Research Director, DR2 CNRS
Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, Collège de France
Bird eggs from some species studied in the laboratory
Greater rhea, emu, ostrich, quails, partridges, and pheasants eggs
Marie Manceau and her research team study the developmental mechanisms that control the formation and the evolution of the exquisitely diverse patterns that adorn the coat of animals. To identify pattern-forming dynamics, they survey and model natural variation in the plumage pattern. Specifically, they study the propagation of patterning waves, the events generating periodicity (motif repetition), and the establishment of local pattern geometries. They use a range of bird species, from poultry to emus, ostriches, finches, or penguins.
Members of the laboratory of Marie Manceau work to identify the molecules and cell/tissue events underlying pattern formation, with the long-term goal to better understand how these mechanisms shape the diversity seen in natural patterns in the wild. To do so, they use an innovative experimental design making use of natural variation in birds and mathematical modelling as powerful tools to perform developmental studies.
To this end, the laboratory established a vast and unique network of collaborations with local breeders, hobbyists, zoos, and governments (i.e., The Falkland Islands), and created a breeding facility at the Collège de France. The team focuses on the study of the vertebrate skin pattern (i.e., the spatial distribution of colour and skin appendages)
DIRECTIONALITY / POSITION OF SKIN DOMAINS
The mechanisms ensuring pattern directionality and reproducibility are poorly understood. The team works to uncover how sources of positional signals shape the direction / position of large colour domains in the plumage of Estrildid finches (about 40 species). We use transcriptomics, expression analyses, functional developmental studies, and tissue recombination experiments.
PERIODIC SKIN PATTERNING
Many animals display periodic patterns (i.e., repetitions of a basic motif at intervals of space or time). Numerical simulations can visually reproduce in silico patterns seen in nature, from zebra stripes to leopard spots, but the in vivo control of periodicity establishment remains a mystery. We work to decipher whether in Galliformes and Ratites, periodic feather and colour patterns spontaneously arise during the development of the skin tissue, or are set prior to its formation through early positional cues. We use expression analyses, genetics, mathematical modelling and tissue recombination.
MORPHOGENESIS OF FEATHER PATTERNS
Feathers are spatially arranged in dotted arrays. While those have been widely studied theoretically, the cell/tissue dynamics involved in the regulation of their size and spacing in vivo remain unknown. Here, we work to identify the morphogenetic dynamics controlling the patterning of local feather geometries across the surface of the avian skin. We use a combination of imaging in a wide range of bird groups, from Galliformes to Estridid finches and Ratites, and mathematical modelling.
- 2007 PhD, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France, Pr. Christophe Marcelle’s lab
- 2007-2013 : Postdoctoral fellow, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, United States, Pr. Hopi Hoekstra’s lab
- 2014 Appointed CR1, CNRS, Paris, France
- Since 2013 Appointed Group leader at Collège de France, Paris, France
- Since January 2020 Appointed DR2 CNRS
- Laureate of the 2020 Bettencourt Prize "Coups d'Elans pour la Recherche Française"
- Laureate of the Richard Lounsbery Prize, 2020
- HFSP Collaboration Grant, 2019
- Laureate of the CNRS Bronze Medal, 2019
- Labex Memolife Collaborative Grant, 2017
- Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), 2015
- IDEX-PSL Research Grant, 2015
- ATIP-Avenir Grant, 2013
Prix Bettencourt “Coups d’Elans pour la Recherche Française“, 2020
The embryonic origin of periodic colour patterns. 2020. (French)
2020, C.R. Biol
The embryonic origin of periodic colour patterns.
2020, Dev Biol