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Discover here the 12 speakers of the congress. You will find a biography of each participant, as well as useful information.



Genetics & Reproduction

X-chromosome reprogramming in mouse germ cells and early embryos

Institute of Molecular Genetics, Montpellier - UMR5535

Epigenetic Reprogramming and Development Team


In my group, we investigate X-chromosome reactivation during the specification of the germline. This reprogramming pathway is a paradigm of epigenetic resetting and fine gene-regulation control.


During my doctoral work (2006-2010) with Luisa Dandolo in the Cochin Institute (Paris, France), I studied the role of the imprinted Igf2 / H19 locus during embryogenesis. My main achievement was to reveal that MyoD (master transcription factor for myogenesis), Igf2 and H19 participate in a gene network that is essential for skeletal muscle development and brown adipose tissue.

I then performed a postdoc (2011-2015) on another epigenetic mechanism: X-chromosome inactivation in the laboratory of Edith Heard (Institut Curie, Paris). I aimed at resolving the chromosome-wide dynamics of X-linked gene inactivation in early mouse embryos. For this purpose, I pioneered allele-specific single-cell RNA sequencing and discovered that the absence of X-chromosome inactivation leads to dosage compensation failure and lack of activation of the extra-embryonic lineages at the blastocyst stage. At this stage, the inactive X-chromosome immediately undergoes a reverse process of inactivation in the cells that give rise to the embryo proper - the inner cell mass. Very little was known about this early reactivation phase. Using state-of-the-art in vivo single-cell approaches - allele-specific RNAseq and nascent RNA-FISH - I revealed the temporal and locus-specificity of X-linked gene reactivation.

At the end of my postdoctoral study in the Heard laboratory, I was fascinated by the cycle of X-chromosome inactivation and reactivation in the germline and the early embryo. I then contacted Azim Surani (University of Cambridge, UK), who is a pioneer in the germ cell field, to join his laboratory (2015-2018). I studied the X-linked gene reactivation in female primordial germ cells and showed that X-chromosome reactivation kinetics are very different in mouse germline compared to the inner cell mass of the embryo. My previous studies highlight the fact that X-linked gene reactivation kinetics are intrinsic to the cell state ie, the pluripotent inner cell mass or the very specific context of the germ cells. This led to my recruitment as a research scientist in the CNRS and opens the path of my actual scientific interest, leading me to raise the following questions: how can the silent state of a gene, fixed at an earlier stage, be revoked? Does an epigenetic memory of the silent state exist and what mechanisms are involved in overriding it? What are the consequences of a defective X-chromosome reprogramming for the formation of the germline and the development of the progeny?


To resolve these fundamental questions, the team “Epigenetic Reprogramming and Development” will open at the Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier (IGMM, UMR5535), in December 2020 with the support of the FRM Amornement Jeunes Equipes and the ATIP-AVENIR program.

Thierry charlier

Neurobiology & Reproduction

Effects of endocrine disruptors on maternal behavior and associated neuroplasticity

Thierry Charlier earned his PhD from the University of Liege, Belgium in 2005 and performed a postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. In 2012, he first held a position of Assistant Professor at Ohio University (USA) and was chair a of the Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate school. In Fall 2014, he was hired as full professor at the University of Rennes1 (France) to head a group that includes 4 associate professors and a full-time permanent lab manager, currently within team 6 (TrEC) at IRSET (Institut de Recherche en Health, Environment and Work). He was recently appointed Scientific director of a screening platform ( ImPACcell ). His research is currently focusing on defining how the exposure to environmental chemicals during critical windows of development has long term effects on the physiology (more particularly steroid dependent neuroplasticity) and behavior. The techniques used in the lab range from molecular biology and biochemistry to immunohistochemistry and behavior, using zebrafish, birds and rodents as models. Dr Charlier has published around 60 peer-reviewed articles (H-index: 29) and was invited to numerous national and international seminars and conferences. His research was performed in numerous laboratories in several countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada and USA) and funded by several agencies (French ANR, Belgian FNRS-FRS, Canadian CHIR, International Brain Research Organization). Dr Charlier is also a member of the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (Environment and Health, since 2020), The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC, DG1502) and the Advisory Board of the American Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology.


