Our research group is located at the the Genoscope-CEA, the french national genomics center, which is part of the Genopole in Evry, France. We are affiliated with the Université de Paris Saclay system and have had students from the Université d'Evry, AgroParisTech, Université de Lyon, and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie.

Precision fermentation for renewable biochemicals and improved health

Advances in systems biology and microbial engineering promise to revolutionize medicine, agriculture, and production of renewable energy. Our research focuses on developing these technologies to study and engineer fermenation by a group of bacteria with important roles in environmental and human health, the clostridia. These gram-positive anaerobes are dominant members of the human gut microbiome (El Kaoutari et al, 2013), which ferments indigestible plant fiber to provide 5-10% of calories (McNeil, 1984) and protects against ailments such as inflammatory bowel and Crohn's disease. As such, Clostridia are gut microorganisms that interact with the human host in ways that are mutually beneficial, thereby enhancing our genetic and metabolic attributes. Clostridia also contribute significantly to recycling of plant biomass in soil, a key part of the global carbon cycle that balances atmospheric CO2. As humans currently only use 2% of cellulosic biomass (Pauly & Keegstra, 2008), it is a vast potential industrial feedstock and clostridia are top candidates to transform biomass into fuels and commodities (Lynd et al, 2002). Our goals are to create new approaches to study these bacteria and translate this knowledge into useful applications in medicine, environmental management, and renewable energy.

Selected publications

Systems Biology

Genome Engineering