The teachers


Instructor Biographies for DigitalMarine website


Maja Adamska

is an Associate Professor at The Australian National University, and a co-leader of Research Program 3 at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Maja's graduate and first postdoctoral projects addressed interactions between signaling pathways and transcription factors during vertebrate development. Interested in the evolutionary origin of animal developmental regulatory gene toolkits, she moved to The University of Queensland to study them in the first sponge to have its genome sequenced, Amphimedon queenslandica. Her work revealed surprising similarities in patterning of sponge and complex animal embryos, paving the way to firmly set sponges as models for evolutionary developmental biology. From 2007 to 2015 Maja was a group leader at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, in Bergen, Norway and in 2015 established laboratory at the Research School of Biology at The Australian National University. As an ARC Future Fellow since 2017, Maja continues to investigate evolutionary origin of key developmental processes, such as cell type specification, segregation of germ layers and axial patterning of embryos and adults. Recent major research themes in her laboratory include regeneration of sponges and corals, in particular mechanisms regulating gene expression during this process, as well as sponge-bacterial symbiosis. Maja is also deeply interested in the emergence of complex multicellularity and its genomic background. She has taught in the STC since 2009.

Xavier Bailly 

is a CNRS research scientist at the Station Biologique de Roscoff, a French marine institute on the Atlantic/Sea Channel coast interface. He received his PhD from the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and Sorbonne University in 2002 in Molecular Genetics and Evolution, followed by a post-doc at the Copenhagen University and postdoctoral experiences in France. He is currently leading a team and works on molecular and evolutionary mechanisms driving photosymbioses. He set up the complete life cycle of a marine model organism in captivity for functionally exploring photosymbioses: the sustainable animal/microalgae association involving the xenacoelomorpha flatworm Symsagittifera roscoffensis and the photosymbiotic green microalgae Tetraselmis convolutae. XB is also conducting pedagogical engineering projects that led up to the first marine toolkit for teaching universal phenomena in marine biology and distributed on the benches of French middle and high schools and universities. He has taught the Acoels module in the STC since 2004. He also co-organized several sessions of the STC.

Stéphanie Bertrand

has a PhD in Biology from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon obtained in 2005. During her thesis, she worked on the evolution of the Nuclear Receptor Superfamily and their role during embryogenesis in vertebrates. She then started to be interested in the evolution of developmental mechanisms in the chordate lineage and during her post-docs she participated to the development of the European amphioxus species as a model system. She obtained an Associate Professor position in 2011 at the Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls sur Mer, France. She has been co-PI, together with Hector Escriva, of the “Evolution and Development of Chordates” team since 2018. Her main interests are to understand (i) the evolution of transcriptional regulation at the genome level in chordates, (ii) the evolution of the somitogenesis process in link with the appearance of the vertebrate head muscles, and (iii) the evolution of the Gene Regulatory Network controlling neural induction, the first step of central nervous system formation, in chordates. She started teaching in the STC in 2014 thanks to the invitation of Agnès Boutet and is in charge, together with Salvatore D’Aniello, of the Amphioxus module.

Agnès Boutet

has a PhD in neurosciences from Sorbonne Université, Paris. During her post-doctoral work in Spain and in France, she was interested in the role of developmental genes in the triggering of renal diseases and more generally in processes linking embryogenesis to human pathologies. In 2011 she obtained an academic position as a lecturer at the Station Biologique de Roscoff, in France, where she uses marine organisms to conduct work in evolutionary biology on the origin of brain asymmetries in vertebrates. There, she has also had the chance to continue the organization of the iconic annual Schmid Training Course, an international practical course on the use of marine models in biology, in which she has taught the Sharks module since 2011. Her current research still involves marine organisms, more precisely sharks as they have the property to regenerate their kidney. Her research question aims to decipher the molecular mechanisms underlying this incredible regenerative property.

JP Chambon

obtained his PhD in 1999 at Montpellier University in in Biologie Santé, with the research focusing on in vivo study of apoptosis during the metamorphosis of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. He then went to Japan (2003) to the N. Satoh Lab for a short post-doc (6 months) in which he identified by microarray approaches the signaling pathways (ERK and JNK) and the associated gene network that controls the onset of Ciona intestinalis’ metamorphosis and the associated apoptosis. He followed with a second post-doc in A. McDougall’s Lab (2004) at Villefranche-sur-Mer during which he worked on chromosome segregation in ascidian oocytes during meisosis I. JP was recruited in 2007 as an associated professor at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (now Sorbonne Université) and developed teaching on apoptosis inspired by his own research, notably by creating new practical work courses using the metamorphosis of Ciona intestinalis as an experimental model for 3rd year students. At the beginning he was working on chromosome segregation in mouse oocyctes leading to the discovery of one of the key elements – I2PP2A – in the regulation of this process during meiosis in mammals. Then he returned to Ciona metamorphosis and co-lead his own team (with Pr Eric Quéinnec), focusing on primordial germ cells in Ciona during metamorphosis. Since relocating in 2019, JP has been at the CRBM at Montpellier in Patrick Lemaire’s team to work on the role of cadherins during early development in ascidians. He co-created the Scientific Activity Network with Pr P. Cormier the André Picard in 2010 and co-lead it from 2010 to 2015.

