Meet the team

Olivier Messina


Virginia Pimmett

Post Doc

Maelle Bellec

PhD student

+33 (0)4 34 35 96 50

Room: 104



My main motivation in science is to aim at understanding how life works, starting by investigating the laws of nature. I started my high school studies in ecology and discovered molecular biology and genetics, by chance, at a lecture in Grenoble. Since then, I have never dropped genetics and drosophila. I did my master at the University of Montpellier on Genetics, Epigenetics and Cell Fate. I joined Mounia Lagha’s lab because I find it fascinating to understand how transcription is regulated in a temporal aspect, during embryogenesis and using sophisticated technics.

Mounia Lagha

Group leader

+33 (0)4 34 35 96 50

Contact eMail

Room: 104

I grew up in Algeria and moved to France when I was 13 (Besançon). My passion for biology started in high school thanks to an amazing biology teacher. I then moved to Paris to enter a ‘grande école’ (AGRO-INA-PG). This is when I had the chance to enter to a research lab, first as a summer internship, than for my master.

I did my PhD at the Pasteur Institute in Paris where I studied myogenesis in mouse developing embryos. To dig into the mechanisms of gene regulation operating during development, I decided to change model organism and worked on Drosophila. I moved to Berkeley for my post doc in 2010.

My main post-doctoral finding was that minimal promoter sequences control polymerase pausing, essential for transcriptional coordination operating during gastrulation. I started my own independent group in Montpellier in 2015.

Matthieu Dejean

Research Assistant - CNRS

+33 (0)4 34 35 96 50

Room: 104

Born and raised near Marseille, France, and allegedly the nerd of the lab; I’m mainly interested in enhancing the technical aspects of our experiments.

Jeremy Dufourt

CNRS Researcher

+33 (0)4 34 35 96 50

Having always been passionate about genetics, I quickly turned to Drosophila in order to satisfy my thirst for science. After a PhD and post-doc focusing on gene regulation by small RNAs I decided to join the team in order to be able to visualise gene regulation within a live context, still using Drosophila and genetics tools. My vision of science is highly influence by two major scientists; Francois Rabelais and Karl Popper.

Antonio Trullo

Research Engineer

+33 (0)4 34 35 96 50

I come from a small village in the south of Italy. After a degree and a PhD in theoretical physics, I decided to move into some more applied fields. First I joined the microscopy core facility at the CNIC (Madrid) working on the development of analysis techniques in the field of the Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy.

Since 2015, I moved to Montpellier and joined the IGMM to develop softwares to perform quantitative analysis on imaging data of transcription in drosophila embryos. I work on statistical tests too, to confirm or reject our working hypothesis and on mathematical modeling with our external collaborators.


Olivier Messina / Master 2 student
Marilyn Kajdan / Trainee - UM
Lucas Morales / Trainee - UM


S. De Rossi and V. Georget / Imaging (Montpellier Imaging Plateform)
E. Bertrand and E. Basyuk / Improved MS2 method (IGMM, Montpellier, France)
O. Radulescu and L. Ciandrini / Modeling (Universite de Montpellier)
M. Harrison / Production of Zelda-GFP fly line (University of Wisconsin Madison, USA)
K. Jagla and G. Junion / Cardiogenesis (Université Clermont-Ferrand, France)
J. Zeitlinger and J. Johnston / Bioinformatic analysis (Stowers Institute, Kansas City, USA)


Maelys Gicquel
Carola Fernandez / PhD Student - CNRS
Jennifer Hunter / Post-Doc - CNRS
Yayoi Wada / University of Kyoto, master 2 visiting student
Elisa Atger / Lycee Simone Weil, Montpellier, Le Puy en Velay
Rachida el Youssfi / BTS, Lycee Jean Mermoz (Montpellir), 8 weeks
Matilde Gauchier / Master 2, Université de Grenoble, 5 months (is now performing a PhD at IGH, Montpellier)
Matilde Montovani / Master 2, Université de Milan, Erasmus 10 months
Louis Redonnet / licence, Ecole centrale de Lyon, 3 months
Jonathan Lapine / licence, Université de Montpellier, 2 months
Quentin Dessables / Licence, Université de Poitiers, 3 months
Yasmine Hadj-Messaoud / Licence, Université Marseille, 4 weeks