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Members - Endosymbiotic infection and nodule development
Dr. Fernanda de Carvalho-Niebel, Research Director (CNRS-DR2)
Fernanda obtained her PhD at the University of Ghent (Belgium) in 1994 after having worked in the Dirk Inzé’s group at the laboratory of Genetics directed by Marc Van Montagu. Her PhD thesis focused on the study of the regulation of plant defence genes and during this work she discovered and characterised one of the first cases of PTGS (Post-Transcriptional Gene Silencing) in plants. She joined the LIPM in 1995, first as a postdoctoral researcher (after obtaining grants from EMBO and the European Community) and then as a CNRS researcher to work on the Medicago-rhizobia nitrogen-fixing symbiosis. Her research has particularly focused on the study of plant signalling components associated with endosymbiotic root infection, during which she discovered plant genes and new regulators of this process. Fernanda is currently a CNRS research director (DR2) and is since 2016 co-responsible of the ENOD team, where she is in charge of the group's "Infection" axis. She focuses now on the spatio-temporal control of rhizobial infection and conducts, in this frame, various research projects (CROSS, CREPE and Live-Switch) aimed at understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this process.
Dr. Andreas Niebel, Research Director (CNRS-DR2)
Andreas obtained his PhD at the University of Ghent in 1994 in the Lab of Marc van Montagu under the supervision of Dirk Inzé and Godelieve Gheysen. His research project involved identifying and characterizing genes such as the cell cycle regulator gene cdc2a, which are upregulated in the giant feeding cells elicited in roots of potato, tobacco and Arabidopsis by plant endoparasitic nematodes. As an EMBO postdoctoral fellow, he then moved to the LIPM to work on the legume-Rhizobium symbiotic interaction, where he was subsequently recruited by the CNRS (CR2). Andreas initially studied rhizobial Nod factor perception using biochemical and molecular approaches in the group of Julie Cullimore. In 2000, he joined the group of Pascal Gamas and contributed to the study of the symbiotic transcriptome of Medicago truncatula, especially during early steps of this symbiotic interaction. Andreas is in charge of the “nodule development” axis of the group and studies genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that control the formation of this symbiotic organ. Andreas who is a DR2 from CNRS is since 2016 co-group leader of the Endosymbiotic infection and nodule development (ENOD) team together with Fernanda de Carvalho-Niebel.
Dr. Pascal Gamas, Research Director (CNRS-DR1)
The first seven years of Pascal’s scientific career were devoted to studies on bacterial transposable elements. His PhD (Michael Chandler’s lab, Toulouse University), focused on the insertion sequence IS1, after which he was recruited by the CNRS (CR2) in 1986. He then studied the transposon Tn7 as a post-doc in Nancy L. Craig’s lab at the University of California, San Francisco, USA. Returning to France, Pascal switched to plant biology to work on the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis. He joined Julie Cullimore’s group at the LIPM in 1990 (co-PI from 1997 to 2007) in order to develop global approaches aimed at identifying Medicago truncatula genes transcriptionally activated by Sinorhizobium meliloti or purified rhizobial Nod factors. He thus established with co-workers a collection of transcriptomics tools in M. truncatula, including most recently tissue-specific RNA-seq approaches based upon laser microdissection. Pascal is particularly interested in identifying and characterizing transcriptional regulators that control late nodulation stages. In the past years, he has notably discovered epigenetic regulators that play a key role in the nodule differentiation stage. Pascal was the LIPM Director from 2003 to 2010.
Dr. Joëlle Fournier, Researcher (CNRS-CRHC)
Joëlle obtained her PhD at Toulouse University, working on the role of lipoxygenases in defense responses of tobacco in the group of Marie-Thérèse Esquerré-Tugayé. She joined the CNRS in 1992 to continue her work on the participation of the oxylipin pathway in plant defense and resistance against pathogens. In 2005, Joëlle moved to the field of symbiotic plant-microbe interactions in David Barker’s group at the LIPM, where she initiated a project on the cellular mechanisms and dynamics associated with the initial stages of Medicago truncatula root entry by the N-fixing endosymbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti. Rhizobial infection involves the de novo formation of apoplastic compartments called infection threads which host the microsymbiont. Joëlle has developed in vivo approaches for time-lapse studies on infection thread formation in root hairs using confocal laser scanning microscopy associated with the use of a variety of fluorescent plant markers and fluorescent S. meliloti strains. Her current research is focused on the dynamics of cell wall deposition/modification at infection initiation sites, the in vivo spatio-temporal dynamics of symbiotic proteins during endosymbiotic interface construction, as well as rhizobia reprogramming during their confinement within plant infection compartments
Dr. Marie-Françoise Jardinaud, Assistant Professor (ENSAT-INPT)
Françoise obtained her PhD at the Graduate School of Life Sciences of Toulouse in 1994 in the Biotechnology and Plant Improvement Department under the supervision of André Souvré and Gilbert Alibert. She developed new methods for genetic transformation of Brassica and maize microspores. She then moved to CSIRO (Plant Industry, Canberra Australia) where she worked from 1994 to 1995 as post doctoral fellow on the Arabidopsis thaliana flowering gene FLF in Liz Denis’ lab. In 1996, she initiated a new research program funded by the “Australian Rice Growers company” aimed at increasing the iron content of rice seeds. In 2000, she was recruited by CIMMYT (El Batan, Mexico DF) as an associate scientist to study maize drought tolerance in Jean Marcel Ribaut’s group. In 2001, she returned to France after being recruited as an associate professor by the Graduate School of Life Sciences of Toulouse. Françoise first worked on the molecular characterization of sunflower embryogenesis in the Biotechnology and Plant Improvement Department. In 2005, her interest shifted to plant-microbe interactions and in particular the association between the soil-born pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum and Medicago truncatula. Françoise focused her research activities on the relationships between symbiotic and pathogenic plant-microbe interactions. She then joined the ENOD team to work on transcriptional regulators common to both symbiotic and pathogenic interactions.
