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Biotechnology

research in France
France ranks third in Europe, behind the United Kingdom and Germany, in the number of biotechnology
companies operating within its territory. These 400 firms employ about 6,000 people, more than half of
whom work in research and development. Biotechnologies are increasingly important in the health sector,
but they have a growing role in several other sectors as well-among them the environment, agriculture, and
food processing. The energy, materials, and chemical sectors are also influenced by advances in
biotechnology.

An application of science In regenerative medicine, functional living tissues are created to


replace or repair damaged tissues and organs or to cure congenital
and technology defects and diseases. Here, biotechnologies offer great promise,
Biotechnologies are applications of science and technology to living as nanotechnology and biology combine to produce biosensors
organisms and their parts. They are based on three properties and “labs-on-a-chip.”
specific to living things: Synthetic biology, which is based on convergences between
• Replication refers to the ability of microorganisms and plant and nanotechnologies, life sciences, and information technology known
animal cells to reproduce identical copies of themselves. as NBICs (for nano-bio-info-cogno), finds applications in the
• Molecular recognition, which is the focus of the field of bioproduction sector (such as biofuels, materials derived from
immunology, points to the capacity of living things to recognize petrochemistry, and food additives), security (biosensors for the
and eliminate foreign structures and molecules. fight against bioterrorism), biomaterials, and so-called smart
• Enzyme catalysis is the mechanism by which simple or complex materials.
chemical reactions are accelerated by proteins known as White biotechnologies use living organisms (molds, yeasts,
enzymes. bacteria, plants) and enzymes to synthesize chemical products for
many industries. Enzymes are produced for a variety of
The biological tools used in biotechnologies are many: manufacturing sectors (food products, detergents, paper pulp,
microorganisms (bacteria, yeasts, molds), animal and plant cells, textile processing), biodegradable plastics, biomaterials, chemistry,
genes, enzymes (extracted from animal or plant tissue or from and biofuels.
cultures of microorganisms), antibodies (proteins capable of
The food industry also uses biotechnological processes, such as
recognizing molecules that are foreign to an organism).
on-site fermentation in heterogeneous media using bacteria and
These biological tools may be improved through genetic or protein yeasts and additions of enzymes often derived from cultures of
engineering, through synthetic biology, or through engineering of genetically modified microorganisms.
biological networks and systems. In the environmental sciences, biotechnologies (such as those that
take advantage of the purifying power of microorganisms) are used
Varied applications in the industries responsible for wastewater treatment, solid-waste
Biotechnology applications are used in a variety of fields: medicine treatment, and soil remediation. Other biotechnologies have figured
and health (so-called red biotechnologies), food-processing and in the design of sensors used to monitor the state of the
chemistry (white biotechnologies), the environment (yellow environment—for example, to detect the presence of chemical
biotechnologies), and agriculture (green biotechnologies). pollutants.
In the sectors of human and animal health, biotechnologies have Biotechnologies are an essential part of modern agriculture.
applications in therapeutics (new medicines), prevention (vaccines), Improved seed strains are developed using genetically modified
and diagnostics (immunoassays and genetic tests). New products organisms. Other applications are in animal selection and in
are made from genetically modified organisms. The discovery of strengthening the resilience of plants. In the realm of cell cultures,
new treatments depends increasingly on biotechnology to identify micro-algae have many new industrial uses—as sources of food
the cause of diseases and to design, test, and produce new and fuel, for example.
medicines.

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Doctoral Departments

B2T (biology and biotechnologies) - ED 273


Located at Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7) and affiliated with Université Paris Descartes (Paris 5), the B2T doctoral department situates
its research program within the bounds of three interconnected medical disciplines: hematology, oncology, and cardiovascular pathology,
covering fundamental knowledge as well as the biological bases of new therapies.
http://www.univ-paris-diderot.fr/sc/site.php?bc=formations&np=FICHED?ND=23

B3MI (biochemistry, biotherapies, molecular biology, and infectology) - ED 516


Located at Université Paris Diderot (Paris 7) and operated in conjunction with Université Paris Descartes (Paris 5),
B3MI has six doctoral specialties:
- Bioinformatics, genome analysis, and modeling
- Biomolecules, structural biology, pathologies, and biotherapies
- Genomes, epigenetics, and cell destiny
- Immunology
- Prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbiology
- Virology
http://b3mi.ed.univ-paris-diderot.fr