Sébastien ELIS

Toxicology & Reproduction

Bisphenols: endocrine disruptors affecting the functioning of the ovary

Dr Sebastien Elis became a doctor in Pharmacy in 2004 after which he defended a PhD in Reproductive Biology in 2007 on the oocyte competence. He went to New York in 2008 to start a postdoctoral study in endocrinology. He currently works in INRAE (Nouzilly, France) for 11 years, in the UMR Physiology of Reproduction and Behaviors. He is the team leader of the Gonad Integrative Biology team (BINGO: ). He investigates the interactions between metabolism and reproduction. He developed this theme by focusing on how lipid metabolism can modulate ovarian functioning in dairy cows. He now works on environmental factors, including endocrine disruptors (ie bisphenols), and studies whether endocrine disruptors can odd the metabolism / ovarian interactions in both human and ovine models.


Innovations & New technologies in reproductive biology

CRISPR / Cas9-mediated gene editing in the human germline: continue or not?

Principle Investigator, Ghent-Fertility and Stem cell Team (G-FaST), Department for Reproductive Medicine, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, BELGIUM.

Professor at Ghent University.

University: UGent: PhD Medical Sciences (13th March 2006), Thesis: “Experimental contribution to infertility research: artificial gametes and assisted oocyte activation”, Promoter: Prof. Dr. Marc Dhont / Prof. Dr. Josiane Van der Elst, Infertility Center, Ghent University Hospital.

Direct supervision of 16 finished PhDs. Currently promoter of 10 PhD students, 1 post-doc. National Representative Belgium for ESHRE / Co-founder of the Belgian Society for Stem Cell Research (BeSSCR) / Board Member of the Belgian Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Author and co-author of 103 A1 publications.

In addition to this, you need to know more about it.

Main topics of research : Lineage segregation during early embryo development in mouse and human / Investigating different pluripotency states of embryonic stem cells in mouse and human / Failed fertilization after ICSI & the oocyte activation mechanism / Nuclear Transfer to overcome mitochondrial diseases and Infertility / Gene editing in the mouse and human germline



Species preservation

Oocyte preservation in feline species


Department of Reproduction Biology

Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research

Humboldt-University Berlin, Faculty of Life Science

Berlin, Germany


Dr. Katarina Jewgenow is the head of the department Reproduction Biology and the deputy director of Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW), Germany's primary institution for biodiversity and conservation research. In addition, she is appointed as a Professor at Humboldt-University Berlin, faculty of life science. Dr. Jewgenow's research aims on reproduction biology of wildlife animals, with emphasis on carnivores. In particular, she focuses on cryopreservation of genetic resources, gametogenesis in mammals, non-invasive monitoring of hormones and contraception of wildlife and feral animals. She published more than 150 articles and 5 book chapters.

Matthew KELLER

Neurobiology & Reproduction

Male sexual behavior manages the female reproductive function

I'm CNRS researcher working in the field of behavioral neuroendocrinology. I 'received my PhD on the neurobiology of maternal behavior in sheep in 2003. I then joined the laboratory of Jacques Balthzart, University of Liège, Belgium, to work under the supervision of Julie Bakker on the neuroendocrine and olfactory control of sexual behavior in mice . I was recruited as CNRS researcher in 2006 in the laboratory of behavioral and reproductive physiology in Nouzilly. I'm the head of the Neuroendocrinology of Sexual Interactions group since 2013. In this group, we explore the neuroendocrine and sensory basis of social reproductive behavior in various mammalian species and using a range of approaches including molecular and cellular biology, neuroanatomy, imaging and behavior.



Toxicology & Reproduction

Exposure of human fetal gonads to exogenous compounds: what is the frontier between toxicity and endocrine disruption?

Dr. Séverine Mazaud-Guittot is a senior scientist at Irset (Institute for Research in Health, Environment and Work). During her PhD in Paris and thereafter, she has gained expertise on the impact of the environment on the differentiation of the ovary and adult reproductive female health in the rat, after exposure to irradiation during fetal life or to estrogens in newborns. Since 2010, Dr. Mazaud-Guittot has been intensively involved in working with human fetal samples. She is an experienced project leader responsible for several research projects and work packages including ex vivo studies on endocrine disruptors on both human testis and ovaries. She is an experienced reproductive biologist with a particular expertise in developmental biology including gonad differentiation in normal and pathological conditions, with short-, mid- and long term effect analyzes. She has expertise in organotypic cultures for different species, and since the last 10 years, she set up this technique for several human fetal organs (testis, ovary, kidney,…) for toxicological and studies.

Vincent PREVOT

Neurobiology & Reproduction

Puberty, sexual attraction and metabolism: a role for GnRH neuronal migration?

