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Romain Levayer,  PhD (group leader)

e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 37 76

Bio: I did my bachelor studies in the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. After a long hesitation between evolution, ecology and developmental and cell biology, a long internship working on C. elegans early development (in Pr. Seydoux lab, John Hopkins University) definitly pushed me toward cell and developmental biology side. My interest for quantitative approaches brought me to an interdisciplinary master (AIV, Paris) where I start being interested by morphogenesis. I then joined the laboratory of Thomas Lecuit (IBDM, Marseille, France) to start my PhD working on epithelial morphogenesis in early Drosophila embryo and the role of the modulation of cell-cell adhesion. I then moved to Switzerland in the group of Eduardo Moreno for my postdoc (IZB, University of Bern) working on cell competition. I will move back to Paris in December 2016 to start my research group in the Institut Pasteur.  You can find my CV here.

Scientific interests: Cell decision making, plasticity of living matter, morphogenesis, cell death, self organisation,  microscopy.

Hobbies: If time allow (in between lab time and child care time), I enjoy playing music (choir, piano, accordion), hiking (in any mountain I can find), reading and cooking.

Florence Levillayer  (lab manager)

e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 88 26

Bio: After obtaining my BTS (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur), I started to work for the VIRBAC Laboratory on a research project for industry, carried out in collaboration with the CNRS. 10 years later, I joined the Virology department of Institute Pasteur in the unit of Professor Michel BRAHIC, where under the supervision of Dr Jean-François BUREAU, I studied the genetic susceptibility of viral infection, more precisely the functional study of a locus of sensitivity for demyelinating disease induced by Theiler ‘s murine encephalomyelitis virus (a model of multiple sclerosis). In 2006, I joined the unit of Dr Marie-Annick BUENDIA, where I worked under the supervision of Dr Yu WEI where I studied the role of the FHL2 protein (a transcriptional coactivator) in various biological processes associated with hepatic tumorigenesis. Moreover, I worked on the validation of candidate genes in hepatocellular carcinoma (collaborative project with 16 European laboratories: MODHEP). I have now joined the LEVAYER Romain laboratory in the department of Developmental and Stem Cell Biology where I hope my experience in molecular biology for the construct of various tools could help for the research projects.


Scientific interests :

Hobbies : I like to read, to practice sport.

Léo Valon (post-doc)

e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 88 26

Bio: Physicist by formation, I have always been intrigued by the life of little critters of all kinds. I studied physics in the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, progressively transiting to biology. It happened through an internship with Guillaume Charras (UCL, London), pressing on top of single cell with an AFM and then with a Master degree called "Interface Physique Biologie". I finally jumped in biology through a PhD focused on the "Optogenetic control of cell polarity", keeping physics for quantitative analysis and modelling. During this PhD under the supervision of Mathieu Coppey and Maxime Dahan, I focused on understanding the sequence of events which leads to cell polarisation and to the initiation of cell migration. Then, I spent two years in Barcelona as a postdoc in the group of Xavier Trepat, where I developed optogenetic tools to control the amount of forces cells are exerting on their environment. Now, back in Paris, in Institut Pasteur, in the team of Romain Levayer, my goal is to correlate single cell deformation and initiation of cell death in vivo (in the Drosophila).

Scientific interests: From the day I read about Serengeti lions and wildbeast interactions I like dynamic systems, whether they are about proteins interactions, groups of cells or mammals. In my daily life in the lab, I like nice microscopy images and enjoy coding applied to image analysis and modelling. Let’s apply it to cell behavior and cell competition to understand their role tissue dynamic!

Hobbies: It seems I don't like to stay two feet on the floor. I like volleyball, rock-climbing, waterpolo, scubadiving and freediving. I also like to take picture, especially of insects or underwater creatures. 