Biology, health, and biotechnologies of Toulouse - ED 151


This doctoral department at Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse 3) is composed of 20 joint research units, including one devoted to fruit
genomics and biotechnologies. Research covers several disciplines—among them oncology, developmental biology, physiopathology,
pharmacology, epidemiology, microbiology, and molecular genetics.
http://www.edbio.ups-tlse.fr/spipedbio/

Engineering sciences - ED 71
Affiliated with Université Technologique de Compiègne (UTC), this doctoral department covers
six disciplinary fields, one of which is biotechnologies, particularly industrial biotechnology.
http://www.utc.fr/formation_ecole_doctorale/biotechnologie.php

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Laboratories

Agronomy
Plant improvement and biotechnology (UMR 6026)
http://www.rennes.inra.fr>Les recherches>Unités de recherche
Affiliated with doctoral department 92 (life, agriculture, health: http://www.vas.univ-rennes1.fr) at Université de Rennes 1, the plant
improvement and biotechnology lab at INRA-Agrocampus Ouest-Université Rennes 1 investigates aspects of the genetics, genomics,
and postgenomics of species of major agronomic value (wheat, rape, cauliflower, peas, and potatoes).
Biotechnological applications to rose culture (ERT 1082)
http://www.univ-poitiers.fr>Recherche>Équipes de recherche
This technological research team affiliated with the Gay Lussac doctoral department of environmental sciences (ED 523 -
http://www.ueb.eu/Theme/collegeDoctInter/EcolesDoctorales/EDSM/) at Université de La Rochelle has as its principal purpose the
production of miniature roses that meet horticultural criteria without the use of growth regulators.
BBV (biomolecules and plant biotechnologies) (EA 2106)
http://www.univ-tours.fr/recherche/biomolecules-et-biotechnologies-vegetales-bbv-116947.kjsp
This research team at the doctoral department of health, science, and technology (ED 102 - http://www.univ-tours.fr>Recherche>Ecoles
Doctorales) at Université François Rabelais in Tours pursues analytical research into the processes involved in metabolic differentiation in
plants. Research efforts are focused on the analysis of the biosynthesis paths of monoterpene indole alkaloids with the goal of using
biotechnology to exploit the therapeutic potential of metabolites.
Biotechnology of filamentous fungi (UMR 1163)
http://www.paca.inra.fr/les_recherches/unites_hors_poles/biotechnologie_des_champignons_filamenteux
This joint INRA research unit, based at the École Supérieure des Ingénieurs de Luminy in Avignon, is affiliated with the doctoral department
of life sciences and health (ED 62 - http://edsvs.univmed.fr) at Aix-Marseille Université. It works to expand and deepen knowledge of
filamentous fungi in order to improve their ability to effect the biotransformation of lignocellulose.
Microbial biotechnology in hot environments (UMR 180)
This laboratory at Aix-Marseille Université performs research on the microbiology of hot environments (essentially deep hydrothermic
systems and oil-bearing environments). It studies the structures that have allowed microbes to adapt to an increasingly oxygen-rich
environment.
http://gsite.univ-provence.fr>La recherche>Études doctorales>Écoles doctorales>Sciences de la vie et de la santé
CBTIERT (targets, biotechnologies, intervention techniques and assessment for tissue regeneration) (EA 4396)
http://www.u-pec.fr/pratiques/laboratoires/
This host team, affiliated with the doctoral department of life sciences and health (ED 402 - http://www.univ-paris-est.fr/fr/-ecole-doctorale-
sciences-de-la-vie-et-de-la-sante-svs-/) at Université Paris-Est, studies biomolecules for use in pharmacology and for their therapeutic
effects (cell therapy).
Laboratory of biotechnology and marine molecules
http://www.ifremer.fr/drvvpbm/
Within the department of marine biotechnologies at IFREMER (the French Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) in Nantes and Brest, research
and experiments are conducted under extreme conditions in an effort to link microorganisms capable of metabolizing and synthesizing
new molecules of biotechnological interest.
LÉBHAM (laboratory of the ecophysiology and biotechnology of halophytes and marine algae) (EA 3877)
http://www.univ-brest.fr/lebham/
Affiliated with the doctoral department of ocean sciences (ED 156) at Université de Bretagne Occidentale de Brest, LÉBHAM performs
research in the field of the physiology and biochemistry of halophytes and marine algae in relation to their environment. Two directions are
emphasized: (i) natural substances derived from coastal and marine plants and (ii) knowledge of the populations of coastal and marine
plants.

