Developmental biology laboratory

The Developmental Biology Laboratory (LBD) studies development at multiple scales, from the molecule to the organism. We use a variety of model organisms coupled with integrated, quantitative and interdisciplinary approaches.

The LBD builds on its long-standing expertise in many aspects of integrative developmental biology, using a wide variety of model organisms, including C. elegans, Drosophila, zebrafish, Xenopus, chicken, mice and plants. We also develop work on cell and tissue culture, organoids and organ-on chips. The LBD I firmly oriented toward an open, quantitative and interdisciplinary vision of our discipline. In this respect, our implantation within IBPS and in a multidisciplinary university campus is a strong asset. Research at the LBD develops around three strong axes.

Cell division and cell fate. We study the regulatory mechanisms involved in meiosis, fertilization and early steps of development. We address the mechanisms of stem cell emergence and maintenance, as well as those by which progenitor cells acquire their fate and differentiate into mature functional cells in many contexts: musculoskeletal system, hematopoiesis, kidney, nervous system, sensory organs. We study the reciprocal interactions between these stem cells with their microenvironment.

Biochemical and mechanical signaling. This theme includes the mechanisms of cell and tissue behaviour, intercellular communications, during tissue morphogenesis, organogenesis and tissue repair. Our department has a strong focus on the importance of mechanical forces in development. We study how physical forces and changes in cell or tissue mechanics contribute to development, and how the cells sense and respond to these physical forces.

Intrinsic and environmental regulation. Over the years, the epigenetic control of developmental processes and of trans-generational transmission of characters has become a major and strong research area in the LBD. It includes the study of small RNAs and their role in chromatin dynamics, the analysis of the intrinsic robustness of gene regulatory networks and chromatin regulation as well as their sensitivity to the environment, the study of transcription, RNA metabolism, translation and post-translational regulations.

Structure & Direction

The LBD harbours about 150 people, distributed in 17 research groups, 4 common services and 2 technological services. It is affiliated to Sorbonne Université and CNRS (as “Unité Mixte de Recherche”, UMR 7622). The LBD harbours the Inserm “Equipe de Recherche Labellisée” (ERL) U1156.

The LBD direction team is composed of:

  • Thierry Jaffredo (DR1 CNRS), director
  • Sylvie Schneider-Maunoury (DR1 Inserm), deputy director
  • Dominique Weil (DR1 CNRS), deputy director

The LBD belongs to the Institut de Biologie Paris Seine (IBPS), a research federation (FR3631) headed by Sylvie Schneider-Maunoury (DR1 Inserm), which gathers five research Units and a technological facility department.

Technological strengths

Model organisms are central to our work and their diversity is an asset of the laboratory. They include C. elegans, Drosophila, chick, mouse, zebrafish, amphibians (Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis) and plants. We develop state-of-the-art technologies specific for each model organism (in ovo electroporation, microsurgery, micromanipulation, cell transplantation, in vivo labelling, genome editing, etc.)

We also develop cell and explant culture, stem cell 2D and 3D differentiation, organoids and organ-on-chip approaches.

The LBD has a strong expertise in imaging, including live imaging and single molecule imaging on cells, organs and whole embryos and develops image analysis tools.

Our research increasingly relies on quantitative biology approaches, which include the acquisition and analysis of high-throughput data, quantitative cell imaging, and mathematical and physical modelling of developmental processes. For these approaches, we develop collaborations with physicists, mathematicians and informaticians.

We also have significant expertise in genome-wide approaches of developmental mechanisms and gene regulations using bulk and single cell transcriptomics, ChIP-seq, proteomics, and their bioinformatics analysis.

The LBD has two technological services open to internal and external users : “Laser microdissection platform and “Transgenesis and genome editing in zebrafish and amphibian models”.

The LBD has a collaborative functioning, with several shared laboratories and common equipment:

  • Fly room
  • Plant facility
  • L1 and L2 cell culture rooms
  • qPCR, Bioruptor, nanodrop, fluorescence microscopes, ultracentrifuges, etc.

The LBD is currently developing a shared, collaborative space for microfabrication and microfluidics, dedicated to the study of the environmental (physical and chemical) control of cells, tissues and organisms.

Translational, medical and societal impact

Being primarily involved in fundamental research, the LBD has also connections with translational and medical research, often in collaboration with clinicians or human geneticists. Our projects have implications in health at many levels, indicated below

  • Reproduction: aneuploidy, infertility

  • Genetic diseases and multifactorial:mitochondrial diseases, neurodevelopmental diseases and ciliopathies, kidney diseases, idiopathic scoliosis.

  • Tissue repair, regeneration: muscle and tendon repair, ex-vivo hematopoietic stem cell production and amplification
  • Cancer: leukemia

Our research also has potential applications in the domain of environment.

We are involved in applied research projects with private companies and food industry, as well as in the development of patents, which allows to rapidly exploit the data obtained in basic research. 

Central Services


Head : Isabelle Angelchic