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Jean Marie FrançoisProfessor

Jean Marie François
Professeur exceptional Class

Microbial Physiology and Functional genomics of yeasts and filamentous fungi–PHYGE-

+33 (0) 5 62 83 23 89 or +33 (0) 5 62 25 01 29

INSA de Toulouse
135 avenue de Rangueil
31077 Toulouse cedex 4 - FRANCE

fran_jm @ insa-toulouse.fr or jean-marie.francois @ inrae.fr


orcid n° 0000-0001-9884-5535




  • 1983, Engineer in Agronomy and Biological Chemistry , Catholic University Louvain (Belgium)
  • 1988, Ph D in Biochemistry and Agronomy, Catholic University Louvain and Institute Claude de Duve (Belgium) under the supervision of late Prof Henry Gery Hers and Prof Andre Goffeau
  • 1988-1991, Postdoctoral trainings at North Carolina State University (Prof Dr K. Tatchell), Bordeaux University II
  • 1991 -1992, Associate professor at University Catholic of Louvain and Invited lecturer at University Sao-Paulo, Brazil (Department of Biological Chemistry)
  • 1992-1993: Associate professor at Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve, department of physiological biochemistry
  • Since 1993, Professor of Biochemistry, Microbial Physiology and BioNanotechnology at National Institute of Applied Sciences and Federal University of Toulouse.
  • Since 2009, Professor Exceptional class
  • Since 2017, Editor in Chief of BMC Biotechnology & Biofuels
  • Since 2018, Specialty Editor in Frontiers Bioengineering Biotechnology, section Synthetic biology



The research activity of the team 'Integrative physiology and functional genomics of microbial systems (yeasts and filamentous fungi, PHYGE) that I am the leader at TBI since 1994 focuses on an integrative approach of the physiology of microorganisms to environmental constraints, relevant in an industrial context. Our research encompasses three major thematic. Thematic 1 deals with the organization and structural and molecular reorganization of the yeast cell wall in response to environmental and technological constraints. Thematic 2 focuses on questions of functional genomics, with priority being given to the study of cellular heterogeneity by investigating whether the genetic or the metabolic origin of heterogeneity in cellular population. Thematic 3 dealt with the refactoring of microbial metabolic network using synthetic and systems biology tools with the objectives to construct microbial cell factories enabling to efficiently convert renewable carbon sources into bio-based products. In addition, my team is collaborating with many industrial partners among which a long-standing collaboration exists with the industrial companies Adisseo SAS and Lallemand Inc. We are also collaborating with local (IBPS, LAAS-CNRS, Biomathematics and Biostatistics of INSA /UPS), national (Ecole Supérieur Chimie Physique Paris, INRA Montpellier) and international (University of Frankfurt, TU Dresden Germany; BOKU- Wien; University of Delaware, USA; Univ. Campinas Brazil) teams. In general, our research activities aim at acquiring knowledge that feeds into more application-oriented projects in industrial biotechnology, such as proposing strategies to optimize the "metabolic" capacity, modify the structure of microorganism walls or express a "suicide" system to limit the heterogeneity of the microbial population during a production process. Research in my team is currently supported by national grants from ANR (Agence National de la recherché) and PIA (Projet Investissement d’Avenir) and EU (Cost, Eranet 2020) as well as from industrial supports.


I am also running industrial-oriented and financially supported projects whose maturity level (TRL) is at level 4 or 5 and which require methodological developments, based on the scientific knowledge acquired through the work carried out by my team at TBI. Currently, these researches are supported by Industrial and TWB grants


Beside this main activity, I was also head of a BioNanobiotechnology network in Toulouse that develops interdisciplinary researches on Bio-patterning and integrated Bio-detection from 2009 to 2014. This interdisciplinary activity with Bioengineers, physicists and chemists led me to create DENDRIS (www.dendris.fr), a start-up, which is exploiting Nanotechnology tools for molecular diagnostic and nanomedicine and holds several patents in biochips conception for diagnostic purposes.


Since the beginning of my career, I have supervised 30 PhD students and have had the privilege of hosting 25 postdoctoral fellows, more than half of whom have become researchers or professors while the other half have been hired in the private sector.




  • Since 1993:Teaching Microbial Physiology and functional genomics at INSA
  • Since 2015:Teaching Biology and Bioengineering at Bio-process Engineers at Ecoles des Mines Albi –Carmaux
  • Since 2015: Lecturer at ESPCI (Ecole Supérieure Physique Chimie de Paris) on Systems and Synthetic biology to Master 1
  • From 2002 -2010: Teaching of Molecular Biology and Nanobiotechnology at Physical and Mathematical Engineers
  • From 2002 -2015; Teaching Bionanotechnology at MASTER 2 Diagnostic University Toulouse
  • 2001 to 2004: Invited lecturer at Institute Polytechnic Mexico: Teaching on DNA arrays technology and application for functional microbial genomics,
  • 2001 to 2005: Invited lecturer at University of Qingdao, (China) 2001 - 2005 : Lecture in Microbial Physiology and Bioengineering technologies
  • 2004: Invited lecturer at University de Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) 2004: lecture on DNA arrays technology and application for functional genomics,
  • 2006-2007: Invited lecturer at University de Biotecnologia y Oenologia, Tarragona, (Spain) 2006: DNA arrays technology and application for functional microbial genomics,
  • 2009 -2011: Invited lecturer at New Sofia University (Bulgaria) (Erasmus school) (2009 -20912 Lecture on Genomics and post-genomics in Microbiology 



