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by Bernard Vandenbunder - published on , updated on

Emeritus Research Director at CNRS
Lille 1 University

Contact :
IRI building, Office n°136
- Tel: +33(0)362 53 17 37

Research interests

With a passport from the world of physics, I have travelled from the test tubes to living cells to investigate biological regulations: the regulation of an enzymatic activity, the regulation of cell growth and differentiation during embryonic and tumor development, the regulation of gene expression. From my first studies on the conformational changes of glycogen phosphorylase to our recent studies on the dynamics of Polycomb bodies assembly, it has been for me a always renewed pleasure to experience the contributions of physics to our understanding of the structure, the dynamics and the stability of living systems.

Daniel Mazia wrote that a microscopist should “think with the eyes and see the brain”. Following this recommendation, I am also interested to recognize the “conceptual glasses” that we use to see and to understand living systems.

Team "Nonlinear Dynamics" / Group "Biophotonics”

Current research

  • Nuclear organization and transcriptional regulation.
    Studies on the Positive Transcription Elongation Factor (P-TEFb) (diffusion in the nucleus, interactions with partners and activities) in collaboration with Olivier Bensaude (ENS) and Xavier Darzacq (ENS, now at the University of Berkeley)
  • Morphogenesis and tissue dynamics
    Study of the functional structure of copepods myofibrils and their responses to physical stresses with non linear optics microscopy, in collaboration with Sami Souissi (LOG, Wimereux)

Selected publications

1) Photochemical effects in Li doped cadmium sulfide. Dugué M. and Vandenbunder B.
Physica Statu Solidi (a) 24, 163-166 (1974).

2) Conformational changes and local events at the AMP site of glycogen phosphorylase b : a fluorescence temperature-jump relaxation study. Vandenbunder B., Dreyfus M. and Buc H. Biochemistry 17, 4153-4160 (1978).

3) Complementary patterns of expression of c-ets-1, c-myb and c-myc in the blood forming system of the chick embryo. Vandenbunder B., Pardanaud L., Jaffredo T., Mirabel, M.A. and Stehelin D. Development 107, 265-274 (1989).

4) c-ets1 proto-oncogene is a transcription factor expressed in endothelial cells during tumor vascularization and other forms of angiogenesis in humans. Wernert, N., Raes, M.B., Lassalle, P., Dehouck, M.P., Gosselin, B., Vandenbunder, B. and D. Stehelin. American Journal of Pathology (1992) 140 : 119-127

5) High levels of c-rel expression are associated with programmed cell death in the developing avian embryo and in bone marrow cells in vitro, Abbadie C., Kabrun N., Bouali F., Smardova J., Stehelin D., Vandenbunder B. and Enrietto P.J. Cell 75, 899-912 (1993).

6) Development of an ultra-low light level luminescence image analysis system for dynamic measurements of transcriptional activity in living and migrating cells.Maire, E., Lelievre, E., Brau, D., Lyons, A., Woodward, M., Fafeur, V., and Vandenbunder, B. Analytical Biochemistry (2000), 280, 118-127

7) Involvement of Rel/NF-kB transcription factors in keratinocyte senescence. Bernard, D., Gosselin, K., Monte, D., Vercamer, C., Bouali, F., Pourtier, A., Vandenbunder, B., and Abbadie, C. Cancer Res 64, 472-481 (2004).

8) « Nouveaux objets, nouveaux acteurs, nouveau enjeux éthiques : les interfaces entre biologie, nanotechnologie et informatique ». Vandenbunder B. Ethique & Santé 7, 18-23 (2010)

9) PRC1 components exhibit different binding kinetics in Polycomb bodies. Vandenbunder B, Fourré N, Leray A, Mueller F, Völkel P, Angrand PO, Héliot L. Biol Cell. 106:111-25 (2014).

10) Label-free microscopy and stress responses reveal the functional organization of Pseudodiaptomus marinus copepod myofibrils. Ibrahim A, Hage CH, Souissi A, Leray A, Héliot L, Souissi S, Vandenbunder B. J Struct Biol. 191:224-35 (2015)

Full list on PubMed

Lecture at the Master « Medicine and Society », Lille 3 University, February 27 2013 : « From the human ++ program to the patient’s bed: Describe, manipulate and think life” "Décrire, manipuler et penser le vivant à l’heure des nanotechnologies: du programme Human ++ au lit du malade ?"

Conference – debate : « biotechnologies and health tomorrow », IAE Lille, March 14 2014. “Ethical issues in biomedical research: brake, alibi or challenge? » (“le questionnement éthique dans les sciences du vivant: frein, alibi ou défi?” in French)

Research experience and responsibilities

  • October 2013 - Emeritus Research Director at the PhLAM
  • 2009 - Member of the team “Biophotonics” in the Interdisciplinary Research Institute
  • 2006-2008. Director of the FRE 2963 “Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire”
  • 2000-2006 “Chargé de Mission” by the Ministère de la Recherche for the building of an Interdisciplinary Research Institute dedicated to the study of the structure, the dynamics and robustness of signalling pathways and regulatory networks in living cells and tissues.
  • 1997-2001 - Director of the EP560 CNRS and of the FRE 2353/ Institut Pasteur de Lille / Université de Lille 2 « Signalization and transcriptional regulation during tumorigenesis”
  • 1983-1997 - Senior scientist in the laboratoire d’Oncologie Moléculaire, headed by Dominique Stéhelin, at the Pasteur Institute in Lille FRANCE
  • 1981-1983 - Visiting scientist in the laboratory of Gary G.Borisy (Laboratory of Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • 1975 - Visiting scientist in the laboratory of Edmond H.Fischer (Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle)
  • 1972-1981 - Scientist in the Laboratoire de Physico Chimie des Macromolécules Biologiques, headed by Henri Buc, at the Pasteur Institute in Paris
  • 1970-1972 - Engineer at the Laboratoire Central de Recherches, Thomson CSF at Orsay


  • 1980. Doctorat d’Etat (Biology) "Contribution to the study of glycogen phosphorylase from rabbit skeletal muscle. Dynamic properties of the activator and of the catalytic sites for various conformations of the enzyme"
  • 1973 Doctorat de 3ème cycle (Solid State Physics) "Contribution to the study of Lithium doped Cadmium Sulfide"
  • 1970. DEA in Solid State Physics at the University of Paris Sud (Orsay, FRANCE)
  • 1969. Electronical engineer, from the Institut Supérieur d’Electronique du Nord (Lille, FRANCE)