I started my career by a training in flavor science and industry at the ISIPCA in Versailles and an industry experience as a sensory analyst in the Bel group. Attracted by understanding the mechanisms involved in the sense of smell, I decided to reorient towards academic research in 2012.
I got my Ph.D. in 2015 in computational chemistry at Université Côte d’Azur (FR) where I investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in odorant receptor recognition of odorant molecules thanks to molecular modelling protocols.
In 2016, I joined the Matsunami lab at Duke University (NC, USA) to continue studying how odorant receptors are used to trigger an odor percept but on the bench side. I acquired new skills in receptor biology and GPCR functional expression and installed molecular modelling expertise to study OR function, evolution, and expression in international collaborations. In 2020, I received the NIH award K99/R00 (15% success rate), supporting my own postdoctoral research (K99) and the opening of my laboratory in the US (R00). We obtained the first structure of mammalian ORs in collaboration with Pr. Hiroaki Matsunami (Duke), Dr. Aashish Manglik (UCSF) and Pr. Nagarajan Vaidehi (City of Hope).
In spring 2022, I obtained a permanent position as CNRS Assistant professor and joined in December 2022 the Department of Analytical and Structural Chemistry and Biology at the Institute of Chemistry of Natural Substances.
My research is transdisciplinary as it combines in silico and in vitro methods from molecular modeling, machine learning, sequence analysis, protein engineering, functional assay, or cell surface expression evaluation. They are all used to understand the complexity of odor perception at the molecular level.
I hope to help elucidate our body’s strategy for perceiving its volatile environment. This includes establishing the link between the chemical structure of an odorant molecule, the biological processes involved, and the sensation it causes. I am also particularly interested in investigating the molecular role of evolutionarily conserved amino acid patterns in odorant receptors and how that defines their identity and structure within the GPCR family.
Kentaro Ikegami#, Claire A. de March# et al. « Structural instability and divergence from conserved residues underlie intracellular retention of mammalian odorant receptors. » Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117.6 (2020): 2957-2967.
- Principal investigator, ANR JCJC, “WhoNose”, 2023-2027
- Principal investigator, University Paris Saclay GS Chimie Emergence, “Chemical probe for polyvalent odorant receptors’ function”, 2023-2024
- Principal investigator, HORIZON-MSCA-2021-PF, « ExpressOR », 2022-2024, declined
- Principal investigator, NIH K99/R00DC018333, Understanding of G protein-coupled odorant receptors function, K99 Feb2020-Feb2022, realized / R00 2022-2025, declined
- Fellow, Bill, and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Electrosmell”, PI: H. Matsunami, 2017-2018
- Fellow, NIH R01 DC016224, PI: H. Matsunami, 2017-2022
- Fellow, NIH R01:DC014468, PI: T. McClintock, 2015-2020
- Fellow, NFS-ANR, PI: H. Matsunami, US-France Research Proposal, 2015-2018
|Duke University||Weizmann Institute of Science|
|University of California San Francisco||Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology|
|City of Hope|
|University of Kentucky|
|University of Alaska Fairbanks|
Shirine Uddin – 2023
Trainee L2 Chemistry – University Paris Saclay
Laure Davias – 2023
Trainee engineer Biotechnology and Chemistry 1 – Cergy Paris University