Author of > 200 peer-review papers in Scientific Journal, 5 text books, 20 patents , hi index on September 2020= 56

Main publications since 2015


Thematic 1: Fungal cell wall assembly and regulation

1.     Schiavone, M., Elsztein, C., Formosa-Dague, C., Teste, M-A., Martin-Yken, H., Morais, M.A.jr, Dague, E. & François, J. (2016).An Atomic Force Microscopy study of the response of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to ethanol stress. Appl.Env Microbiol., 82: 4789-4801 Doi: 10.1007/s00294-013-0411-0

2.     François, J.M (2015) Cell Surface Interference with Plasma Membrane and Transport Processes in Yeasts in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, Volume 892 pp 11-31, doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-25304-6_2. Springer Verlag

3.     Schiavone, M., Sieczkowski, N., Castex, M., Dague, E. & François J.M (2019) AFM dendritips functionalized with molecular probes specific to cell wall polysaccharides as a tool to investigate cell surface structure and organization. The Cell Surface, 5, 100027. DOI: 10.1016/j.tcsw.2019.100027


Thematic 2: Functional genomics and heterogeneity

1.     Liu, J., Martin-Yken, H., Bigey, F., Dequin, S., Francois, J. & Capp, JP (2015)Natural yeast promoter variants exhibit different noise levels conferring distinct selective advantages. Genome Biol Evol., 7 (4) 969 -984.

2.     Grondin, E., Shum Cheong Sing, A., Caroa, Y., James, S., Nueno-Palop,C., François, JM.& Petit, T (2017) Flavour production by Saprochaete and Geotrichum yeasts and their close relatives. Food Chem. 237: 677-684

3.     YangDD., De Billerberck, G., ZhangJ-J, Rosenzweig, F. & François, J M. (2017) Deciphering the origin, evolutionary fate and the physiological function of the subtelomeric multi-aryl-alcohol dehydrogenases encoded genes family in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Applied Env. Microbiol DOI.org/ 10.1128/AEM.01553.17

4.     Lopez, R.V., Gomez, J.L., Spina, L., Dejean, S., Parrou, JL & François, J M. (2018).Trehalose-6-phosphate promotes fermentation and glucose repression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Microbial Cell 5, 444-459. DOI: 10.15698/mic2018.10.651

5.     Jian, L., François, J. M & Capp, JP (2019) Gene expression noise produces cell-to-cell heterogeneity in eukaryotic homologous recombination rate. Front. Genet. 10, 475, DOI : 10.3389/fgene.2019.00475


Thematic 2: Refactoring microbial metabolism

1.     Cam, Y., Alkim, C., Trichez, D., Vax, A., Bartolo, F., Besse, Ph., François J & Walther, T (2015) Engineering of a synthetic metabolic pathway for the assimilation of (D)-xylose into added-value chemical. ACS Synthetic Biology, 5, 607-618. DOI10.1021.acssynbio.5b00103

2.     Walther Th., Topham, C.M., Irague, R., Auriol, C., Baylac, A., Cordier, H., Dressaire, C., Lozano-Huguet, L., Tarrat, N., Martineau, N., Stodel, M., Malbert, Y., Maestracci, M., Huet, R., André, I., Remaud-Siméon, M & François J M. (2017) Construction of a synthetic metabolic pathway for biosynthesis of the non-natural methionine precursor 2,4-dihydroxybutyric acid. Nature Comm., 8, 15828 doi:10.1038/ncomms15828.

3.     Frazao C.R., Topham, C., Malbert, Y., François, J.M. & Walther, T. (2018).Rational engineering of a malate dehydrogenase for microbial production of 2,4 dihydroxybutyric acid production via homoserine pathway. Biochem. J. 475: 3887-3901. DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20180765

4.     Lachaux C., Frazao, C.R., Morin, N., Walther, T & François J.M. (2019)Design, construction and validation of a synthetic pathway for glycolic acid production from lignocellulosic sugars with optimal carbon conservation. Front. Bioeng Biotech., 7, 359. DOI: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00359

François J.M., Alkim, C & Morin, N. (2020). Engineering microbial pathways for production of bio-based chemicals from lignocellulosic sugars: Current status and perspectives. BMC Biotechnology for Biofuels. 13:118. DOI : 10.1186/s13068-020-01744-6