Department of Analytical and Structural Chemistry and Biology

Presentation of the department

The department of Analytical and Structural Chemistry and Biology gathers several research themes in chemistry and biology and at their interface. We have well recognized expertise in NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, crystallography and mass spectrometry that we apply to structural biology, protein-ligand interactions to study of various samples.

Senior staff

Since 2012, Nadine Assrir is a scientist in Eric Guittet’s team. She received a master of toxicology (Paris Descartes) and completed a PhD in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology (Paris-Sud University) at the Institut Gustave Roussy. Her research projects focus on the relationship between structure and protein function including the impact of this relationship on the biological processes after post-translational modifications or molecular interactions. Currently, she is studying the impact of interactions of three proteins involved in cell proliferation, tumor reversion or cell motility, namely ErbB2, TCTP and iASPP. Her duties also include the co-management of the FRISBI platform (production of labelled proteins in eukaryotic cells). Nadine Assrir is also in charge of lessons in biochemistry, since many years, in the Bachelor and Master programs of the Versailles–St Quentin University.

François Bontems is a CNRS senior scientist (DR2). After his PhD on the structural organization of scorpion toxins in the Centre d’étude nucléaire de Saclay, he joined the NMR team led by Jean-Yves Lallemand at the Ecole polytechnique. He mainly worked on a system coupling RNA translation and inactivation during E. coli infection by the T4 phage (« S1-RegB » system). Then, he integrated the NMR group at ICSN and currently shares his time between this team and the Structural virology unit at Pasteur Institut. His present interests mainly concern the structural properties of the E and NS1 proteins of flaviviruses (yellow fever, dengue and Zika), which are the main targets of the immune system after an infection. In this aim, he developed and implemented at ICSN some tools allowing the labeling with stable isotopes of these proteins that can not be produced in E. coli and are generally expressed in insect or mammalian cells. In addition, he also organises colloquia devoted to science and society relationships and is responsible of a Pasteur course on the same topic. He is also member of the steering committee in charge of a Livre Blanc « society, higher education and research ».

Alda da Costa is secretary.

Nicolas Elie is assistant engineer at CNRS.

Jean-François Gallard is an NMR engineer.

Vincent Gandon is professor.

François Giraud is an NMR engineer.

Vincent Guérineau is engineer at CNRS

Carine van Heijenoort is a CNRS senior scientist. After studies in chemistry, she received her Ph.D. in 1994 in the group of Eric Guittet at the ICSN, with work on the characterization of internal flexibility of proteins by NMR. In 1999-2000, she went to Utrecht University as an invited scientist in the group of Rob Kaptein and Rolf Boelens where she explored her dutch roots and protein-protein interactions. Her research interests are focused on the characterization of multiple states of proteins and their link to function, with a particular interest on intrinsically disordered proteins and their interactions. She is currently coordinator of the department of Analytical and Structural Biology and Chemistry of ICSN. Outside the lab, Carine has three wonderful daughters, she actively practices horse riding, is fond of dogs, cats, music, reading and discussions with friends.

Bogdan Iorga is research associate at CNRS.

Eric Jacquet is CNRS research associate.

Ewen Lescop is a CNRS associate scientist. He received his Ph.D. at the ICSN in the group of Eric Guittet, with a work on a honeybee odorant-binding protein. He then performed postdoctoral research at Beijing University (2004-2006, C. Jin, China) and the Institute of Structural Biology (2006-2007, B. Brutscher). In 2007 he returned to the ICSN to develop NMR methods for proteins and study a variety of biological systems with structural-biology approaches. Outside the lab, Ewen is a keen and active player of traditional folk music, especially breton music, and he always likes a good meal and a drink.

Nelly Morellet is a research engineer (CNRS-IR1). She obtained her Ph.D. with Jean-Claude Beloeil in 1989 at the ICSN. From 1990 to 2010 she studied several viral proteins by NMR (VIH-1, SIV, Birnavirus, Rotavirus…) in the group of B.P Roques then D.Scherman at the School of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences in Paris. In 2010, she joined the BCS group at the ICSN. She is involved in several projects: antibiotic resistance (NDM-1 protein), transposases and domesticated transposases (PiggyBac and PiggyMac proteins), and Buruli ulcer (N-Wasp protein).

Annie Moretto is a CNRS technician.

Hristo Nedev is engineer at CNRS.

Pascal Retailleau is engineer at CNRS.

Christina Sizun completed a PhD in Chemical Physics in 2000 at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, where she was trained in NMR spectroscopy of catalytic systems. She then joined the group of Burkhard Bechinger at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried as a post-doc to work on solid state-state NMR of membrane peptides. After a second post-doc in the team of Erick Dufourc at the Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie in Bordeaux, she was recruited as a researcher in 2003 at the ICSN, where she developed her interest for structural biology by NMR. Her main focus is on the structure-function relationship of viral proteins (respiratory syncytial virus) as a member of a collaborative network including INRA and Institut Pasteur. She also participates to one of the projects dedicated to therapeutic targets in the frame of the LERMIT LabEx (modulators of the CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling axis). She is involved in teaching of biological NMR and biophysics in several university programs.

David Touboul is Assistant Researcher (CRCN) at CNRS since 2008. Former student of the Ecole Normale Superieur of Cachan, he obtained his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the Paris-Sud University (France) in 2006 under the supervision of Dr. Olivier Laprévote. He developed new methodologies for biological mass spectrometry imaging including MALDI-TOF and TOF-SIMS approaches. Then he moved at ETH Zurich (Switzerland) in the group of Prof. Renato Zenobi to study non-covalent complexes and gas-phase chemistry with the financial support of Novartis (Boston, USA). Back to ICSN since 2008, he first implemented new methodologies for the structural characterization of lipids, including membrane lipids or polyketides such as acetogenins in collaboration with Prof. Pierre Champy. He then moved to the structural characterization of complex natural extracts by the means of supercritical fluid extraction and chromatography (SFE and SFC) coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). He finally developed new software for natural substances annotation in collaboration with the group of Marc Litaudon at ICSN. In 2019, he will be the Head of the Mass Spectrometry Group at ICSN. He authored more than 110 peer reviewed publications and received special prizes (best thesis award from the French MS association in 2007, Journal of Mass Spectrometry prize in 2006, Bronze medal CNRS in 2014 and RCM Beynon prize in 2017).