Principal investigators

Philip Avner Michel Cohen-TannoudjI Nathalie Beaujean / Corinne Cotinot Stéphane Blot
Delphine Bohl / Jean-Michel Heard Han Li Anna Cumano James Di Santo
Philippe Herbomel Pierre-Marie Lledo Kenneth McElreavey / Anu Bashamboo Philippe Ménasché
Didier Montarras / Margaret Buckingham Christian Muchardt Pablo Navarro-Gil Jean-François Nicolas
Brigitte Onteniente/ Anselme Perrier Marc Peschanski Frédéric Relaix Benoît Robert
David Sassoon Raphael Scharfmann François Schweisguth Shahragim Tajbakhsh
 Sandrine Baghdoyan/Cécile Martinat      

Philip Avner
Dynamics of epigenetic regulation
EMBL Monterotondo
Adriano Buzzati-Traverso Campus,
Via Ramarini 32,
00016 Monterotondo, Italy
Tel       +39 06 90091-241
The group of Philip Avner has long-standing interests in the events marking the earliest stages of differentiation of embryonic stem cells. His group has used the X-inactivation system as a model for such studies and has been particularly interested in the role of the X-inactivation centre in this process and its sensing of cell differentiation status.
Sandrine Baghdoyan/Cécile Martinat
Motoneuron diseases
5, rue Henri Desbruères
91030 Evry
Tel       +331 6990 8587/8533
Using pre-implantation genetic diagnosis derived human embryonic stem cell lines (hES) or human induced pluripotent stem cells carrying the causal mutation for neuro-muscular diseases, our objective is double: identify new physiopathogical mechanisms and develop new therapeutic strategies. We demonstrated the proof of this concept by identifying new genes participating to the Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1) pathogenesis. In parallel, a molecular screen, based on siRNA, permitted to identify a new molecular pathway that can correct some DM1 pathological phenotype.  
Nathalie Beaujean/Corinne Cotinot
Developmental biology and reproduction
Domaine de Vilvert
78352 Jouy en Josas
Tel       +331 3465 2903/2350
Fax      +331 3465 2909
Dr. Beaujean’s team has a unique expertise in embryonic reprogramming after fertilization and nuclear transfer, through the analysis of gene expression and epigenetic regulations. The team is also investigating how pluripotency is established in the embryos and upon derivation of stem cells.
Dr. Cotinot’s joint research unit is pioneer in nuclear reprogramming in domestic mammals (ruminants & rabbits). The unit also performs researches on pluripotent cells (ES, iPS, EpisC) in livestock animals and on their use in reproductive biotechnologies.
Stéphane Blot
UPR-Laboratory of neurdobiology
Biology and biotherapies of myopathies
Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort
7, avenue du Général de Gaulle
94704 Maisons-Alfort
Tel       331 4396 7171/7047
Fax      331 4396 7089
Our objective is to demonstrate in a large animal model of inherited degenerative myopathies the relevance of potential cell therapies for human application. To achieve this aim, we use spontaneous canine myopathies that finely mimick the human situation. The biological effects of promising muscle progenitors (like mesoangioblasts) delivered intra-arterially with routine procedures after specific conditioning (for allogeneic cells with immune suppression or for autologous cells) are demonstrated by multiparametric biomarkers using transposable methods to patients.
Delphine Bohl/Jean-Michel Heard       
Biotherapies for neurodegenerative diseases
INSERM U622 - Institut Pasteur
28, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel :     +331 4568 8412
Fax :    +331 4568 8940