Bénédicte Charrier

obtained her PhD in plant biology from the University Paris-XI Orsay in 1996. As a former land plant biologist, she started investigating brown macroalgal morphogenesis 15 years ago. She is a CNRS researcher currently based at Station Biologique, Roscoff, France where she develops genetics, cell biology and modelling approaches on Ectocarpus (filamentous thallus) and Saccharina (parenchymatous), and is particularly interested in underlying biophysical mechanisms. Also committed to improving the other fields of macroalgae studies and exploitation, she recently edited the book "Protocols for Macroalgae Research" (CRC Press, 2018) and co-authored the PEGASUS European aquaculture guidelines (2019). Bénédicte has taught the brown algae module in the Schmid Training Course since 2014.

Patrick Cormier

is a Professor from Sorbonne University and is a member of the "Translation, Cell Cycle, and Development" team at the Marine Biological Station of Roscoff. He is a cellular and molecular biologist, currently interested in translational regulation in relation with cell cycle and embryonic development. Working on the role of phosphorylation during the meiotic maturation of Xenopus oocytes, P. Cormier received his PhD in 1992 in life sciences and health from the Pierre & Marie Curie University (now called Sorbonne University). He earned an academic position in 1993 as an Assistant-Professor at Pierre & Marie Curie University. During this period, he participated in the characterization of the first identified physiological substrate of the miotic kinase CDK1. In 1996, he moved from Paris to the Marine Station of Roscoff, where he started to develop a new research project using marine organisms as biological models.  He obtained his habilitation to supervise research in 1999. His work focused on the molecular actors involved in the translational regulation following fertilization in sea urchin.  In 2002, P. Cormier spent one year as a visiting scientist in Nahum Sonenberg's laboratory at the cancer centre of the McGill University, Montreal. After returning, he developed a new research project aiming to decipher the role of the cap-dependent translation mechanism following sea urchin egg fertilization. From 2005 to 2018 he was the team leader of the "Translation Cell Cycle and Development" research group. He obtained the full Professor status in 2007. He was Director of the Sea & Health department at the Marine Station of Roscoff (CNRS/UPMC) from 2009 to 2012. In 2010, he created and managed until 2013 the André Picard Scientific Activity Network, which aims to develop research collaborations between Cell and Developmental Biology laboratories of the three Marine Stations (Villefranche, Banyuls, and Roscoff) and the Pierre & Marie Curie Campus of Sorbonne University. He has been in charge of numerous graduate and undergraduate courses in cell biology, marine biology, and biotechnology and has participated in the creation and development of undergraduate teaching programs in food security and biology-mathematics. He co-organized the STC and has taught the Echinodemrs since 2005.


Salvatore D’Aniello

has a PhD in Neurioscience from the Università degli Studi della Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli" (Napoli, Italy) obtained in 2003. During his thesis, he worked on the characterization of the Rx transcription factor during nervous system development in tunicates. Afterwards, during his postdoc at University of Barcelona (Spain), he worked on evolution of gene families in metazoans, including amphioxus, and participated in the development of the European amphioxus species as a model system. In 2010 he was hired as a researcher at the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn of Naples (Italy), where he imported the amphioxus model for comparative Evo-Devo (Evolution and Development) studies. His research interests are to understand: 1. Metazoan genomes evolution, 2. Evo-Devo of Deuterostomes, in particular amphioxus, tunicates and sea urchins, 3. Evolutionary history of the Nitric Oxide Synthase gene family, and 4. Evolution of vision in deep-sea. He started teaching in the STC in 2016 thanks to the invitation of Agnès Boutet and is in charge, together with Stéphanie Bertrand, of the Amphioxus module.

Sébastien Darras

studied early embryonic axis specification in frogs during his PhD at Marseille Université. After a post-doc in Japan (Tokyo Institute of Technology) on ascidian embryos, he became a CNRS researcher in 2001. Sébastien combines classical embryology with molecular genetics to uncover mechanisms controlling early embryonic development. He is a recognized expert in ascidian developmental genetics, which he has been studying for 20 years, but he also has research experience with a variety of organisms (frogs, amphioxus and hemichordates) and has developed comparative projects. Sébastien has been a group leader since 2012 at BIOM (Banyuls-sur-Mer marine station, France) where the team with direct access to the sea develops local ascidian species as models. Sébastien has taught in the Tunicates module of the STC in Roscoff in 2017 and online in 2020 during the Covid19 pandemic.

