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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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SPS - Saclay Plant Sciences

Portrait

3 questions to Benoît Castandet
Benoit Castandet

Benoît Castandet is an Assistant Professor at the Paris-Diderot University and develops his research at the Institute of Plant Sciences of Paris-Saclay (IPS2, Orsay). After defending his PhD in 2010 at the University of Bordeaux 2 he became a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Prof. David Stern at the Boyce Thompson Institute, an independent affiliate of Cornell University (Ithaca). He was recruited to the “Organellar gene expression” team of IPS2 in October 2017.

1) What are your current research themes?

My research focuses on the gene expression of the two organelles performing cellular respiration and photosynthesis, the mitochondrion and the chloroplast. A plant cell is the result of billion years of co-evolution between three different genetic compartments, the nucleus, the mitochondrion and the chloroplast. A consequence of this co-evolution is that organelle physiology now requires the coordinated expression of proteins encoded both in the nuclear and organellar genomes. My aim is to understand how this coordination is achieved by the plant cell and how it is regulated (if indeed it is!). To do so, I use plants at different developmental stages or under various stresses along with a combination of genomics, bioinformatics and statistics. The goal is to identify genes and proteins involved in organelle biology and the main regulatory factors involved in the coordination of gene expression between the cell compartments.

2) Why did you choose plants as your research subject?

I did not really choose plants, they just became obvious to me. To be honest, the evocation of the thale cress never brought any stars in my eyes.  I was just really interested in organellar genomes and plants have two of them. Plus, their genome is far more complex and interesting than the dismal animal mitochondria one (at least in my mind!).

3) What is the place of plant sciences in your teaching?

I’m an assistant professor in plant physiology so, as you can guess, plant science is predominant in my teaching! It’s true that too often classes are almost exclusively illustrated with examples coming from animals. Part of my role is to convince students that plants are living organisms just like any other.