Two NARILIS PhD students awarded a Mobility Scholarship from the French Embassy!

The French Embassy in Belgium launched a call for a mobility scholarship program with the aim of developing new cooperations between French and Belgian laboratories in the field of Global Health. Thanks to this program, two NARILIS PhD students are given the opportunity of spending one month in the laboratory of a French partner!

The first recipient of a mobility scholarship is Elie Marchand, PhD student within the research group Bacterial Cell cycle & Development (BCcD) led by Dr. Régis Hallez (UNamur, Research Unit in Biology of Microorganisms). The BCcD group aims at understanding how bacteria control their cell cycle and how they respond to stress conditions. The main focus of the PhD thesis of Elie Marchand is the production of the (p)ppGpp alarmone upon carbon starvation in the bacterial model Caulobacter crescentus. Accumulation of this alarmone is known to profoundly reshape the bacterial metabolism and physiology as well as to interfere with the G1-to-S transition of the cell cycle during nutrient starvation. At the beginning of September, Elie Marchand joined the MetaSys team at the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute (Université de Toulouse). He is hosted by Prof. Fabien Létisse, an expert in microbial metabolomics. A part of his stay will be dedicated to the quantification of (p)ppGpp along the bacterial cell cycle by metabolomics.


Sébastien Meurant, PhD student within the research group DYSO led by Prof. Patsy Renard (UNamur, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology), is the second recepient of a mobility scholarship from the French Embassy. The DYSO group has a long experience in the study of organelles, particularly mitochondria, and aims at deciphering the molecular mechanism underlying organelle functions and dysfunctions. The PhD thesis of Sébastien Meurant focuses on mitochondrial co-translational import mechanisms in mammals. In parallel to his doctoral research, Sébastien is also conducting a satellite project to gain experience with BioID, a tool for identifying protein-protein interactions in living cells. This satellite project aims at characterizing proteins interacting with the mitochondrial inner membrane protein MPV17, a protein of unknown function that is associated with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. In order to go further in the understanding of MPV17 function, the MitoLab (University d’Angers) led by Prof. Guy Lenaers will host Sébastien Meurant during the month of October. The MitoLab has a cutting-edge expertise in studying mitochondrial pathophysiology and is fully equipped to perform extensive morphological and functional investigations. This collaboration will allow to shed light on the phenotype of MPV17-depleted cells.