Paul B. Rainey

Directeur de recherche

Paul was born in New Zealand and completed his bachelors, masters and PhD at the University of Canterbury. From 1989 until 2005 he was based in the UK, with much of that time spent at the University of Oxford. He transitioned back to New Zealand in 2003, firstly as Chair of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Auckland, but in 2007 he moved to the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study as one of its founding professors. Paul is currently Director of the Department of Microbial Population Biology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön (Germany), Professor at ESPCI in Paris, and still spends some time at the NZIAS, where he is a Distinguished Professor. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, an elected Member of EMBO and the European Academy of Microbiology (et son français et misérable.)

Maxime Ardré


Maître de Conférences

Maxime Ardré is a permanent researcher in the Laboratoire Génétique de l’Evolution and teach Physics and Biophysics at the ESPCI.

Having spent his early years in the south-west of France, Maxime came to Paris to complete his higher education in fundamental physics with specialisation in biophysics. His PhD was completed at Ecole Polytechnique and Université Paris-Sud (now Paris-Saclay) and concerned the dynamics of microbial biofilm formation at the water-air interface. After his doctorate he worked with Nicolas Desprat at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris on microcolonies of bacteria for which he developed a microfluidic system coupled to fluorescence microscopy. Following this first postdoc he got funded by the HFSP program to investigate on the ecology and evolution of microbes encased in droplets. He performed this work at the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study of Massey University in New Zealand. In 2018 he has been recruited as a permanent researcher at the ESPCI to follow on his research.

Maxime is currently engaged in research using droplet technologies to explore fundamental properties of microbial growth. He is also engaged in projects concerned with the biophysics of microbial mats and the molecular biology of pyoverdin production and association of this molecular with cell surfaces.

Clara Moreno-Fenoll

Postdoctoral Researcher

Clara completed her MsC and PhD at National Biotechnology Centre of the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, where she joined the Systems Biology Programme. She started her career doing computational biology and later became an experimentalist. For her first project she used models of microbial metabolisms to study how genetic interactions reflect the underlying molecular complexity. Later during her PhD she used synthetic biology to build a tractable minimal bacterial community and explore how feedbacks between evolution and ecology determine its fate. Over the course of her PhD she became particularly interested in the role of extracellular products in bacterial populations. Now in her first postdoc, she continues to work in this topic. Combining her affiliation with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology and her background in microbiology with the expertise in microscopy and microfluidics here at ESPCI provides the opportunity to approach ecological and evolutionary questions from a biophysical angle. She is now focusing on pyoverdin, a molecule secreted by bacteria to obtain insoluble iron. By applying single-cell quantitative techniques she’s trying to understand the ecological implications of changes in the distribution of pyoverdin at the subcellular level.

Steven Quistad


Former Postdoctoral Researcher

Steven is broadly interested in the origins of immunity and how viruses drive host evolution. He completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Forest Rohwer at San Diego State University where he investigated the immune system of reef-building corals. Corals are considered to be phylogenetically basal to all animal life, therefore, understanding how the coral immune system works provides insight into how the first animal immune system may have been structured. Through comparisons to the human immune system we can observe how various immune components evolved over half a billion years of evolution.

From his time at LGE Steven showed that it was possible to manipulate selfish genetic elements in complex communities and thereby link genes to microbial community function. See Research for more information.

Guilhem Doulcier


Former Phd student

Guilhem is passionate about the interactions between computational, mathematical and biological sciences. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) in ecology and evolution with a masters degree in applied mathematics at Université Pierre et Marie Curie.

His PhD work concerned the influence of population structure on major evolutionary transitions, and more specifically on the evolution of Darwinian properties at the level of collectives. See Research for more information. He also developed signal processing software used in the lab’s millifluidic experiments.