SYLVAIN TOLLIS

Senior Researcher

My roles are: to conduct interdisciplinary research on cell cycle regulation, cell size and intracellular scaling control; teach statistics, bio-imaging and bioinformatics at the Master level; develop bio-imaging techiques.


I began my academic career in theoretical condensed matter physics, where I predicted new phases of matter in superconducting junctions. Then I moved towards biophysics to study phagocytosis and bacterial chemotaxis in Robert Endres’ laboratory (Imperial College London) .During this experience, I improved my knowledge of biological systems and developed a strong interest for the self-organized molecular choreography that gives rise to the cell division cycle. I started studying the cell cycle in yeast with Derek McCusker in Bordeaux. There, I demonstrated that mother cells prepare the emergence of their daughters via the spatial coordination of opposing membrane trafficking activities, endocytosis and exocytosis. I was then fortunate to find an additional training opportunity in experimental molecular and cell biology, genetics, and advanced microscopy with Mike Tyers, a world leader in eukaryotic cell cycle research in Montreal. There, I positioned my research in the broader context of biological systems scaling. My main current interests are in advanced fluorescence microscopy, mathematical modeling, and quantitative cell biology. In particular, I am fascinated by the outstanding questions of how a cell takes the decision to divide into two cells, this so peculiar trait of living things. How did evolution shape cell division cycle pathways to adjust the biophysical features of each cell type to its particular functions or environment?

Contact info

Organization

School of Medicine, Biomedicine

Email

sylvain.tollis@uef.fi

Phone

+358 50 341 9874

Teaching Activities

Statistics, bio-imaging and bioinformatics

Societal Activities

Science blog: tellmeyourscience.org (not updated recently)

Research groups and research projects

Cells tightly coordinate their duplication with their growth in order to control their size. Cell sizes span orders of magnitude, from meter-long neurons to tiny lymphocytes for instance. However, size is remarkably uniform within a given cell population. How did evolution shape control mechanisms to adjust the size of each cell to its function and environment? This long-standing question is still open, owing to the lack of quantitative information on size control molecules. To address it, we will use a unique combination of state-of-the-art quantitative imaging and genetics to identify and measure the key parameters that coordinate cell growth and division. We will integrate this unprecedented wealth of quantitative data info mathematical models to predict cellular responses to genetic or pharmacological perturbation. The project outcomes will advance a major frontier in health-related knowledge, and help understand disease-associated mutations in cancer and other genetic disorders.

RESEARCH GROUPS - UEF

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