Meet FEMS Expert: Tam Mignot


This month we are joined by Dr Tâm Mignot, who is a FEMS Expert from the European Academy of Microbiology (EAM). The EAM is a leadership group of around 150 eminent microbiology experts who came together in 2009 to amplify the impact of microbiology and microbiologists in Europe.

Tâm is the director of the Laboratoire de Chimie Bactérienne, a CNRS research unit of 12 research groups all sharing an interest in basic and applied projects in bacteriology.

What are you currently researching?

“We are currently trying to elucidate how single bacterial cells make motility decisions and integrate these decisions in coordinated group behaviours  to give rise to multicellular patterns. The motility mechanism and its regulation are surprisingly convergent with mechanisms that have otherwise evolved in eukaryotic cell systems.

The research is organized in four main axes, three of which are co-supervised by permanent researchers:

  • Motility and predation
  • Group interactions in large motile groups
  • Role of the extracellular matrix and sensing
  • High throughput methods for genetics and imaging

I hope that we will be able to successfully move to the next step and decipher collective behaviours as well as how they evolved.”

What is your research group like?

“The research group consists of 12-15 people: one CR1 (associate Professor equivalent), two CR2/MCF (Assistant professor equivalent), two engineers, one technician, three graduate students, two postdocs and two Masters students.

We work as small groups on specific projects. All projects are nevertheless integrated into a global lab research focus and the results are discussed in small individual meetings as well as weekly group meetings.”

What has been a memorable ‘breakthrough moment’ for you?

“On two memorable occasions as a student first, and then as a postdoc, I made major (at least for my projects) discoveries by realizing that the data I had been looking at for months contained unexpected information that highlighted other and in fact more promising research perspectives. Ever since I’ve always tried to look at the data in the most less hypothesis driven way, hoping to notice new unexpected features, which has worked repeatedly.”

To find out more about the inspiring network of microbiology experts we work with, take a look at their profiles.

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