DSM scientific themes aim to better understand the development of plants. Ultimately, this work will make it possible to define innovative strategies for improving plants for agriculture, the agri-food industry and also for non-food applications.
DSM department is composed of 9 teams whose research themes are articulated around the elucidation of the mechanisms that govern the development of plants, at different scales (nucleus, cell, organ, whole plant). Cellular processes such as division, differentiation and totipotency, as well as metabolism, are particularly studied. The signals involved in the control of these processes are also explored, in particular by the study of genetic, metabolic and hormonal regulation networks, mechanical stresses undergone by the cells, the physicochemical state of cell wall. The role of these signals in various developmental contexts and/or environmental constraints (abiotic and biotic) are studied. We are also proposing innovative strategies for statistical analysis and numerical modeling, particularly from image data, to analyze some of these complex mechanisms.
In a second step, understanding the mechanisms we are interested in will allow us to envisage a plant engineering aimed at optimizing plant functions of interest in agriculture and related domains (nutrition, materials, pharmaceuticals, ecosystem services, etc.).
Models, tools and methods
Different model species are used to answer our scientific questions: Arabidopsis thaliana, Brachypodium distachyon, Amaranthus, Camelina sativa…, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)…
We use classical approaches of genetics and functional genomics, supplemented by biochemistry, glycochemistry, analytical chemistry and cytology. « Omics » approaches (gene networks, lipidomics, oligolycomics), cell type specific omics CHIP-seq, RNA-seq, INTACT, single cell… are among the strategies that are used in the department.
Microscopy (classical or confocal) is largely used in the department: in 2D and 3D, and integrating time dimension (in relation with microfluidic techniques for instance).
We also use and develop methods in image processing and analysis, spatial statistics, computational modeling.
Societal and economical impacts
Possible output of our work is to offer innovative plant improvement strategies: modulation of plant architecture, improvement of regeneration and transformation techniques, obtaining plants / seeds more suited to agriculture (seeds with better nutritional quality), to the food and non-food industry.