Jean-Marc Verbavatz Professor in Cell Biology

Course and current status

2013- Group leader “Membrane Dynamics and Intracellular Trafficking", Institut Jacques Monod (IJM), Paris France.
2013- Full Professor, Université de Paris, Life Sciences Dept.
2016- Coordinator, Imagoseine imaging core facility, IJM/Université de Paris, Paris, France
2009-2015 Group leader Electron Microscopy, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (MPI-CBG) Dresden, Germany.
2003-2009 Team leader "Cellular and Molecular Imaging", CEA-Saclay, France.
1994-2003 principal investigator at CEA-Saclay, Department of Biology, France.
1991-1994 post-doctoral fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Renal Unit - Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
1990 PhD in life sciences (Cell Biology). Université Pierre & Marie Curie (Sorbonne University), Paris, France.

Scientific summary

Eukaryotic cells are characterized by their internal membrane compartments. In order for the cell to function as a whole, the various membrane-bound organelles, including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi apparatus, endosomes, lipid droplets, and mitochondria, as well as the plasma membrane communicate through vesicular and non-vesicular trafficking (Jackson, Walch and Verbavatz, 2016; Kaczmarek, Verbavatz and Jackson, 2017; Jackson 2019). In vesicular trafficking, vesicles are transported from one compartment to their target, whereas non vesicular trafficking occurs at sites of close contact between organelles, named membrane contact sites (MCS), where the membranes of both organelles come together at a distance of 10-30 nm without fusing. Lipids can be transported by both vesicular and non-vesicular routes, but maintenance of the lipid composition of membranes requires lipid transfer at MCS (Jackson, Walch and Verbavatz, 2016). Disruption of lipid and vesicular trafficking pathways leads to various human pathologies such as cancer, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases, and these pathways are also subverted for the propagation of numerous viruses, including Hepatitis C and SARS-CoV-2.

Our group at Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, is using a multidisciplinary approach consisting of advanced imaging (light and electron microscopy, live cell imaging), biochemical approaches and proteomics analyses, to explore the physiological functions of ER–organelle membrane contact sites in fundamental processes such as cell division, cell migration and cel polarity.


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