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Department of Biochemistry


Lise Boursinhac


I recently graduated from the University of Technology of Compiegne (UTC, France) with a double Master’s Degree concentrating in Design and Innovation of Bio-Products and Biotechnologies.
During my studies, I did two short internships at the Laboratory of Enzyme and Cell Engineering (CNRS-UTC, Compiègne, France) under Prof. Avalle-Bihan’s supervision. During my first project, I analysed the expression profile of the STAT5 protein in leukemic cells. My second internship involved cloning and expression of antibodies fragment (scFv) from a phage display library.
I also worked as an intern for a six months placement at IFP Energies Nouvelles (Rueil Malmaison, France), in the Biotechnologies Department. I developed a genetic tool based on the CRISPR-Cas9 system for metabolic engineering of Clostridium acetobutylicum, a bacterial strain studied for isopropanol production. Before starting my PhD, I carried out my Master’s thesis on Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity in Dr. Michael Gantier’s group at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research (Victoria, Australia). I studied how cGAS, a DNA sensor, modulates quinacrine’s activity in innate immunity.

Training and Transferable Skills:

  • Molecular biology (molecular cloning, DNA preparation, protein extraction, western blot, site-directed mutagenesis, CRISPR-Cas9, CRISPRi)
  • Cell biology (mammalian cell culture, cell transfection, viability assay)
  • Microbiology
  • Phage display
  • Microscopy (fluorescent, optical and confocal)
  • FACS

Research Projects:
CRISPR-Cas9 is a bacterial defence system that causes double-stranded breaks (DSBs) of foreign DNA. Cas9 is an RNA-guided endonuclease. It binds specifically to a DNA sequence through interactions with a PAM motif located on the DNA target, and Watson-Crick base pairing between the guide RNA and the DNA target.
Since its discovery, CRISPR-Cas9 has been repurposed as a molecular biology tool with numerous applications in genome editing and drug discovery. Contrary to most endonucleases, Cas9 can target an almost unlimited number of DNA sequences by simple engineering of appropriate guide RNAs. It can be used to knock-out or knock-in genes in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. On top of its nuclease activity, Cas9 ability to specifically binds DNA makes it an interesting tool to recruit various proteins and RNA factors.
While CRISPR-Cas9 is a powerful tool, some challenges remain regarding its use. My PhD project aims at improving the activity of Cas nucleases through mechanistic studies and directed evolutionA