Gael Cristofari INSERM Research Director

Course and current status

Research experience

2010-present

Founding member and group leader, IRCAN, Nice, France

Retrotransposons and genome plasticity in cancer and aging.

2007-2009

INSERM Research Scientist (CR1), Group of Pr Jean-Luc Darlix, INSERM, Virology Department, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France

Regulation of cellular and viral reverse transcriptases.

2002-2007

Post-doctoral training, Group of Pr Joachim Lingner, Swiss Institute of Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC), Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Swizerland.

Human telomerase and telomere homeostasis.

1999-2002

Undergraduate and graduate research in the lab of Pr Jean-Luc Darlix, INSERM, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France.

Molecular mechanisms of yeast retrotransposon replication.

Awards and Prizes

2009

Laureate of the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant)

2009

Laureate of the French National Academy of Medicine (Albert Sézary Prize)

2008

Awardee of the AVENIR program (INSERM, INCa), 3 initial years renewed for 2 years

2003-2004

EMBO long-term fellowship

2003

Jacques Piraud Prize, French Foundation for Medical Research (FRM)

2002

Short-term fellowship from the French Foundation for Medical Research (FRM)

2000

Lyon University Prize for master students (Prix des Amis de l’Université de Lyon)

1999-2002

Ph. D. fellowship Allocataire Moniteur Normalien

1995-1999

Studenship from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (Elève normalien).

Degrees and diplomas

2008

Degree to supervise research (HDR), Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France

2002

PhD in Life Sciences (highest honors), Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France

1999

MSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology (highest honors, ranked 1st out of 45), Univ. of Lyon & Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France

1999

Agrégation of Biochemistry and Biotechnology

1998

BSc in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Univ. of Lyon & Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France

 

Scientific summary

Scientific interest

Cancer, as well as normal and pathological ageing, are characterized by the accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations. Our main interest is to understand how mobile genetic elements contribute to these alterations, and what are the functional and physiological consequences of this form of (epi)genome plasticity.

Ten most significant publications (out of 27)

  1. Philippe C, Vargas-Landin DB, Doucet AJ, van Essen D, Vera-Otarola J, Kuciak M, Corbin A, Nigumann P, Cristofari G. Activation of individual L1 retrotransposon instances is restricted to cell-type dependent permissive loci. eLife. 2016. 5:e13926.
  2. Albrengues J, Bertero T, Grasset E, Bonan S, Maiel M, Bourget I, Philippe C, Herraiz Serrano C, Benamar S, Croce O, Sanz-Moreno V, Meneguzzi G, Feral CC, Cristofari G, Gaggioli C. Epigenetic switch drives the conversion of fibroblasts into proinvasive cancer-associated fibroblasts. Nat Commun. 2015. 6:10204. 
  3. Mir AA, Philippe C & Cristofari G. (2015) euL1db: the European database of L1HS retrotransposon insertions in humans. Nucleic Acids Res. 43(Database issue):D43-47.
  4. Monot C*, Kuciak M*, Viollet S, Mir AA, Gabus C, Darlix JL & Cristofari G. (2013) The specificity and flexibility of L1 reverse transcription priming at imperfect T-tracts. PLoS Genet. 9(5):e1003499.
  5. Goic B, Vodovar N, Mondotte JA, Monot C, Frangeul L, Blanc H, Dorey V, Vera-Otarola J, Cristofari G & Saleh MC. (2013) RNA-mediated interference and reverse transcription control the persistence of RNA viruses in the insect model Drosophila. Nat Immunol. 14:396-403.
  6. Sauerwald A*, Sandin S*, Cristofari G, Scheres SH, Lingner J, Rhodes D. (2013) Structure of active, dimeric human telomerase in complex with telomeric DNA. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 20:454-60.
  7. Cristofari G, Adolf E, Reichenbach P, Sikora K, et al. (2007) Human telomerase RNA accumulation in Cajal bodies facilitates telomerase recruitment to telomeres and telomere elongation. Mol Cell. 27:882-889.
  8. Cristofari G, Reichenbach P, Regamey PO, Banfi D, et al. (2007) Low- to high-throughput analysis of telomerase modulators with Telospot. Nat Methods. 4:851-853.
  9. Cristofari G & Lingner J. (2006) Telomere length homeostasis requires that telomerase levels are limiting. EMBO J. 25, 565-574.
  10. Cristofari G, Bampi C, Wilhelm M, Wilhelm FX & Darlix JL. (2002) A 5'-3' long-range interaction in Ty1 RNA controls its reverse transcription and retrotransposition. EMBO J. 21:4368-4379.
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