Nicolas Place and Grégoire Millet (ISSUL) group

The integrative biology of exercise lab is affiliated to the Institute of Sport Sciences of the University of Lausanne (ISSUL). Some of our works require mechanistic investigations, which are conducted at the Department of Biomedical Sciences (DBS) of the University of Lausanne. Here we detail the two main focuses of our laboratory with a direct relationship to the works performed at the DBS.

Neuromuscular plasticity in response to exercise and disease

Skeletal muscles are force generators allowing interaction of the organism with the environment. In our lab we combine both integrative and mechanistic approaches to delve deeper into the mechanisms underlying neuromuscular adaptations in response to acute (fatigue) and chronic exercise (training) or pathology, as muscle weakness is central to the large majority of chronic diseases. We use techniques such as voluntary / transcutaneous electrical stimulation combined with recordings of muscle force and electromyographic activity to distinguish central (neural) from peripheral (muscular) adaptations. We also use in vitro models (e.g. isolated mouse and human muscle fibers, human muscle biopsy analysis, cell culture) to determine the cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying what can be observed in exercising humans or patients. Various approaches including Ca2+ imaging, force measurement from mouse isolated muscles, electrical stimulation of cultured cells or high resolution respirometry are adopted as part of our translational approach.

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Examples of ongoing projects:

  • The role of the ryanodine receptor in skeletal muscle metabolic adaptations to sprint interval exercise
  • Skeletal muscle mitochondrial adaptations to sprint interval training in hypoxia
  • The role of the ryanodine receptor in inflammatory and mitochondrial myopathies
  • Wide pulse neuromuscular electrical stimulation: underlying mechanisms and potential applications in the clinics
  • Investigation of the mechanisms of muscle cramps

Modulation of mitochondrial function by variation of oxygen levels

Changes in oxygen levels have pronounced effects on cells and organ-systems and thus a pronounced therapeutic potential for various diseases. We are particularly interested in cellular and systemic adaptations in response to hypoxia (by itself and combined with exercise) with a focus on brain, vasculature and muscles. Changes in cellular physiology in conditions of hypoxia notably revolve around mitochondrial function, a central topic of our research.

We aim to put the findings on molecular mechanisms in context with observations from our analyses of epidemiological datasets and experiments with human subjects. For these latter approaches we have a strong interest in mitochondrial health and the modulation thereof by aging, exposure to hypoxia and/or exercise.

Ongoing projects include:

  • Investigation of mitochondrial function and mobility under conditions of varying oxygen levels in brainderived cell-lines; implications for neurodegenerative diseases
  • Epidemiological analyses of morbidity and mortality in association with altitude exposure, with a special focus on cancers and neurodegeneration
  • Epidemiological analyses of the modulation of mitochondrial health by exercise and high altitude exposure in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic


Professeur Grégoire Millet


+41 21 692 32 94


nicolas_place-0648.jpg (Nicolas Place)

Professeur Nicolas Place


+41 21 692 38 06

Rue du Bugnon 7 - CH-1005 Lausanne
Tel. +41 21 692 55 00
Fax +41 21 692 55 05