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Musculo-Skeletal system, Locomotion, Exercise

  1. Programme outlines, vision, ambition, educational strategy
  2. Description of the learning curriculum
  3. Research-Learning interface
CoordinatorMILLET Guillaume, Professor, Jean Monnet University
Main PFR(s)PUSH, Biosciences et sciences pharmaceutiques, Éducation et Sport
Main Master “Parcours”CellularOrgans and pathologyApplied locomotion and exercise
Main LaboratoriesInstitut NeuroMyoGène (INMG, 5 teams)Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de Biologie de la Motricité (LIBM, 4 teams)Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL, 2 teams)Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de Lyon (CRCL, 1 team)Laboratoire de Recherche en Cardiovasculaire, Métabolisme, Diabétologie et Nutrition (CarMeN, 1 team)Laboratoire de Biomécanique et Mécanique des Chocs (LBMC, 1 team)Physiopathologie, diagnostic et traitements des maladies osseuses (LYOS, 1 team)Santé Ingénierie Biologie Saint-Etienne (SAINBIOSE, 1 team)
Related PIA projectsEquipex (PHENOCAN and LILI), EUR (SLEIGHT), IHU (OPERA and CESAME), Programme infrastructure (FORCE in F-CRIN), LABEX (PRIMES and IMU)
Total No. of PhD students involved (2020-2028)110 (22/year in 5 sessions)
Total No. of Master students involved (2020-2028)288 (36 per year in 8 sessions)
No of foreign students targeted (2020-2028)~100 (35%)
% courses in English100% from the first year of existence of the MuSkLE graduate school


The purpose of MuSkLE is to set up a network of close to 170 scientists and clinicians UJM, ENS Lyon and UCBL specialized in the study of the musculoskeletal system, locomotion and exercise. This project aims at identifying the impact of physical exercise, in particular locomotor activities, on the entire musculoskeletal system in different physiological (e.g. aging, nutrition) and pathophysiological (e.g. osteoporosis, neuromuscular diseases, cancer, inflammatory rheumatism) contexts.

The objective is to break down the borders between fields to propose a true interdisciplinary research on this theme from a molecular to an integrative level. In addition, exercise has been consistently described as a ‘polypill’ to prevent and care multiple diseases but the posology still has to be defined, i.e. the intervention still has to be tailored to the patients. This original and multi-scale approach will allow significant advances in the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms involved in musculoskeletal disorders and investigate the role of physical activity to address these issues.

The consortium will cross 5 PFR (PUSH, BSP, ES, Ingénierie, Sc. et Hum.) and 4 ‘écoles doctorales’ (#205 EDISS, #488 EDSIS, #340 BMIC, #162 MEGA). MuSkLE is a perfect example of the collaboration between Lyon and St-Etienne. The research units involved in MuSkLE are well shared between Lyon (CarMeN, CRCL, IGFL, INMG, LBMC, LYOS) and Saint-Etienne (LIBM, SAINBIOSE).

The 16 teams from 8 different research units encompass an impressive list of leaders in their discipline who have reached outstanding indices of excellence. To cite only a few in the past 5 years, the researchers of the MuSkLE consortium have published ~2350 articles, were successful in 50 ANR, 1 ERC, 3 ATIP-AVENIR, 3 FRM, 17 FP7 – H2020, 2 EquipEx, 2 IHU, 1 EUR, 2 LabEx, 2 FUI. From 2014, more than 160 PhD theses have been defended, 4 start-ups have been created and 18 patents were registered. Very impressively, 65 clinical trials have been launched and 1/3 of the teams in the MuSkLE network are involved in 2 “Laboratoire International Associé” (LIA). Theses metrics demonstrate that the MuSkLE consortium brings together a unique scientific expertise.

MuSkLE will be supported by a strong network of international partners. Indeed, in addition to the more than 100 international collaborations between the laboratories involved in MuSkLE and their foreign partners, MuSkLE will officially collaborate with 5 universities where strong links have been established in the past: Ottawa, Calgary, Montreal, Copenhagen and Porto Alegre.


The MuSkLE Graduate School will propose 3 new master-paths:

  • Cellular
  • Organs and pathology
  • Applied locomotion and exercise

They will mainly rely on shared courses from 5 existing Master’s paths (PPM from Master BIP, Biology, UCBL; Biomechanics, from Master Mechanics, UCBL; i-NM and i-CT from Master i-santé, Medicine, UJM; EIPS from Master EOPS, STAPS, UJM) and optional courses chosen from 7 other Master-paths (Fig 1). Among the 5 current Master-paths supporting the current project, at least 4 will be maintained (only the PPM may disappear as it is in the core of the current project). Because of its international and external recruitment, the MuSkLE graduate school will also increase the visibility of these Masters-paths and will likely increase their attractiveness. As a result, it is likely that the total number of students in the other Masters will be stable (n = 85) despite the fact that some students from UdL that would have potentially chosen one of the 5 Masters will be joining one of the 3 MuSkLE paths. So, in total, the number of M2 students (5 current + 3 new paths) will increase from 85 to 121 (= 85 + 36, see table in section 3).

  • S1 will be composed to common courses for the 3 MuSkLE Master-paths including shared courses chosen within the 5 main Master-paths (PPM, Biomechanics, iNM, iCTand EIPS) and one internship of 8 weeks.
  • S2 will be optional shared courses from these 5 Masters but also from the 7 other Master-paths cited previously, new courses (see below) and 2 internships of 8 weeks each (including 1 abroad).
  • S3 and S4 will only include new courses and an 11-months internship.

Three types of new courses (with innovative education) will be proposed:

  • satellite courses with transversal pedagogic content including at least 2-3 disciplines of experts from MuSkLE consortium, on one scientific question of the MuSkLE perimeter (series of short lessons of 45-60 min finished by a ‘meet the expert’ session)
  • at-distance classrooms done by colleagues from the universities mentioned above. In return, MuSkLE consortium will propose also similar at-distance classrooms for partner Universities
  • pool of seminars from visiting scholars in each field of MuSkLE (mandatory for PhD students of the graduate school and validated by doctoral school, but also open for Master students)

The 12 Master students selected on the excellence of their academic curriculum will do their internship in the research teams of the MuSkLE consortium. Over these 36 Master students, we expect that 60% continue as PhD students (and at least 60% in the research teams of MuSkLE).

Optional courses (Major, i.e. Master 1st year) in their own field and minor (undergraduate level) in another field of MuSkLE perimeter will be proposed to the L3 students of the ‘Université de Lyon’ interested by the MuSkLE graduate school in addition to Discovery day, workshops, internships and summer schools (see section 3).

Figure 1. Existing interactions between all the current Master paths providing the bases for MuSkLE


Seven initiatives for research-learning interface will be proposed:

  • 1st semester of Licence 1 : Discovery Day
  • 2nd semester of Licence 1 : Workshops in laboratories made by scientists from MuSkLE
  • Summer between Licence 1 and Licence 2 : Summer School with scientists from MuSkLE
  • 2nd semester of Licence 3 : Internship in laboratories of MuSkLE consortium
  • Summer between Licence 3 and Master : Retreat
  • 1st year of Master : 3 Internships of 8 weeks each (including 1 abroad)
  • 2nd year of Master : 11-months internship in laboratories of MuSkLE consortium