arnau E.
Investigation on the covalent modification of amino acids by chemicals via carbon-radical intermediates : Mechanisms to explain the reactivity of sensitizing allylic hydroperoxides
Toxicol Res
, 2014, 3, 278-89

Elbayed K, Berl V, Debeuckeleare C, Moussallieh F-M, Piotto M, Namer I-J, Lepoittevin JP.
HR-MAS NMR spectroscopy of reconstructed human epidermis : potential for the in situ investigation of chemical interactions between skin allergens and nucleophilic amino acids
Chem Res Toxicol
, 2013, 26, 136-145

Photo gallery

A small overview of our research group