Tribute to Yann Gohon at SUM2024

18th SOLEIL USERS' Meeting

Yann Gohon, a lecturer at AgroParisTech and the IJPB, passed away suddenly in November 2023 at the age of 53. A tribute will be paid at the 18th SOLEIL Users' Meeting (SUM2024) by Frédéric Jamme, Synchrotron SOLEIL, Thierry Chardot, leader of the "Dynamics and Structure of Lipid Bodies " DYSCOL team, of which he was a member, and Marine Froissard, member of the "Design, Engineering, Compartmentalization of Lipid Metabolism" DIPOL team, who conducted research in close collaboration with him.

Holder of a DEA in Molecular Biophysics (1996), he worked on membrane proteins, their structure, and their solubilization by amphiphilic polymers (Amphipols) under the supervision of J.-L. Popot at the Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology (IBPC, CNRS, Paris 5th), where he defended his thesis in 2002. After a postdoctoral position, Yann then applied his expertise to the 2D electrophoresis of membrane proteins (Fixed-term contract at Sanofi-Aventis, IBPC). Following the award of a Île-de-France / ParisTech regional scholarship (2005), he joined the DYSCOL team in Grignon. He later became a lecturer in Biochemistry at AgroParisTech in 2009 and obtained his Habilitation to Direct Research in 2019.

His unique skills in solubilizing highly hydrophobic proteins led to significant advancements in an emerging field, the structural biology of lipid droplets. This included the solubilization of oleosins, plant proteins with low solubility that stabilize lipid droplets in plants, using Amphipols. Yann then developed numerous multi-scale approaches, mostly based on beamlines from various synchrotrons, including SOLEIL (France), Elettra (Italy), and Alba (Spain), contributing to pushing the boundaries of structural knowledge on lipid droplets in different biological models (plants, microorganisms, etc.). He had also been training for several years in Omics (lipidomics, proteomics). He was one of the scientists who successfully utilized the largest number of beamlines at SOLEIL. He published dozens of scientific articles (e.g., IJPB news 04/05/20). His teaching qualities also allowed him to mentor and guide numerous students, both at AgroParisTech and within the laboratory, on structural biology projects related to lipid droplets. Thus, Yann contributed to the supervision of several PhDs.

Yann was always involved in the collectives to which he belonged. He was a member of the Biology - Health Program Committee of the SOLEIL synchrotron (appointed), a member of the user committee (elected), and also a member of the scientific council of INRAE users of SOLEIL (appointed). He was a member of the French Biophysical Society and the Membrane Study Group GDR, since 2012, a CNRS research group. He was elected to the Council of Teachers and was a member of the CEVE (Council of Education and Student Life) at AgroParisTech. He was also an elected member of the National Commission of Teacher-Researchers (CNECA) under the Ministry of Agriculture and a member of the Tenure Committee for lecturers. Yann had recently accepted the responsibility of heading the Biochemistry and Structural Biology UFR (department) BBS at AgroParisTech.

Yann was a father of three children and recently became a grandfather. A man of culture and a loyal friend, he loved extensive travels, cooking, good wines, singing in a choir, and informal scientific discussions during cigarette breaks. Smiling, discreet, sometimes grumpy, passionate about science, computing, and instrumentation, he never hesitated to get involved in scientific collectives with bold research projects. He will be greatly missed by those who knew him and who will be committed to perpetuating the research work he initiated.

Yann Gohon among the members of the "Dynamics and Structure of Lipid Bodies " DYSCOL team

Yann Gohon with Maria de Lourdes Tovilla Coutiño in experimentation at the Synchrotron SOLEIL. Maria was a PhD student supervised by Yann on the PREMIUM project (Preserving bacteria with oligosaccharides and eco-friendly processes) until 2022.

Tribute to Yann Gohon at SUM2024