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal and rapidly progressive motor neuron degenerative disease. It is a very heterogenous syndrome of unknown etiology. Our objective is to study disease mechanisms to refine the nosology of ALS. For that purpose, we generate induced pluripotent stem cells from fibroblasts of patients and differentiate iPSc into pure cultures of motor neurons to analyse and compare motor neurons intrinsic phenotypic properties.
Michel Cohen-Tannoudji
Mouse functional genetics
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur 
25 rue du Dr Roux
75015 - Paris
Tel       +331 4568 84 86
Fax      +331 4568 8634
Michel Cohen-Tannoudji has a long-standing interest in early mammalian development and stem cells biology.  His group studies the pathways involved in the specification and differentiation of the extraembryonic endoderm using extraembryonic endoderm (XEN) stem cells. His group is also interested in the cellular and molecular mechanism controlling maintenance of adult gut and hematopoietic stem cells.
Anna Cumano
INSERM U668 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel         +331 4568 8895
Stromal cells are non-hematopoietic cells, present in the hematopoietic organs, responsible for the development and maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Our objective is to study of the biological properties of fetal HSC and their stromal environment, to understand stem cell self-renewal. We aim at 1.Prospectively isolate the cellular components of the hematopoietic niche, in murine fetal liver. 2. Identify the environmental and/or cell autonomous signals required for HSC expansion and differentiation.
James Di Santo
Innate Immunity
INSERM U668 - Institut Pasteur
25 rue du Docteur Roux
75015 - Paris
Tel       +331 4568 8696
Fax      +331 4061 3510
We have developed ‘alymphoid’ Rag/gc double-deficient mice (T-, B-, NK-) as hosts for human xenografts, including hematopoietic stem cells (Human Immune System, 'HIS' mice), as well as PBL, tumors, myoblasts or hepatocytes (Human Hepatocyte, ‘HuHEP’ mice). Improved HIS models that incorporate human cytokine treatment, ablation of mouse DC development, human MHC transgenes, or inhibition of mouse macrophage activity and combination HIS/HUHEP mice will find broad applications in human stem cell biology, analysis of disease pathogenesis and development of new therapies.
Philippe Herbomel
Macrophages and development of immunity
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel       +331 4438 9529
Fax      +331 4061 3440
The Herbomel laboratory uses the specific assets of the zebrafish, as a vertebrate model, to address aspects of stem cell biology that are difficult to approach in mammals. They focus on the developmental emergence, journey through the organism and individual fate and progeny of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), and how this fate is influenced by the successive niches to which HSPCs home.
Pierre-Marie Lledo
Perception and Memory
CNRS URA 2182 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel       +331 4568 8803
Fax      +331 4568 8369
We are investigating the functional meaning of adult neurogenesis forsensory and cognitive functions. Methodologically, this includemorphological, molecular and electrophysiological characterization of newneurons in vitro and in vivo as well as behavioral approaches toinvestigate the impact of adding new neurons to pre-existing circuits. Special emphases are given to investigate the relative contribution ofintrinsic (genetic) and extrinsic (epigenetic) cues regulating thisprocess using genetically manipulated rodents and different environmentalparadigms.

