Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry Department

Presentation of the department


The department of Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry gathers several research themes along two transversal axes: molecules from natural sources and novel therapeutic agents. The first axis includes the isolation, the synthesis and the study of the properties of natural compounds from various sources (marine wildlife, plants, micro-organisms) in a double context of valorization (pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agrochemicals…) and better knowledge (chemical ecology, inter-organisms interactions…). The second axis aims at developing new therapeutic molecules for various applications such as antiparasitic, antibacterials, antifungi or anticancer agents.

Permanent staff

Ali Al-Mourabit is Research Director DR1 and head of the “Marine metabolites: isolation, synthesis and bioactivity” team.
– Education : Organic and Bioorganic Chemistry
– PhD : Paris XI University, France (Isolation of Marine Bioactive Metabolites and Total Synthesis)
– Post-Doc : Leibniz University Hannover, Germany, AvH-Stiftung (Total Synthesis)
– Habilitation (HdR) : Paris XI University (Paris Saclay), France (Isolation of Marine Natural Products, Biomimetic Synthesis and Valorization)

Cécile Apel graduated from the Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine (ENSAIA). In 2008 she was appointed as a natural product chemist at the CNRS-ICSN for isolation and identification of secondary metabolites from plants. In 2013 she went to Dublin (UCD, Agriculture and Food Science Centre) where she worked on recovery of valuable compounds from food waste. In 2015 she came back to the ICSN as an engineer where she works on research projects in metabolomic and phytochemistry.

Sandra Beaupierre is an engineer in organic synthesis.

Sandy Desrat is a chemical engineer from the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Mulhouse (ENSCMu). He obtained his Ph.D. in 2010 from Rennes 1 University under the supervision of Pierre van de Weghe after dealing with the total synthesis of a lichenic natural compound. Later on, he joined the laboratory of Pr. William B. Motherwell in University College of London (UCL) for one year before working in the team for more than 2 years on the pharmacomodulation and the biomimetic synthesis of natural compound analogues. After an other Post-Doc experience in the group of Francine Acher with Dr. Nicolas Pietrancosta in Paris Descartes University in 2014, he worked as a project manager in NovAliX pharma, Madrid for 10 months. In 2015, he joined the CNRS as a researcher to work on the synthesis of natural bioactive compounds.

Vincent Dumontet is a Pharmacist and Doctor of the University Paris V René Descartes – PhD defended in 2000 under the direction of Thierry Sévenet and Françoise Guéritte. He joined the CNRS in 2000 as a Research Engineer at the ICSN in Thierry Sévenet, Françoise Guéritte and Daniel Guénard team, and worked on plant crop programs and research projects in phytochemistry on endemic plants (New Caledonia, Vietnam, Madagascar, Uganda). He received an HDR in November 2014. Since December 2014, he is responsible for the Laboratory of Medicinal Plants of Noumea, the advanced antenna of ICSN in New Caledonia, where he implements link research with the Department of Natural Products and Medicinal Chemistry.

Véronique Eparvier is graduated with two Master’s degrees: Sciences of Agro-resources (National Polytechnic Institute of Toulouse), and Anthropology (Laboratory of Human Ecology and Anthropology, Aix-Marseille III University) and since 2005 with a PhD, specialty “Chemistry of Natural Substances” from the National Museum of Natural History, thesis obtained under the direction of Françoise Guéritte and Thierry Sévenet at the ICSN. In 2006, she joined the CNRS-Guyane as a Research Engineer to set up the program “Chimiodiversity of the French-Guiana Flora “. She was recruited at the CNRS-Guyane in 2008. She joined the ICSN in 2011 where she participates in the development of research programs on symbiotic microorganisms and developed a strain library. She received an HDR in October 2013.

Catherine Guillou studied Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry at Pierre et Marie Curie University (Paris VI). She received her PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Paris Sud (Orsay) under the supervision of Pierre Potier and C. Thal in 1991. After a post-doctoral training with C. Mioskovski and J.P. Lellouche (CEA, Saclay), she was appointed CNRS researcher at the Institute de Chimie des Substances Naturelles in Gif-sur-Yvette in 1993. She was promoted Research Director DR2 in 2004 and DR1 in 2018. Her research focuses on the development of new methodologies, their application to the total synthesis, biological studies of natural products and the design of enzyme inhibitors involved in cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Marc Litaudon received his Pharmacy degree in 1982 (Faculty of Pharmacy of Paris XI), and started a scientific career in Clinical Pharmacology as “Interne des Hôpitaux de Paris” and Clinical Research Pharmacist. In 1991, he received his PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Marine Chemistry Department at the University of Canterbury (NZ). In 1994, he joined the CNRS as a Research Engineer, and served in New Caledonia for 6 years as Head of “Laboratory of Medicinal Plants”. In 2001, he joined the ICSN, and since then, he is responsible for the management, valorisation, and scientific development of the “ICSN Extract Library”, the largest collection of natural extracts of the French public research body.

Céline Moriou-Chesné is a chemist laboratory technician in the group since 2006. She first worked in synthesis of marine metabolites and derivatives. Since 2010, she shifted to the isolation and characterization of secondary metabolites from marine sponges.

Fanny Roussi is a pharmacist and completed a PhD in Organic Synthesis in Henri-Philippe Husson’s group (Paris Descartes University). Later on, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow in Jack Baldwin’s group at Oxford University, on the biomimetic synthesis of a family of natural compounds. In 2001, she joined the CNRS as a researcher. In 2003, she joined Thierry Sévenet, Françoise Guéritte and Daniel Guénard’s group to work on the synthesis of bioactive natural compounds before becoming a senior researcher and team leader since September 2013.

Sylviane Thoret is an assistant engineer in organic synthesis.