The Inception’s goal is to develop a core structure to mobilize data resources, numerical sciences, and fundamental experimental biology in a range of health issues.

Inception program uses Integrative Biology, Social Science and Data Science to understand the Emergence of Diseases in Populations and in Individuals,  gathering different fields of expertise (biology, medicine, computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics, and social sciences). It is addressing societal challenges related to diseases emergence as:

  • Global surveillance and monitoring
  • Multi-scale analyses , integrating the ecosystem
  • Social sphere to define health policies
  • New methodological approaches to make sense of biological big data


The Inception’s core group is hosted at the Institut Pasteur, Paris and stems from existing projects and structures on the campus, among which the four transversal Centers: the Center for Bioinformatics, Biostatistics and Integrative Biology (C3BI), the Center for Innovation and Technological Research (Citech), the Center for Global Health (CGH), and the Center for Translational Research (CRT). Besides, LabExs of Institut Pasteur, the PIBnet project, the NRCs (15 hosted at the Institut Pasteur in Paris), and CIBU are data providers to the IP Centers and laboratories in the framework of Inception.

The strong scientific network that constitutes Inception involves partnerships with academic institutions: the CNRS and the National Center for Genotyping (CNG, Labex GenMed) are in charge respectively of methodological developments and data acquisition. The Paris Sciences et Lettres research university (PSL) the Paris Diderot University (Paris 7) and the Frontières du Vivant (FdV) doctoral school  will be key players in the Inception education workplan to develop courses in numerical sciences, modelling, data analysis and social sciences.

Partnerships with Paris 7 SPHère laboratory (Sciences, Philosophie, Histoire – UMR 7219) will allow implementation of social sciences in Inception framework, developping strong program for the study of  social, cultural and political aspects of life sciences and medicine.

Program Outline

Inception is addressing the paradigm shift of modern Biology by fostering an effective crosstalk between three distinct disciplines:

  • Computer Science and Data Science, to develop modern modelling approaches, ensure the efficient management of the massive data generated by high-throughput technologies, and allow for their exploitation and biological interpretation.
  • Integrative Biology to study human pathologies and collect biological Big Data related to pathologies and pathogens from the molecular level to cells, organs and organisms, taking into account the multiplicity of environmental determinants and interactions.
  • Social Sciences to address human contributions to emerging diseases, as well as fundamental ethical and social concerns raised by Integrative Biology and Data science.

inception-outline-fig-1-crop Fig 1.  Inception Outline

The scientific project is divided into four axes. The first axis, referred as “Methods for Integrative Biology”, comprises a range of mathematics, statistics and computer science domains to be mobilized and developed. Their common objective is to enable the study of the emergence of diseases in populations (second axis), but also within individuals (third axis). These two scales of investigation are increasingly linked, for example through the use of concepts and tools from evolutionary biology. Lastly, the fourth axis involves Social Sciences, to which Inception gives an influential role, to understand and predict the development of epidemics, and build consistent health policies over the long term.


Fig 2.  Inception Disciplines & Methods

Inception Actions Plan For Interdisciplinary Research

To launch Annual Call for Research

  • Hiring Junior Group Leaders
  • Funding Research Proposals, including support for post-doctoral researchers positions

To implement Graduate Multidisciplinary Education Program, at the interfaces of Life Sciences, and provide training opportunities for the next generation of researchers

  • Training of Biologists in data analysis sciences, and conversely computer scientists and mathematicians in biology
  • Strengthen  Integrative Biology component of the Institut Pasteur’s Master and PhD courses, in partnerships with PSL
  • Set up a mandatory Master 2 level course in Computer Science and Statistics, targeting all PhD and postdoctoral researchers
  • Launch a dedicated PhD program , in partnership with the European Interdisciplinary graduate school Frontières du vivant (FdV) and other major doctoral schools in Life sciences
  • Support PhD students to be trained for multidisciplinary research in biology, through specific allocated funding: students  with a strong initial background in mathematics, statistics and computer science will be highly selected
  • Give access to Pasteur-CNAM Master specialization in Public Health (http://ecole-pasteur.cnam.fr/)
  • Set up Summer’s School
  • Develop Online new open education MOOCs programs
  • Encouraging multidisciplinary links with medicine through specific program (http://www.pasteur.fr/en/teaching/doctoral-programs/programme-doctoral-medicine-sciences)
  • Promote entrepreneurship through the joint course entitled Development of research and biomedical innovation, in coordinationwith AP-HP and Medicen

More information here : https://www.inception-program.fr/en

Steering Committee


Principal Investigators



Funded Projects


G5 Research Project, call 2017 : Evolutionary genomics of RNA viruses Etienne Simon-Loriere D2I Research Project, call 2017 : Jérémy CHOIN (PhD Fellow) – Lluis Quintana Unit, Antoine Gessain Unit (IP) D2I Research Project, call 2017 : Jonathan Bastard (PhD fellow) – Lulla Opatowski (Didier Guillemot Unit, IP), Laura Temime (Cnam) P2I Research Project, call 2017 : Understanding whooping cough resurgence in Europe by combining genomic, epidemiological and sociological approaches Sylvain Brisse, Simon Cauchemez P2I Research Project, call 2017 : Microbial and viral circulations among people and wild and domesticated animals in an ecotone, Democratic Republic of Congo (MICROTONE) IP: Tamara Giles-Vernick, Sean Kennedy, Etienne Simon-Lorière, Victor Narat, Romain Duda (postdoc fellow) Université Paris-Diderot : Guillaume Lachenal


D2I Research Project, call 2018 : Marie Morel (PhD Fellow) – Olivier Gascuel Unit, Etienne Simon Loriere G5 (IP) D2I Research Project, call 2018 : Robin Chalumeau (PhD Fellow) – Jean-Christophe Olivo-Marin Unit, Jost Eninnga Unit (IP)


P2I Research Project, call 2018 : Machine learning to get at the heart of diagnostic cardiology Sigolène Meilhac, G5 (IP/Imagine), Timothy Wai, G5 (IP), Christophe Zimmer Unit (IP), Francesca Raimondi (APHP/INSERM) P2I Research Project, call 2018 : HOST AND BACTERIAL FACTORS INVOLVED IN INVASIVE LISTERIOSIS Marc Lecuit Unit (IP/INSERM), Lluis Quintana Unit (IP/CNRS), Hugues Aschard, G5 (IP) G5 Research Project, call 2018 : Sequence Bioinformatics Rayan Chikhi