Dr. Marie-Christine Auriac, Engineer (CNRS-IEHC)
Since her PhD in plant biology and physiology at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, Marie-Christine Auriac has used cell biology and imaging approaches to tackle various scientific questions. She then, during a post-doctoral stay, brought her skills to the Laboratory of Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), before joining the Neurobiology and Movement Laboratory, a CNRS unit in Marseille. In 1990, she joined the LIPM to participate in the histo-cytological study of nodule development. From 2003 to 2019, Marie-Christine worked on the LIPM/FRAIB microscopy platforms, and contributed to various projects (such as the visualisation of hydathodes during plant-pathogen interactions) thanks to her strong expertise in electron and optical microscopy. She has since 2020 joined the ENOD team to integrate the infection axis of the ENOD team led by F. de Carvalho-Niebel, where she contributes to the study of Medicago's cellular responses to rhizobia infection (CROSS & CREPE projects). Marie-Christine, works closely with various French microscopy-imaging platforms (including the FRAIB from Toulouse), and brings its expertise to other LIPM teams via collaborative projects.
Since her PhD in plant biology and physiology at the University of Clermont-Ferrand, Marie-Christine Auriac has used cell biology and imaging approaches to tackle various scientific questions. She has then used her skills during post-doctoral stays at the Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology Laboratory of the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and then in the Neurobiology and Movement Laboratory, a CNRS unit in Marseille. In 1990, she joined G. Truchet's group at the LIPM to participate in the histo-cytological study of nodule development. From 199X to 2018 Marie-Christine integrated LIPM/FRAIB microscopy platforms, and contributed to various projects (such as the visualisation of hydathodes during plant-pathogen interactions) thanks to her strong expertise in electron and optical microscopy. While keeping her transversal activity at the LIPM, she joined the ENOD team in 2019 to integrate the infection axis of the ENOD team led by F. de Carvalho-Niebel, where she contributes to the study of Medicago's cellular responses to rhizobial infection (CROSS & CREPE projects). Marie-Christine works closely with various French microscopy and imaging platforms including the FRAIB platform in Toulouse.
Agnès Lepage, Technician (CNRS-TCE)
Agnès joined the CNRS in 1990. She began her career at the Laboratory of Cell Physiology in Paris where she worked on a vaccine against the HIV virus. In 1992, she joined the Institut Jacques Monod (Paris) where she was in charge of the production and micro-injection of different animal cell lines. Then in 1996, she moved to Toulouse to work at the Centre for Developmental Biology (CBD). In this centre, she was able to develop her knowledge in Biology and Molecular Cytology by studying different aspects of the Developmental Biology of Drosophila melanogaster. Since 2007, she joined the LIPM to work in nitrogen-fixing symbiosis and under the supervision of Andreas Niebel in the ENOD team, she now uses her strong skills in microscopy, genetics and plant culture to study the role of the transcription factor NF-Y during nodule development.
Lisa Frances, Technician (INRAE-TCS)
After a University Diploma in Biological Engineering Technology (Agronomy) at the IUT of Perpignan in 1999, Lisa obtained a University Diploma in Plant Biotechnology Manager (Paul Sabatier University / National School of Agronomic Training of Toulouse, 2000). She then worked as a technician in the molecular biology laboratories of BIOGEMMA (Clermont-Ferrand) and RAGT GENETIQUE (Rodez). In 2005, Lisa was recruited at INRA to take charge of the joint sequencing service at LIPM and join the team of J. Vorholt for her research activities. In 2007, she joined Fernanda de Carvalho-Niebel to support her research projects in the study of the legume-rhizobia symbiosis. Lisa is currently part of the "infection" axis of the ENOD team and under the supervision of F. de Carvalho-Niebel she contributes to various projects (Live-Switch, CREPE, CROSS) thanks to her strong skills in molecular biology, plant culture and phenotyping of symbiotic interactions.
Dr Thi Thu Dang, Post-Doc (ANR)
Thi Thu Dang did her PhD in the lab of Plant Molecular Genetics, Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST, Japan), 2009-2013. Her PhD project was to characterize the Constitutively Active OsRac1 (CA-OsRac1), a master regulator in rice immunity, generated by homologous recombination. From 2015-2017, she then did her first postdoc in the lab of Plant Immunity Signaling, Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, China. There, she continued to study the down-stream regulator of OsRac1, called OsGAPC3, which plays an important role in NO-pathway and histone modification. From 2017 to 2020, she joined the Conserto team, INRAE, Angers for her second postdoc. The project focused on the identification of the protein network regulating ABI4, a transcription factor controlling seed chlorophyll content and longevity. Since October 2020, Thu joined the ENOD group to work on the “PIOSYM” ANR project aiming to evaluate the importance of NF-YA1 as a pioneer transcription factor regulating the formation of symbiotic nodules in Medicago.