Dr Chantal Abergel
CNRS Research Director
- Environmental virology
- Giant viruses
FEMS Expert: Dr Chantal Abergel
Dr Chantal Abergel completed her PhD in Material science in 1990 at Aix Marseille University. She was the Co-founder of the Structural and Genomic Information (IGS) laboratory at the CNRS with Jean-Michel Claverie to create the first French laboratory combining bioinformatics with experimental biology.
Her laboratory is involved in the isolation of new members of the known families of giant viruses from various environmental samples and to try to increase the number of known families by prospecting exotic environment and use alternative hosts. Genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics are systematically used to study virus evolution and the cross-talk taking place between the virus and their hosts.
With the support of the bioinformatics team, Chantal’s research group are also developing the analytical tools necessary to study giant virus physiology using a combination of genetics, structural biology, and cellular biology including in vivo expression and electron and fluorescence microscopy.
The most challenging aspect of Chantal’s research is the difficulty in manipulating the host Acanthamoeba for genetic studies of viral genes. She hopes that the possibility of identifying entirely new metabolic pathways could open new windows on the evolution of life on earth and on the contribution of viruses to it.