My postdoctoral work in the laboratory of S. Ojeda at the Oregon National Primate Research Center / Oregon Health & Science University, USA, continued the study of neuronal and glial plasticity in the GnRH system, crucial for the onset of puberty and adult fertility, that I initiated for my doctorate under J.-C. Beauvillain at the University of Lille, France. These studies have led and continue to lead to many seminal contributions and groundbreaking concepts in our understanding of the central control of mammalian reproduction. Following my postdoctoral training, I returned to France to take up a tenured Associate Researcher position at the Inserm in 2002, establishing an independent research group at Lille. In 2006, I became head of the “Development and Plasticity of the Postnatal Brain” Inserm laboratory at Lille, which currently includes 42 researchers, clinicians, postdoctoral fellows, Ph.D. students and technicians. I was officially promoted to the rank of Research Director in January 2009. My current research focuses on Systems Neuroscience and Neuroendocrinology, in particular the brain circuits that control reproduction and metabolism and the neural pathways through which they respond to peripheral information. I participate in and have served on the Executive Committees of several learned societies, and currently hold the position of President of the International Federation of Neuroendocrinology, Treasurer of the French Brain Council and Past President of the French Society for Neuroendocrinology as well as Past Treasurer of the French Neuroscience Society and the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS).



Genetics & Reproduction

Reproduction and immune system interactions to better understand epigenetic mechanisms in fish

Laia Ribas is a Ramon y Cajal researcher at the Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC) in Barcelona at the Group of Biology of Reproduction. She studies the effects of environmental factors on the sexual phenotype focusing on the interaction of the reproductive and immune systems. She is interested in identifying molecular (epi) marks that modulate gene expression, metabolites and genetic inheritance. Her scientific career is based on fish physiology, reproduction, stress and immunology, using genomic, transcriptomic and epigenetic approaches.

Guillaume RICHER

Innovations & New technologies in reproductive biology

Testis modeling: towards the generation of testicular organoids

Guillaume Richer graduated in Biomedical Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Brussels, Belgium). In August 2018, he started a PhD at the Biology of the Testis lab under guidance of Prof. Goossens and Prof. Baert. His PhD research focusses on the development of artificial testis for in-vitro spermatogenesis. Recently, he became a board member of the Network for Young Researchers in Andrology (NYRA), committed to establish global networks between young scientists in testicular research.


Francois VIALARD

Genetics & Reproduction

Genetics of azoospermias

Innovations & New technologies in reproductive biology

Ex-utero pregnancy: study model and therapeutic application

Pharmacist and Geneticist, the Professor François Vialard is the head of the Department of Genetic in the Poissy-St Germain hospital. He is also in charge of the Histology and Embryology teaching program in the medical university of Saint Quentin en Yvelines. Head of the “Human reproduction and animal models” team in the UMR-BREED (Head Pascale CHAVATTE-PALMER), François Vialard has expertise in reproduction and genetics and signed a large number of papers on this topic.

Currently, his researches are focusing in 3 majors topics:

1- genetic of azoospermia and he tries to implement a strategy, in France, to take in charge the patients, collaborating with a large number of specialists on spermiology, anatopathology and research.

2- Time lapse system to evaluate embryo development during in vitro fertilization

3- Therapy in Down syndrome to reduce the 3rd chromosome 21 impact on brain.

He is also a member of the executive committee for the French research group on reproduction (GDR-Repro), general secretary of the French society of reproductive medicine ( and president of the association of French-speaking cytogeneticists (



Species preservation

European Breeding Programs

Michel Saint Jalme is Lecturer at the National Museum of Natural History. Director of the Menagerie, the zoo of the Jardin des Plantes, he is also a member of the CESCO, Center for Ecology and Conservation Sciences. His research and teaching activities are at the interface of Conservation Biology and Behavioral Ecology. The majority of his work is applied to the ex-situ conservation of animal populations and reintroductions.

His career can be summarized as follows: after a PhD in Biology at the University of Rennes 1, he worked for 7 years as a researcher at the National Wildlife Research Center in Taif, Saudi Arabia, then at the Emirates Center for Wildlife Propagation on the reintroduction of animals including the Houbara bustard. Recruited at the Museum as a Lecturer in 1998, he was first assigned to the Zoological Park of Clères in Seine Maritime before joining the Jardin des Plantes in 2005.

He is the author of numerous scientific publications.



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