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Dr. Benoit Chassaing

Principal Investigator

Dr. Benoit Chassaing obtained his PhD in microbiology at the University of Clermont-Ferrand (France), identifying factors involved in the virulence of adherent and invasive Escherichia coli strains (pathovar involved in the etiology of Crohn's disease).


Following his PhD defense in 2011, he joined Georgia State University to work with Dr. Andrew T. Gewirtz on various subjects related to mucosal immunology, trying to decipher how genetic and environmental factors can perturb intestinal microbiota composition in a detrimental way, leading to intestinal inflammation.

Currently associate professor, his laboratory is part of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and focus on understanding how environmental factors are involved in shaping detrimental microbiota, with a particular focus on intestinal inflammation and metabolic deregulations.

Melissa Kordahi, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

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Melissa obtained her BS in Biology at the American University of Beirut and then her PharmD at the Lebanese American University in 2014 in Lebanon. 


She moved to the USA in 2015 to pursue a PhD degree in Molecular Medicine and Mechanisms of Disease at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she worked on the microbial etiology of colorectal cancer. Her findings showed that gut microorganism Bacteroides fragilis is enriched in the colon mucosa of patients with pre-cancerous lesions and correlated to more inflammation and larger lesions in the human host. She also found that Bacteroides fragilis isolated from the mucosa of patients with colorectal adenomas was enriched in an LPS biosynthesis gene and displayed an inflammatory/pathogenic phenotype in vitro when compared to B. fragilis isolates from healthy adenomas-free patients. 


Melissa joined the Chassaing laboratory in Paris as a Postdoctoral fellow to continue to study invaders of the colon mucosa and how they can drive colorectal cancer.


Outside the lab, Melissa is the author of a science blog called the Last Human Organ. She also loves performing arts, particularly theatre, as well as exploring the great outdoors. 

Héloïse Rytter, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

Héloïse obtained her master‘s degree in microbiology in 2019 at the Sorbonne Université.

Then she pursued a PhD degree at Institut Necker-Enfants Malades in Paris. Her research focused on the importance of bacterial metabolism in virulence of Francisella tularensis, a potential bioterrorism agent. She also studied cellular mechanisms involved in dissemination of facultative intracellular pathogens (Francisella tularensis, Salmonella enterica).

After her PhD defense in 2022, she immediately joined Chassaing laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow in order to identify bacteria and bacterial functions involved in response to food additive.

Héloïse loves reading, traveling and going out. She also likes testing new recipes for her greedy (or courageous) friends.

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Clara Delaroque

PhD student


Clara graduated from the magistère européen de génétique at the Université de Paris in 2020. 


During her master’s degree, she joined the laboratory of Dr Julie Morrissey in Leicester (UK), where she focused on S.aureus copper resistance. She then joined the laboratory of Dr Florence Marlow in New York (USA) for a project based on mitochondria selection during oogenesis in zebrafish. For her final master’s research project, she focused on how enteric detection of bacterial flagellin shapes the developing immune system in early life in the laboratory of Dr Gérard Eberl in the Pasteur institute.


Clara joined Dr. Benoit Chassaing’s laboratory as a PhD student in order to investigate the transgenerational consequences of intestinal microbiota alteration. 


In addition to science, Clara loves traveling and spending time with friends (and beer!) and family. She also enjoys cooking and fencing - so WATCH OUT !

Erica Bonazzi

PhD student

Erica completed her Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology in 2017 at the University of Bologna (Italy), where she studied the shelf life of an innovative food product made of fermented dried fruits.

She then earned a master’s Degree in Food Technology at the University of Parma in 2019, focusing on Human Nutrition. During her Master she joined the “Erasmus + Programme” and she spent the second year in Ghent (Belgium), where she studied the effect of the use of rare sugars in human diet, using in vitro models of digestion, in order to prevent diabetes type-2 and other metabolic disorders. During her research she developed a model of digestion including Caco-2 cells mimicking the human interaction between intestinal cells and the food compounds, in order to take into account the cellular cross-talk mechanism involved in health.