Bio: After following a double cursus in bio-informatics during my first 2 years of bachelor, I switched to a biology cursus oriented in genetics and development. I was introduced to the drosophila model during my first internship in the team of Jean-Michel Gibert. During this internship at the IBPS I tried to analyse the regulation of the tan gene. I then followed a master called “Gene Cell and development” at the university of Paris-Saclay. I slowly leaned toward quantitative approaches and bio-imaging during my two years of master. Accordingly I got my first experience in microscopy in the lab of François Schweisguth in which I was analysing in vivo, in the drosophila eye, the signalling of Notch receptor. I pursue in that direction choosing the lab of Romain Levayer for my M2 internship. There I focus on understanding the orchestration of epithelial elimination by the effector caspase still using microscopy and coding. For that, I try to characterise the process of cell extrusion in the pupal notum and to decipher the steps affected by the caspase inhibition while trying to identify new caspases substrates required for cell extrusion.

Scientific interests: I am interested in how an organism, tissue or organ regulates its proper size and proportions and how homeostasis or the equilibrium between death and proliferation is maintained. More generally I’m interested in plasticity of living tissue and morphogenesis. I also like beautiful microscopy.

Hobbies : I love playing music in general but especially guitar. I enjoy playing basketball, occasionally running and reading.

Alexis Villars (M2 student)

e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 88 26

Bio: I am a developmental and evolutionary biologist interested in the explanation of morphological variation. The bottom line of my research is to understand how genes, cell behaviors and tissue mechanics interact to shape tissues during development, and how these interactions have evolved to generate natural morphological variation. I have enjoyed having a diverse range of research experiences which made me discover many nice countries. Past research experiences include: study of pollen morphological evolution and morphogenesis in flowering plants (PhD, Natural History Museum, Paris and University Paris-11); study of drosophila wing morphogenesis using numerical simulations with a vertex model (University of Barcelona, Florida State University and Cancer Research UK, London); study of drosophila wing shape variation during development (University of Helsinki); genetic bases of bristle number robustness and evolution in drosophila (Institut Jacques Monod, Paris). I am currently investigating the contribution of apoptosis to epithelial morphogenesis.


Scientific interests: epithelial biology and mechanics; evolution of morphology; morphogenesis; genetics; organ shape; modelling; phylogeny; morphometrics.

Hobbies: Sometimes, I escape from science by cooking, playing volley-ball, swimming, sailing and hiking.

Alexis Matamoro Vidal 


e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 88 26




Scientific interests:


Fabiana Cerqueira Campos


e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 88 26


Bio: I did my studies at the Ecole Normale Supérieure where I became fascinated with cell and developmental biology. My research interests became more precisely shaped through several research internships. I discovered tissue homeostasis regulation in the lab of François Schweisguth, where I worked on a Drosophila model of stem cell maintenance regulated by the cell microenvironment. I then wanted to gain more experience in stem cell biology in pathological conditions, such as cancer, by joining the lab of Cédric Blanpain in Brussels. For my PhD, I wanted to combine my previous research experience on tumor aggressiveness with an in vivo imaging approach of cancer invasion. This lead me to the lab of Danijela Matic Vignjevic at Institut Curie for a PhD in which I studied cancer cell migration and interaction with the microenvironment using the mouse intestine as a model. Towards the end of my PhD, I gained interest in quantitative approaches, tissue mechanics and epithelial homeostasis, and therefore I joined the lab of Romain Levayer for my post-doc, to study epithelial homeostasis and cell competition.      

Scientific interests: I am interested in cell-cell interactions, morphogenesis, tissue mechanics, homeostasis and tissue renewal. 

Hobbies: I love to unwind practicing martial arts and roller-skating. I also enjoy reading and doing photography of both urban landscapes and nature.   

Ralitza Staneva


e-mail :

phone : +33 1 40 61 88 26

Alumni :

- Christina Fissoun (summer rotation student)

- Lucia Rodriguez (summer M1 student)

- Kalina Belcheva (summer rotation student, Amgen programm, now involved in the PhD    programm of the Cornell University USA)

- Szuszanna Gere (rotation student, M2 AIV)

- Jakub Voznika (rotation student, M2 AIV)

- Titas Ancikevicius (summer rotation student, Amgen programm)

- Gaurav Shajepal (rotation student, M2 AIV)

- Delia Cicciarrelo (Erasmus student, Universita di Bologna)

- Mathilde Chouly (M1 student, currently in M2 in Laure Bally-Cuif lab)

- Anne Loap (L3 student, ENS/Medicine scholar)

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