BRIAT Jean-François

Jean-François Briat is Honorary Research Director at the CNRS. An agricultural engineer at ENITA in Bordeaux and a doctor of state in cellular and molecular biology (UJF Grenoble), he began his research in Professor Mache's laboratory at UJF on the study of the structure and functioning of the transcription apparatus for plant chloroplasts. He then contributed to the analysis of prokaryotic transcription systems in Professor Chamberlin's laboratory at the Université de Berkeley. Back in Grenoble, he began studying iron metabolism in higher plants. The first part of this study concerns ferritins, proteins that store iron in a soluble, bio-usable and non-toxic form. This work has greatly contributed to defining the concept of biofortification used today by many laboratories to increase the amount of iron in genetically modified plants. In a second step, he undertook the analysis of iron deficiency and transport of this metal, by creating an ATIPE team from the CNRS in Montpellier, in the laboratory of Prof. Grignon (currently Laboratoire de Biochimie et physiologie moléculaire des plantes (B&PMP)). During this new phase two major molecular breakthroughs were made by characterizing the iron transport systems of the plant kingdom. Some of this fundamental research work has been transferred to more applied INRA research laboratories, making it possible to: (i) test different hypotheses of plant biofortification to improve animal and/or human diets, and (ii) measure the impact of changes in iron homeostasis in plants on the biodiversity of microbial communities in the rhizosphere. Elected corresponding member of the Académie d'Agriculture de France in 2015, he headed the département de Biologie Végétale of INRA from 1999 to 2002 and the UMR Biochimie et physiologie moléculaire des plantes in Montpellier from 2007 to 2012.

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