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Laboratory of algal physiology and biotechnology
http://wwz.ifremer.fr/pba
Also located at IFREMER, this laboratory carries out research projects aimed at optimizing and stabilizing the nutritional quality of algae
used in aquaculture and producing valuable molecules. Focus areas include metabolic shunts, development of a flexible platform for the
expression of recombinant molecules, and microalgae as a “cell factory.”
LVBE (laboratory on vines, biotechnology, and environment) (EA 3991)
http://www.lvbe.uha.fr
LVBE, affiliated with the Jean-Henri Lambert doctoral department (ED 494 - http://www.ecoledoctorale.uha.fr) at Université de Haute
Alsace, pursues three directions of research related to the biotic and abiotic stresses to which vines are subject: contamination of vineyard
soils with copper-based (antifungal), wood diseases, and grapevine fanleaf virus, which causes stunting and fruit loss.
UFIP (unit on protein functionality and engineering)
http://www.ufip.univ-nantes.fr
This CNRS research unit affiliated with the doctoral department of biology and health (ED 502 - http://www.edbiologiesante.fr) at Université
de Nantes, studies biotechnological developments and the fundamental phenomena at work in the control of the genome and the
maintenance of its integrity.

Health and pharmacology


Biotechnology of recombinant proteins for health purposes (EA 4135)
http://www.univ-bordeauxsegalen.fr>Rercherche>Acteurs de la recherche
Affiliated with the doctoral department of life sciences and health (ED 154 - http://www.edsvs.u-bordeaux2.fr) at Université de Bordeaux,
this host team is made up of research faculty from the École Nationale Supérieure de Technologie des Biomolécules de Bordeaux
(ENSTBB), which trains engineers in biotechnologies. Two research themes are paramount: (i) the production and purification of
recombinant proteins of therapeutic interest, and (ii) the study of biofilms in Pseudomonas aeruginosa in relation to mucoviscidosis.
LBVPAM (biotechnologies applied to aromatic and medicinal plants) (EA 3061)
http://portail.univ-st-etienne.fr>Recherche>Les structures de recherche>DSTP 10
Operating within the doctoral department of sciences, engineering, and health (ED 488 - http://edsis.univ-st-etienne.fr) at Université Jean
Monnet Saint-Étienne, this laboratory conducts research on aromatic and flavorful plants, focusing on their volatile compounds, in order
to better understand the mechanisms of production and secretion of their smells and flavors.
CPBS (center for the study of pathogens and health-related biotechnology) (UMR 5236) http://www.cpbs.cnrs.fr
Within the doctoral department of chemical and biological health sciences (ED 168 - http://ecole-doctorale-cbs2.igh.cnrs.fr) at Université
de Montpellier 2, this joint unit houses 10 research teams that are studying infectious agents (viruses and bacteria) and pursuing the
development of molecules capable of preventing the intracellular replication and intercellular propagation of these pathogens.
ISSB (institute of systemic and synthetic biology) (EA 4527)
Set up at Université d’Évry-Val d’Essonne with support from Genopôle and the CNRS, ISSB consists of five research teams working to model
the functioning of living systems. ISSB’s objective is to design, build, and characterize secure spatial and temporal genetic circuits for the
purpose of understanding and controlling genetic expression.
http://www.issb.genopole.fr
LBPA (laboratory of biotechnology and applied pharmacology) (UMR 8113)
At the École Nationale Supérieure de Cachan, this joint research unit is affiliated with four doctoral departments of biology, medicine,
health, and engineering. Its research work turns on two themes: (i) structural and functional studies of molecular complexes linked to
genetic functions, and (ii) the molecular and cellular pharmacology of cancers. For use in the structural studies, methodologies are
developed in parallel in the area of biophotonics, biosensors, and molecular marking.
http://www.lbpa.ens-cachan.fr

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Biotechnologies are central
to France’s national research
strategy

France’s top research priority: health, well-being, food, and biotechnology.


AVIESAN, the national alliance for the life sciences and health: http://www.aviesan.fr
Founded in 2009, AVIESAN is made up of INSERM (the French national institute of health and medical research), CNRS (the national
center for scientific research), CEA (the nuclear and alternative energy commission), INRIA (the national institute for research in computer
science and control), the Pasteur Institute, CPU (the conference of French university presidents), and the conference of directors of
university hospital centers. Its purpose is to represent France within European and international program agencies.

Research priorities
• Agriculture and the environment: Development of biotechnologies that will enable intensive agricultural production while also protecting
the environment.
• Chemistry and energy: Increased use of renewable carbon from plants, particularly cellulose-rich biomass.
• Medicine and health: To support a vigorous biotechnology industry centered on new and innovative companies.
• Microbiology: To encourage French research in metagenomics, a new branch of genomics applied to the study of complex microbial
systems.
• Health and biotechnology are the focus of a government-designated thematic project of excellence. Among the themes of the project
are bioresources for the development of agro-industrial biotechnologies, animal and plant selection, and uses for plant and animal
biomass, including biomass derived from marine sources.