Han Li

Cellular Plasticity and Disease Modelling
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur

25, rue du Docteur Roux

75015 – Paris

Tel +331 4568 8484

We are using in vitro and in vivo reprogramming system to investigate how cellular plasticity is regulated during physiological and pathological processes. Our aim is to understand how aberrant cellular plasticity is induced during tumorigenesis and how to modulate cellular plasticity for regeneration especially in ageing related diseases.

Kenneth McElreavey/Anu Bashamboo
Human Developmental Genetics
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25 rue du Dr. Roux
75015 - Paris
Tel       331 4568 8920
The primary objective of the unit of human developmental genetics is to understand the development and function of the mammalian gonad using a two-pronged approach. First involves  using NGS to define novel genetic and epigenetic anomalies associated with atypical development and function of the testis. The second approach is to develop ex-vivo cellular models of supporting somatic and germ cells of the testis to understand development of the reproductive system as well as the patho-physiology of  associated diseases.
Philippe Menasche
Heart Failure Surgery
INSERM U970 - Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou
20, rue Leblanc
75015 Paris
Tel     +331 5609 3622/2962
UMR 633
56, rue Leblanc
75015 Paris
Tel     +331 5609 5907
Our objective is to develop a cell therapy product targeted at regeneration of failing myocardium and based on : (1) the use of cardiac progenitors derived from pluripotent cells, (2) the concomitant provision of vascular and extracellular matrix components through the combination of cells with biomaterials providing the biochemical and biophysical cues required for optimizing the retention, survival, differentiation and functional integration of the cellular graft, and (3) the development of induction of tolerance to allogeneic cells.
Didier Monterras / Margaret Buckingham
Molecular genetics of development
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel       +331 4568 8475
Fax      +331 4061 3452
The regulation of cell fate choices and subsequently of the self-renewal versus differentiation of a cell that has entered a tissue specific lineage, are key aspects of stem cell biology. In adult tissues, maintenance of stem cells and their contribution to regeneration are also major concerns. Our laboratory addresses these issues in the context of skeletal muscle. We focus our work on key transcription factors (Pax, Foxc, Pitx and MRF) using the mouse as a mammalian model, which permits genetic manipulation. 
Christian Muchardt
Epigenetic Regulation
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25 rue du Dr-Roux
75015 - Paris
Tel       +331 45 68 85 25 / 331 4568 8625
Fax      +331 4568 8976
Histones organize the mammalian genome in chromatin. These histones carry numerous post-translational modifications that function as a code encrypting information required for the regulation of gene expression. Our objective is to investigate novel pathways affecting this “Epigenetic” information to gain better control of gene expression and thereby acquire new tool to guide stem cells into the desired differentiation pathways.

Pablo Navarro-Gil

Epigenetics of stem cells
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 – Paris

Tel +331 4568 8285


We are using mouse Embryonic Stem cells to understand how regulatory networks contribute to cellular decision-making processes in mammalian systems. We aim at understanding (1) the regulatory properties emerging from and the constrains imposed by the modular and dynamic organisation of the network; (2) the epigenetic mechanisms ensuring the rapid reestablishment of the network after each cell division and, conversely, those promoting its dismantling upon differentiation; (3) the contribution of non-coding RNAs to the regulation of the network’s activity.

Brigitte Onteniente/Anselme Perrier
Neurodegenerative diseases / Neurovascular lesions
5, rue Henri Desbruères
91030 Evry
Tel       +331 6990 8538/23
Fax      +331 6990 8521
Stem cell therapy:  The neurochemical fate and functional effects of hPSC-derived neural progenitors transplanted into rodent and monkey models of brain disorders are analyzed. In a translational perspective, non-viral methods for reprogramming will be defined to generate genetically unaltered hiPSC.
Drug discovery for genetic diseases: Screening technologies are applied to identify chemical compounds able to inhibit  REST function, a major target gene in Huntington’s disease, and will serve as a paradigm for high-throughput screening approaches applied to neurological disorders.

