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Microalgae epigenomics and interactions with the environment
Microalgae epigenomics and interactions with the environment

Group leader: Leila Tirichine-Delacour (Research director CNRS)

Members: François Delavat (MCU), Agnès Sebart-Groisillier (IR CNRS), Timothée Chaumier (Bioinformatician) , Xue Zhao (PhD student, CSC), Antoine Hoguin (PhD student, IBENS), Udita Chandola (PhD student, Région Pays de la Loire), Yue Wu (PhD student, CSC), Feg Yang (PhD student, CSC).

For job opportunities to join the lab, please contact Leila Tirichine ().


Marine microalgae are at the base of the food chain and are abundant and highly diverse in contemporary oceans. They are responsible of one fifth of the oxygen we breathe removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and therefore are crucial to our planet. Besides their ecological importance, they represent an enormous source of high value bioactive compounds for use in pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic and energy industries.

Despite their importance little is known about the molecular basis of their ecological success and the impact of modern oceans on their fate and evolution. We aim at understanding the molecular basis in particular epigenetic components including DNA methylation and Post translational modifications of histones in microalgae response to biotic and abiotic factors of their environment. We use multiscale approaches from the entire cell/genome to individual genes, together with integrative bioinformatics to understand the biology of the studied species/systems as whole. We focus particularly on diatoms, a dominant and highly diverse group of microalgae which belong to the Stramenopile lineage of life and use model species as well as state of the art molecular approaches to understand how diatoms cope with changes in abiotic factors. We use model and non-model species to understand how microalgae interact with microbes with a particular focus on diatom interactions with nitrogen fixing bacteria.

DAPI stained nuclei of Phaeodactylum tricornutum
DAPI stained nuclei of
Phaeodactylum tricornutum
Chaetoceros sp.
Chaetoceros sp.
Diatoms rich fraction sampled in the boothbay
Diatoms rich fraction sampled
in the boothbay of Maine (USA)
Ditylum sp.
Ditylum sp.
Guinardia sp.
Guinardia sp.
Epigenome browser.
P. tricornutum epigenome browser (click to enlarge)