The team "Molecular and Cellular Responses to Environmental Challenges" (RoDEo) aims to understand the control of tissue development and homeostasis under normal and disrupted conditions with special attention given to endocrine disruptors and stress

Activities in detail

Human activities have significant repercussion on biodiversity loss and human health. It was suggested that this new era should be called Anthropocene. The sustained impact of human societies leads to environmental changes such as the contamination by chemicals, the climate changes, the destruction / fragmentation of habitats or the disorganization of ecosystems by introduction of predators. The response capacity of habitats and species is therefore under strain. Depending the severity of the disturbance, targeted organisms will respond by disappearing or surviving. The success of this survival highly relies on adapting species to these changes and their new environment. The organisms will have to change their physiology toward a new equilibrium to adapt and thus remain functional. However, if the benefit of adaptation is survival, frequently it comes with a cost for the organism. Unfortunately, this cost can in a long run be detrimental to the organism and threaten its survival.

Our objective is to determine the physiological consequences of exposure to endocrine disruptors and environmental changes related to stress and life cycle transitions. This knowledge will make it possible to distinguish at the molecular, cellular and whole-body levels the beneficial processes of those who have unfortunate consequences for the organism during adaptation. In turn, this will provide arguments for making decisions about environmental and population protection (including human). Our approaches are thus transversals addressing at a first level the deciphering of the regulatory programs and molecular mechanisms induced by adaptation (effects on transcriptome, epigenome and 3D organization of the genome in the nucleus) and at a second level the organism plasticity with tissues remodeling and cell fate consequences of adaptation (effects on cell proliferation / differentiation / death, stemness, morphology, metabolism, comportment and locomotion). Furthermore, because the taxa should display common but also specific capacities of adaptation, our approaches will include comparative studies across vertebrates to highlight the convergence, the diversity and the dynamic of the regulatory program linked to adaptation.

Our work will mainly focus on a class of vertebrate close to mammals: the Amphibians. These non-amniotic tetrapods have a wide diversity of life cycles that include developmental transitions associated with a change of environment. In this context, they are strongly subject to environmental changes and have thus developed fantastic adaptation strategies. Nonetheless, despite their extended adaptive capacity, they remain highly sensitive and dependent to their environment. Currently, with the degradation of their ecosystems, the consequences of the maintenance of amphibian population are particularly severe and lead to speak of decline for this taxon.

The team will develop two axes of research:

  • Evolution of molecular control of life cycle transitions,
  • Impact of changes in ecosystems (endocrine disruption or stress) during life cycle transitions.

Our project is a fundamental research project that will produce large data set to understand living mechanisms from the molecular level to the organism level. Data integration will allow us to paid particular attention to biological disorders to suggest biomarkers and acts to prevent or to correct unwanted effects.

Composition of the team


Laurent SACHS, Director of Research, CNRS

Jean-Baptiste FINI (co-director) Professor, MNHN


Membres permanents

Muriel RIGOLET, Reseracher, CNRS

Nicolas BUISINE, Associate Professor, MNHN

Laurent COEN, Associate Professor, MNHN


Sébastien LE MEVEL, Ingineer, MNHN

Louise PERICARD, Technician, MNHN


Membres contractuels

Stephan COUDERQ, PhD student

Clelia GUITONNEAU, PhD student

Celia MARTI, PhD student

Elise PESCE, PhD student

Alicia TRIBONDEAU, PhD student


Published on: 31/10/2019 18:39 - Updated on: 20/10/2023 10:21