Bacterial Genome Plasticity unit
I'm a 4th year PhD student in the mazel's lab at the pasteur institute.
I'm mainly working on evolutionary aspect of integrons.
I'm basically interested in any evolutionary process.
From competiting chemical reaction to competition of idea, the very concept of natural selection provide an homogeneous conceptual framework to approach nearly every aspect of life.
Bacteria are very good models to study evolution mechanism experimentally : they are easy to manipulate (well established protocols and genetics), generation time is quite low (around 20 min. for E.coli during exponential growth) and high density of individuals can be obtained (typically 109 cells/mL). It is then somehow possible to test some theoretical predictions in the real world !
To me, it's very important to go back and forth from the bench to the computer : experimental work avoid one forgetting that everything 's not just so easy, while theory is ideas... and ideas are what make science going on !
I've been working for a while on the application, and to some extent on the theoretical aspects, of a principle to manipulate gene's evolvability. The paper Synonymous Genes Explore Different Evolutionary Landscapes is freely available in PLoS Genetics, feel free to leave a comment there. With financial support from the Pasteur Institute, we have patented both the idea and its embodiment as a software ressource (a description may be found here).
I am actually working on some evolutionary aspect of superintegrons. Superintegrons provide an impressive ressource for bacterial adaptation but little is really known on the dynamic of these specialized genetic element. We are now working on a very interesting discovery and the paper is about to be sent... I 've also started a collaboration with a good friend, Luis-Miguel Chevin who 's doing his PhD on very theoretical stuff. We're trying to modelize evolution of some superintegrons properties under fluctuating environment, which sounds promising.
Not educated yet !!!