Developmental biology first made its appearance in the Pasteur Institute when François Jacob and François Gros with their colleagues became interested in extending their pioneering work on messenger RNA in bacteria to gene regulation in eukaryotic systems.
This led to the introduction of mouse genetics and embryology and to work on differentiating cells in culture.
Initially these and other research groups were part of the Molecular Biology Department in the Jacques Monod building, which opened at the end of the 1960s, after the award of the Nobel prize to Jacob, Monod and Lwoff.
Scientific research and communal activities
The Department of Developmental Biology was created in 2001, and includes the descendants of the original laboratories in the Jacques Monod building, as well as others which have joined the Institute. Today research in the Department converges on two main poles of interest.
One concerns the regulation of gene expression in different developmental contexts, ranging from molecular studies on transcription factors and chromatin structure to the analysis of phenotypes when regulatory genes are mutated. The other focusses on cell lineages and cell behaviour in the embryo, with an interest also in the progenitor cells of adult tissues.
In a biomedical context, with an interface with other departments on the campus, these developmental studies have led to work on stem cells with a potential for tissue regeneration and to the creation of a number of mouse models for human disease.
The Department has a strong tradition in genetics, both in classical genetics and in gene manipulation in the mouse. This is reflected by the presence of veterinarians responsible for the mouse facilities of the Institute, and the transgenic mouse service, which is also attached to our Department.
Our colleagues also include human geneticists and a group using Drosophila genetics. The mouse is the model organism studied by most laboratories. However, in addition to Drosophila, there are groups working with zebra fish, and the chick embryo is also used. Precise information about research activities is given under each Unit or Group.
Research units in the DSCB Department have published over 250 research articles and over 70 reviews in the last 5 years (Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Developmental Cell, Cell Host Microbe, N Engl J Med, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Nature Struc. Mol. Biology, Nature Communications, Nature Methods, Nature Protocols, Science, Science Signaling, J. Exp. Medicine, Genes & Development, Blood, PNAS, EMBO J, PloS Biology, Development)
Recent distinctions include:
- Philip Avner: Director EMBL Monterotondo, Italy
- Laure Bally-Cuif: ERC starting Grant
- Anu Bashamboo: the International Royan Award for Reproductive Genetics
- Margaret Buckingham: CNRS Gold Medal, Foreign member of Royal Society of UK, Foreign member of Nat. Adac. Sci. of USA
- Germano Cecere: ERC starting Grant
- Ken McElreavey: French National Academy of Medicine prize
- François Schweisguth: EMBO member, Zermati prize, Fondation de France
- Jerôme Gros: Paoletti prize, ERC starting Grant
- Shahragim Tajbakhsh: EMBO member, Vallery Radot prize, Academy of Sciences/Fondation de France prize for research on stem cells, ERC advanced grant
PIs emerging from the DSCB Department
Several senior researchers obtained independent group leader positions since 2009:
- Marco Pontoglio (2009) – Group Leader, Institut Cochin, Paris
- Allison Bardin (2010) – Group Leader, (CNRS ATIP- Avenir), Institut Curie, Paris
- Ramkumar Sambasivan (2012) – Group Leader, inStem, Bangalore, India
- Colin Crist (2013) – Assistant Professor, McGill University, Canada
- Karima Kissa (2013) – Group leader (CNRS ATIP-Avenir), University of Montpellier
- Milka Sarris (2014) – MRC Research Fellow, University of Cambridge, UK
- Ute Rogner (2014) – Group Leader, Institut Cochin, Paris
- Sigolène Meilhac (2014) – Group Leader, Institut Pasteur/Necker Hospital, Paris
Recent recruitments of G5 junior group leaders
- Han Li (from CNIO, Madrid) recruited September 2014
- Sigolène Meilhac (2014) Institut Pasteur/Necker Hospital
- Pauline Spéder (from Cambridge, UK) recruited May 2015
- Elisa Gomez Perdiguero (from King’s College, London) recruited April 2015
- Germano Cecere (from Columbia University), recruited September 2015