Jean-François Nicolas
Molecular Biology of Developement
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 – Paris
Tel       +331 4568 8524
Fax      +331 4568 8521
We test the concept of stemness, that is whether all stem cells use aset of stem functions, independent of their specific characteristics. Weuse several mouse stem systems, including the serie involve in hairfollicle renewal. This is fundamental in the stem cell field (if there isa universal stemness process, then it should be easy to activate it innon-stem-tissue-specific cells) and also in the system biology field as ittests high levels of network organization.
Marc Peschanski
PI, Director of Research INSERM
Christine Baldeschi
Maître de Conférences University of Evry
Christelle Monville
Professor University of Evry co-Pis
5, rue Henri Desbruères - 91030 Evry
Tel       +331 6990 8517
 Our team is dedicated to the exploration of therapeutic potentials of human pluripotent stem cells, of embryonic origin or induced by reprogramming, in monogenic diseases affecting epidermis and retina. Within that framework, we are currently in the immediate pre-clinical phase of two clinical trials using ES-derived progenies to treat skin ulceration that complicates sickle cell diseases, on the one hand, monogenic diseases affecting retinal pigmented epithelium, on the other hand. In parallel, we are deciphering molecular mechanisms associated to various diseases, including neurofibromatosis type I and adenomatous polyposis coli.
Fréderic Relaix
Mycology Group / Mouse molecular genetics
UMR-S 787 - INSERM - UPMC-Paris VI - Institut de Myologie
Faculté de Médecine Pitié-Salpétrière
105 bd de l'Hôpital, 75634 - Paris Cedex 13
Tel (+33) 1 40 77 81 25
Fax (+33) 1 53 60 08 02
Our team is interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms of skeletal muscle progenitor and stem cells specification, maintainance, growth arrest and differentiation using mouse molecular genetics, as well as understanding the function of the Pax3 and Pax7 genes during development, evolution, skeletal muscle formation, neural crest cells, nervous system development and cancer.
Benoit Robert
Molecular Genetics of Morphogenesis
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25 Rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel       +331 4568 8965
Cell      +331 8031 2851
Fax      +331 4568 8963
The research of Dr. Benoît Robert focuses on patterning and morphogenesis in mouse development, using Msx gene mutants as an experimental model. In his Unit, it was demonstrated that Msx genes are expressed in populations of precursor cells in several developmental processes. Cells that express Msx1 have been evidenced in the embryonic and adult spinal cord; their function and fate are currently under investigation.
David Sassoon
Myology Group (Director of) / Stem cells regulators
UMR-S 787 - INSERM - UPMC-Paris VI - Institut de Myologie
Faculté de Médecine Pitié-Salpétrière
105 bd de l'Hôpital
75634 - Paris Cedex 13

Tel       +331 4077 81 31
Fax      +331 5360 08 02
Coordinator FP7 consortium EndoSTEM

David Sassoon currently directs a research unit focused on the themes of developmental and stem cell biology. His team, co-run with Dr. Marazzi, is focused on adult stem cells. The current focus is on how cell stress is integrated into stem cell mobilization in response to injury and how regenerative competence is maintained. Recent work reveals that parentally imprinted genes (monoallelically expressed) play a critical role in adult stem cell function and cell cycle control.
Raphael Scharfmann
Control of pancreatic endocrine cell development
Faculté : Institut Cochin (U.1016 INSERM / UMR 8104 CNRS / Université Paris Descartes)
Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes
24, Rue du faubourg Saint Jacques
75014 Paris
Tel       +331 4061 5565
Fax      +331 4306 0443
Dr. Raphael Scharfmann’ research group is interested by pancreatic endocrine cell development and particularly by insulin-producing beta cells. The group developed in vitro bioassays using rodent fetal pancreas to screen for signal that regulate pancreatic progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation into beta cells. In parallel, they are developing innovative assays, to transfer to human, data generated in rodent models.
François Schweisguth
Genetics and development of Drosophila
CNRS URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25, rue du Docteur Roux
75015 Paris
Tel       +331 4438 9240
Fax      +331 4061 3627
We study the control mechanisms underlying the choice to divide either symmetrically, hence contributing to increase the stem cell pool, or asymmetrically, hence contributing to tissue formation and renewal, using Drosophila as a model system. Our goals are to identify the control mechanisms that direct cells to divide asymmetrically, to elucidate how Notch is regulated in the context of symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions and to develop tools for the real-time quantitative in vivo analysis of Notch in single stem cells.
Shahragim Tajbakhsh
Stem cells and development
CNRA URA 2578 - Institut Pasteur
25 rue du Dr. Roux
75015, Paris
Tel       +331 4061 35 20 / Lab +331 4061 3525
Fax      +331 4568 8963
Our aim is to characterise stem cells and their daughters during embryonic and postnatal development of skeletal muscle to understand how this tissue is established, and how it regenerates. We are examining the genetic networks which regulate myogenic stem cell emergence, and relating this to how cell order is established in this lineage. We are also investigating how stem/progenitor cells self-renew, essentially via symmetric and asymmetric cell divisions, and how the stem cell niche is defined.