• Nano-biotechnologies are an important focus of public investment: http://investissement-avenir.gouvernement.fr


In 2012, two projects of interest were among 20 projects selected for the French national program known as Investissements d’avenir
(Investment in the Future),

s The DIRAN project: The goal of the project is to explore the potential of nanotechnologies for the development of a new generation of
medical equipment for the early detection of hospital-acquired infections and a better understanding of their origins.
s The FACSBIOMARKER project: This project explores the potential of nanotechnologies for the development of new, high-resolution
methods for early detection and diagnosis of invasive cancers and for more-effective monitoring of therapeutic processes.

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Useful links
• Adebiotech, a French biotech think tank: • Formations Biotech, a database of biotechnology programs
http://www.adebiotech.org in France: http://www.formations-biotech.org
• AllEnvi (national alliance for environmental research): • France Biotech, the Web portal of French biotechnology
http://www.allenvi.fr and the French association for biotechnology:
• ANSM (national agency for the safety of medicines and health http://www.france-biotech.org
products): http://ansm.sante.fr • France Biotechnologies, a directory of biotechnology
• Atlanpole Biotherapies, a competitiveness cluster: and the life sciences: http://www.francebiotechnologies.fr
http://www.atlanpolebiotherapies.com • Génopôle biopark (biotechnologies and genetics):
• AVIESAN (national alliance for the life sciences and health): http://www.genopole.fr
http://www.aviesan.fr • Haut Conseil des Biotechnologies (HCB, the biotechnology
• Biotechnologies France database (fields of activity, research council): http://www.hautconseildesbiotechnologies.fr
topics, publications): http://www.biotechnologiefrance.org • Indigo, a network of European projects in the field
• BioValley, a global competitiveness cluster: of biotechnology and health: http://www.newindigo.eu/npp/
http://www.alsace-biovalley.com • Investments in the Future (a French public investment
• Biotechnology committee of the French federation of medicine program) – health and biotechnology:
producers: http://www.leem.org http://investissement-avenir.gouvernement.fr
• Cancer Bio Santé, a competitiveness cluster: • Lyon Biopôle, a global competitiveness cluster:
http://www.cancerbiosante.fr http://www.lyonbiopole.com
• École Supérieure de Biotechnologie de Strasbourg (ESBS): • Medicen Paris region, a global competitiveness cluster
http://www-esbs.u-strasbg.fr of health technologies and new therapies:
http://www.medicen.org
http://www.leem.org/article/les-biotechnologies
• Nutrition Santé Longévité, a competitiveness cluster:
• Eurobiomed, the Mediterranean biocluster:
http://www.pole-nsl.org
http://www.eurobiomed.org
• Biotechnology industry portal, French ministry of the economy,
• European Federation of Biotechnology:
finance, and industry:

General information
http://www.efb-central.org
http://www.industrie.gouv.fr/portail/secteurs/index_biotech.html

• ABG-L’intelli’agence, promoting career opportunities for young • EURAXESS, mobility for researchers in Europe:
PhDs: http://www.intelliagence.fr http://ec.europa.eu/euraxess/index_en.cfm
• ANDèS, national association for Science PhD: • Fondation Alfred Kastler, hospitality and support for foreign
http://www.andes.asso.fr researchers in France: http://www.fnak.fr
• ANRT, national agency for research and technology: • Ministry of Higher Education and Research:
http://www.anrt.asso.fr http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr
• CNRS, national center for scientific research: http://www.cnrs.fr • Oséo Innovation, the French innovation agency: http://www.oseo.fr
- Directory of laboratories and researchers: • Website for mobile European researchers in France:
http://www.cnrs.fr/fr/une/annuaires.htm http://www.eurosfaire.prd.fr/mobility
- CNRS international magazine (in English): • THESA, website for thesis of Grandes Écoles (CGE):
http://www2.cnrs.fr/en/2.htm http://thesa.inist.fr

• A complete list of Doctoral Departments in France can be found online at


www.campusfrance.org>Find your program>Level Doctoral
The online catalog provides direct links to the research units within each Doctoral department.
A bilingual (French and English) search engine enables users to obtain results by selecting from
among 20,000 keywords and 80 disciplinary themes. Departmental profiles are also provided.
• CampusBourses, directory of grant programs: http://www.campusfrance.org>Finance your program
Mars 2013