About the Department

The Department : a bit of history

Developmental biology first made its appearance on the Pasteur Institute campus 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 andmouse embryology and to work on ex vivo systems of experimental study of differentiation. Initially these and other research groups were part of the Molecular Biology Department housed 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

The Department of Developmental Biology was created in 2001, and includes some of the original laboratories housed in the Jacques Monod building. Today research in the Department is centred on two main poles of interest. The first concerns the regulation of gene expression and cell behaviour in different developmental contexts, with studies ranging from molecular studies on transcription factors and chromatin structure to the analysis  of cell-cell interactions. Detailed functional analysis  after molecular ,genetic or physiological perturbation provides a key approach in this overall area  . The second focusses on cell lineages and cell behaviour in the developing embryo, with an interest also in processes such as homeostasis occurring in adult tissues.
 
The Department has a very strong tradition in genetics - classical genetics and  experimental molecular genetics -  both as applied to the mouse and to other experimental systems. The latter currently include Drosophila, Amphioxus, zebrafish and the chick .The interest and expertise in the mouse as an experimental system  is reflected in the administrative attachment  of the central animal facilities and the transgenic mouse service to our Department.
 
The  developmental studies undertaken in the Departmentoften had an interface with work  on stem cells  and their environment. This ongoing  multifaceted interest in stem cell research has been renforced recently  by the award of a ten year Laboratory of Excellence program grant for research into stem cells and regenerative Medicine to a consortium initiated and headed by the Department (see www.pasteur.fr/labex/revive for more information).
 
 The name of the Department has therefore been modified to Developmental & Stem Cell Biology.
 
More detailed  information about research activities is provided for each Unit or Group.