Erica joined the Dr Chassaing’s laboratory in Paris in 2020 as a Ph.D. fellow to study the interactions between defensins and the intestinal microbiota.

Besides science, Erica loves running, traveling and reading, as well as going out with her friends and eating Pizza !!

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Zoya Dixit
PhD student

Zoya holds a Bachelor of Technology in Biotechnology from Manipal Institute of Technology, India, and a Master of Science in Life Science from Central University of Gujarat, India. After relocating to the USA, Zoya worked with various non-profit organizations, including re-engaging veterans through vocational rehabilitation and assisting immigrants with cultural integration including English language learning.

In 2019, Zoya moved to France and joined the quantitative evolutionary biology lab of Olivier Tenaillon as a research engineer, where she implemented High Throughput Genome Editing technology in natural isolates of E. coli. Her Ph.D. project focuses on studying the eco-evolutionary dynamics of natural isolates of E. coli in the complex environment of the gut microbiota using in-vitro models such as the MBRA (Mini Bioreactor Array), with a specific emphasis on studying colonization by these natural isolates.


Zoya is also a communication manager for the young researchers of Cochin (JeCCo) and enjoys graphic design, reading books, hiking, practicing yoga, and exploring Paris on foot.  

Charlene Dauriat
Assistant Engineer

Charlène obtained her DUT diploma in 2012 in Biological Engineering from Caen University (France). In 2014, she graduated with a BSc in Biology from Rennes University (France).


After spending a year in Australia, she moved back to France and joined Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC, Paris), where she earned a master’s degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology specialized in Microbiology. During her master’s research project, she worked for few months in Dr Jason Mercer’s lab at the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Cell Biology in London, where she studied the characterization of Vaccinia Virus extracellular virions formation. She next joined the laboratory of Dr Arrieumerlou at Cochin Institute, where she investigated the role of the protein ALPK1 in the mechanism of heptose-1,7-bisphosphate sensing during Shigella flexneri infection.


In 2018, Charlène started to work in food quality control at Mérieux NutriSciences, before rejoining Dr Arrieumerlou’s team in order to help to identify a new phosphatase potentially involved in lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis in Shigella flexneri.


Charlène is now member of Dr Chassaing’s laboratory as an Assistant Engineer, where she is using molecular approaches to study microbiota composition and function.


During her free time, Charlène loves painting, playing and listening to music. She also enjoys art exhibitions, photography as well as traveling, cooking and spending time with her family and friends.

Picture Charlene for Chassaing's lab web

Chloé Robert
Assistant Engineer

Chloé completed her Engineering degree in Food science and technology in 2022 at the Institut Agro Rennes and specialized in Nutrition and Health at AgroParisTech engineering school (France). This multidisciplinary course allowed her to broaden various skills and knowledge.

In 2020, she studied during 4 months the emulsifying properties of fish skin gelatin at the Technical University of Denmark with the Dr. Casanova. However, it was really during her final year internship for the Canada Excellence Research Chair on the Microbiome-Endocannabinoidome Axis in Metabolic Health at the Nutrition Institute of the University Laval (Quebec), that she felt the need to get involved in research on intestinal well-being. She worked for 6 months on the development and optimization of screening methods enabling the study of the intestinal microenvironment through organoid coculture on the supervision of Dr. Veilleux.

In 2023, she joined Dr. Chassaing laboratory as a study engineer in order to determinate the effect of multiple molecules by experimenting with the microbiota in vitro MBRA.


Besides science, Chloé loves discovering new places and as an adept of photography, capturing moments of life behind in her camera. She also expresses her creativity through her drawings.


Sabrine Naimi, PhD
Post-doctoral fellow

Anouk Viry
Undergraduate student

Laurie Bonnal

Undergraduate student

Hanh Tong
Assistant Engineer

Anne-Charlotte Heba
PhD student

Anders Torp
PhD student

Noémie Daniel
Post-doctoral fellow

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