Eve Gazave

did her doctorate in Marine Biology/Oceanography at the Université d’Aix-Marseille. During her PhD work, she investigated the origins of early animals by studying sponges, and she helped establish of one of the first sponge model species for Evo-Devo research, Oscarella lobularis. She notably investigated its phylogenetic relationships, life cycle, and genomic content; she also uncovered the origin and evolution of some major signaling pathways. During her post-doctoral work in Paris, she moved to the “bilaterian” part of the animal tree, and since then, she has used the annelid worm Platynereis dumerilii to tackle various developmental questions in an evolutionary context. She has notably identified and characterized populations of adult posterior stem cells, responsible for the posterior elongation process in this worm, and potentially in a variety of bilaterian animals. In 2016, she obtained a permanent position as a CNRS researcher at the Institute Jacques Monod and since then, her research has focused on the origin and evolution of adult stem cells and regeneration in animals. Her main current research question is to understand what makes regeneration successful in animals by studying this process in Platynereis, which have important regenerative capabilities. She has taught the Annelids module in the STC since 2014.

You can find additional information about her lab and research here:

Twitter: @stemdevevo

Julia Morales 

received her PhD in cellular and molecular biology of development from the Paris Diderot University in 1993. During her PhD in Paris and her post-doctoral position at Philadelphia, she became interested in post-transcriptional controls of cellular transitions, such as the role of translations factors in meiotic maturation in xenopus oocytes or mRNA stability determinants in mouse erythrocyte differentiation. She earned an academic permanent position as a CNRS researcher in 1998, where she turned to marine models to understand the interconnections between protein synthesis and cell cycle regulation, occurring at fertilization and early embryonic development. She is the PI of the "Translation, Cell Cycle and Development" team in the Marine Biological Station of Roscoff. Her research focuses on the molecular mechanisms involved in the translation of maternal mRNAs implicated in developmental fate, mainly in the sea urchin model. She has taught the Echinoderms module in the STC since 2009.

Nicolas Rabet

is an assistant professor at Sorbonne Université and works in the UMR Borea lab at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in Paris. He completed his PhD thesis in 2004 on the caudal gene family in Metazoans by working on various models (mainly crustaceans and fishes). Afterwards he did a short post-doc on Annelid evo-devo and in 2005 was recruited at Sorbonne University (at the time Pierre and Marie Curie University) to work in Cnidarians' evo-devo. In 2011 he joined the BOREA laboratory at the MNHN where he works on the evolution of crustaceans. Nicolas has taught the Crustaceans module in the STC since 2008.

Bernd Schierwater

is the Director of the Institute of Animal Ecology & Evolution in Hannover and a Professor of Zoology at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. He received his PhD from the Technical University Braunschweig in 1989 in Zoology. He focused the main part of his research on the evolutionary genetics of basal metazoans, where he found the first Hox-like genes in diploblastic animals and contributed to an alternative view on early metazoan radiation, including the re-definition of the Hox system. Current and future research focuses on “Functional Placozoan Genomics”, which includes the development of new working tools for whole genome sequencing, bioinformatic analyses, functional genomics and ecological field monitoring for integrative studies on placozoans, preparing the grounds for using placozoans as a novel model system in different fields of biology, including systems biology and biomedical research. He has taught the Placozoa module in the STC since 2009.

Simon Sprecher

is a full Professor at the Department of Biology, Fribourg, Switzerland. He received his PhD from the University of Basel in 2005 in Neurobiology, studying brain development in the fruit fly embryo. He subsequently did a Postdoc at New York University before becoming Professor at the University of Fribourg. Research in the Sprecher lab covers various topics in Neurobiology ranging from evolutionary questions over developmental biology to behavioural neuroscience. Beside the fruit fly model, the Sprecher lab started transferring techniques to "emerging models" such as the acoel species Symsagittifera roscoffensis and Isodiametra pulchra as well as the Cnidarian Nematostella vectensis. He has taught the Acoels module in the STC since 2014.

Stefano Tiozzo

started his scientific career comparing the effects of cytokines on muscle regeneration in mammals and birds using in vitro approaches. Then, at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, he became interested in marine invertebrates, looking at protein evolution in sea urchins. During his Ph.D. he focused on the evolution of nervous systems in the solitary and colonial ascidian, juggling between the University of Padova (Italy), the CNRS (Paris), and the University of Queensland (Australia). During his post-doctoral work at Stanford University (USA), at the Marine Biological Laboratory (USA) and at the UC Santa Barbara (USA) he continued to work on different aspects of asexual development and regeneration of colonial ascidians. Since 2010 he has lead his own research group at the Villefranche-sur-mer Developmental Biology Laboratory (CNRS-Sorbonne University) where he mainly uses tunicates to study the evolution of non-embryonic developments, i.e. whole-body regeneration and asexual development, and he has helped teach the STC Tunicates module since 2016.