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 About us 

the network on Developmental Biology at Sorbonne Université


History & future of the network



The research of developmental biology focuses on the fundamental principles that govern the development of animals: the cellular mechanisms that regulate meiosis, fertilization, the first embryonic divisions, the establishment of the axes of polarity and the phenomena of determination, differentiation and migration of cells during embryonic development. The University of Pierre and Marie Curie has a remarkable research potential in this area of expertise and consists of four campuses, the Jussieu campus and the three marine biology station Banyuls, Roscoff and Villefranche-sur-Mer. The lines of research pursued in the four sites are characterized by complementarity of themes, approaches (genetic, molecular, cellular and integrative) and also exceptional access to a wide range of experimental models.


The major constraint to the interactions between the developmental biology laboratories of the four sites is their geographical separation (Alpes-Maritimes, Brittany, Languedoc-Roussillon and Paris), which reduces the possibilities of encounter between different research groups and renders collaborations very costly. This has hindered transversal research initiatives between the different sites and has not been conducive for knowledge/people/equipment sharing.


The purpose of the André Picard Network, created in 2010, was to structure the discipline "Developmental Biology" within the UPMC by connecting the four geographically distant research sites (Jussieu campus in Paris and University marine stations in Roscoff, Banyuls-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer). The Network was initially created by Patrick Cormier (Roscoff) and Jean-Phillipe Chambon (Paris, Jussieu) with the support of Jean Chambaz (President, UPMC).  Its action has gradually extended with the inclusion of research groups from MNHN (the UMR Biology of aquatic organisms and ecosystems) and Paris Sorbonne (Group: Science, Norme, Decisions) and the active participation of Network members in the drafting of a LabEx (Laboratory of Excellence) application called Devonet. Gradually, the André Picard Network has extended its objectives to all researchers and Sorbonne University teacher-researchers interested in developmental biology and adjoining disciplines: Evolution & Development (Evo-Devo) and Ecology & Development (Eco-Devo) as well as the Philosophy of Biology and Mathematical approaches in Biology. The objective is that researchers gain a complete view of all the research projects developed by the teams within the network, enabling the emergence of collaborative projects and providing more exterior visibility.


In 2014, the André Picard Network was funded by the SATS-SU program which supports strategic projects involving two or more Sorbonne University institutions to optimize the organization, innovativeness and performance of particular fields of research. The Network was one of four candidates selected to receive funding. This funding has been extremely useful to support new collaborations between Network Laboratories.  In particular we would like to emphasize our investment in the younger members of the Network (Masters, PhD and Postdoctoral network members), e.g. we stipulate that approximately 1/3 of all presentations at the annual Network Meeting are from younger members of the Network.  This theme of focusing on the younger Network members runs throughout our funding strategy.

Who was André Picard


André Picard (1950-2004) was a cell and developmental biologist who used starfish oocytes. He was the creator and director of the UMR "Cellular Biology and Evolutionary Models" at the Arago Marine Station of Banyuls-sur-Mer. He also was the Research Director of the CNRS at the same lab and was awarded the Prix Foulon from the French Academy of Sciences in 2003.


During the mid-1980s, he published several papers which made an essential contribution to the ‘big bang’ of cell cycle research that started at the end of the 1980s, resulting in the 2001 Nobel Prize for Paul Nurse, Tim Hunt and Lee Hartwell.


His untimely death brought to an end his ground-breaking work, but his generosity and strong scientific aura internationally in the field of embryonic and meiotic divisions using marine models, especially the starfish, has naturally led to the use of his name for this scientific network.

Organizing committee


Bénédicte Charrier  DR CNRS, UMR8227, Station Biologique Roscoff

Stéphanie Bertrand  MC UMR 7232, Banyuls-sur-Mer

Carine Barreau  MC SU, UMR 7009, Villefranche-sur-Mer

Jean-Michel Gibert  CR CNRS, UMR 7622, Paris

Sébastien Darras  CR CNRS, UMR 7232, Banyuls-sur-Mer

Alexandre Alié  CR CNRS, UMR 7009, Villefranche-sur-Mer

Julia Morales  DR CNRS, UMR 8227, Station Biologique Roscoff

Michel Gho  DR CNRS, UMR 7622, Paris


Bénédicte Charrier  DR CNRS, UMR8227, Station Biologique Roscoff
Michel GHO  DR CNRS, UMR 7622, IBPS de Paris, Paris

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