Charles H. Robert

CNRS research director (DR2)


Structure, dynamics and interactions of biological macromolecules

A protein or a nucleic acid can take on an astronomical number of different conformations. Whether folding to attain a native form in an auto-structuration process at one extreme or unceasingly interconverting between unstructured conformations at the other, the conformational dynamics of these molecules and their interactions lie at the heart of Biology. That, in a nutshell, is one major motivation of my research: understanding Biology at the molecular/atomic level, with practical consequences for understanding human health and pathologies and discovering new therapies.

Yet the high dimensionality of conformational spaces (3 times the number of atoms in the molecule) makes understanding — let alone predicting— the biochemical function of a given macromolecule a decidedly non-trivial task. So another motivation is the challenge of gaining insight into these intricately complex biological systems. Here this is attempted by making use of a few recurring elements: physical-chemical reasoning, mathematical analysis, and computer simulation.

Some news (updated sporadically)

Oct 2020. The French High Performance Computing resources of GENCI (CINES) awarded 500 000 processor hours for our project on nuclear control of gene expression in organelles.

Sept 2020. An article in Nature on the 10-year Reproducibility Challenge for scientific software highlighted my successful effort to reproduce results from my own old code for modelling chromatin fibers.

Jan 2020. Seminar on the codes governing nuclear control of gene expression in chloroplasts and mitochondria at the Genopole at the University of Evry

Oct 2019. Welcome to Céline Cattelin who started her Ph.D. thesis on mRNA recognition by alpha-solenoid proteins with Ingrid Lafontaine and myself, financed by an interdisciplnary grant CNRS 80 Prime.

Sept 2018. Congratulations to Marion Sisquellas who completed her Master's degree (Univ. Paris) on the dynamics of PPR proteins with respect to mRNA recognition, financed by a CNRS interdiciplinary grant “Défi INFINITI"

Selected examples


Frédéric Cazals   Pinak Chakrabarti   Joël Janin   David Perahia   Ingrid Lafontaine

Selected publications

Laurin Y, Eyer J, Robert CH, Prévost C, Sacquin-Mora S..  2017.  Mobility and core-protein binding patterns of disordered C-terminal tails in β-tubulin isotypes.. Biochemistry. 56(12):1746–1756.