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24, chemin de Borde Rouge -Auzeville - CS52627 31326 Castanet Tolosan cedex - France

Last update: May 2021

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Gilles PILATE (Research Director - HDR)

Molecular Physiology of Wood Formation Team (BOIS) - "Deciphering molecular mechanisms responsible for wood formation"


Research Officer at BioForA UMR (Integrated Biology for Forest and Tree Diversity Valuation, part of the ECOFA Department of INRAE) 

Scientific Manager of LICA (Tree Cellular Engineering Lab,

Assignment manager to the Presidence of INRAE Val de Loire Centre


  • 2019. DU Integrated Bioinformatics, Paris Diderot University
  • 2002. HDR in Life Sciences, Faculty of Sciences, Orleans University
  • 1985-1987. PhD thesis, Paris VI University, Life Sciences, Plant Biology and Physiology, Experimental Ontogeny Laboratory, fellowship from the French Research Ministry
  • 1984. MS degree in Plant Biology and Physiology, Paris VI University

Professional experiences

  • November 1991-present. Research scientist at INRA, now INRAE, BioForA UMR (previously AGPF), Val de Loire Centre
  • 1989-1991. Research Associate, Conifer Biotechnology Lab, Plant Biotechnology Institute, NRCC, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • 1988. Post-doctoral position, Molecular Genetic Laboratory, Biological Science Division, NRCC, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Summit Canadian fellowship.

Academic associations

  • 2009 : elected at the “International Academy of Wood Science”

Research area / technical skills

  • Identification of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the tension stresses present in the cell walls of tension wood fibres. Collaborations with LMGC (CNRS-Montpellier) and ECOFOG (INRAE CNRS UMR in French Guyana, ANR Blanc project ‘Stress in Trees’, PhD of Fernanda Guedes and Amra Secerovic)
  • Effects of lignin modifications of GM poplar wood on saccharification efficiency. Collaboration with VIB Ghent, BIA (INRAE Nantes), IJPB (INRAE Versailles), FARE (INRAE Reims)
  • Tension wood : lint and saccharification efficiency (FP7 EnergyPoplar EU project, ANR Blanc project ‘Stress in Trees’, regional project ‘OPeNSPeNU’)
  • Toward designing a model for secondary cell wall construction in poplar wood fibres (Clément Cuello PhD)
  • Implementation on poplar of novel genome editing techniques (PIA Genius project)

Ongoing projects

  • OPeNSPeNU “Stink and lint : poplar breeding for novel uses ”, Project of regional interest, 2017-2020, project coordinator
  • GENIUS ‘Towards precise engineering of plant genomes, ‘Investments for the Future’ project, 2011-2020
  • Quantitative and qualitative assessment of the French resources in aspen for the production of baking molds’, project from the French Ministry of Food and Agriculture, 2020
  • PRESTO ‘High throughput prediction of trees and grape vine vulnerability towards biotic and abiotic stresses’, regional project, 2020-2022

PhD student supervision

  • Clément Cuello (2017-2020) Toward designing a model for secondary cell wall construction in poplar wood fibres, Orleans University, fellowship from the French Research Ministry, co-supervision with Annabelle Déjardin
  • Amra Šećerović (2013-2016) Identification and characterization of molecular players potentially responsible for the mechanical properties of tension wood. Orleans University, fellowship from INRA and the ANR Blanc project ‘StressInTrees’), co-supervision with Annabelle Déjardin
  • Fernanda Guedes (2010-2013) Toward identifying molecules responsible for the mechanical properties of poplar tension wood. Orleans University, CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Level Personnel, Brazilian Ministry of Education) fellowship.
  • Régis Fichot (2007-2010) Xylem structural and functional variability in relation to plasticity of poplar in response to drought. Orleans University, fellowship from the French Research Ministry, co-supervision with Franck Brignolas
  • Dominique Arnaud (2004-2007) Identification and characterization of the LIM protein family in poplar. Orleans University, fellowship from the Centre Region, co-supervision with Dominique Locker
  • Florian Lafarguette (1999-2003) Identification and characterization of differentially expressed genes during tension wood formation in poplar. Orleans University, fellowship from the Centre Region
  • Melinda Gatineau (1998-2002) Toward a better understanding on the absence of syringyl monomers in conifer lignins: a genetic engineering approach. Orleans University, fellowship from the Centre Region, co-supervision with Marie-Anne Lelu
  • Françoise Laurans (1994-1997) Histological definition of and molecular approach to investigate poplar/rust interactions. Orleans University, fellowship from the French Research Ministry, co-supervision with Daniel Cornu
  • Valérie Levée (1993-1996) Transformation via Agrobacterium tumefaciens of hybrid larch (Larix x leptoeuropaea) and transgenic plant regeneration. Orleans University, fellowship INRA/Centre Region, co-supervision with Daniel Cornu and Marie-Anne Lelu