Eric Bapteste

Eric Bapteste

Institut de Biologie Paris Seine; Department of evolutionary biology; University Pierre et Marie Curie

Bapteste owns a PhD in evolutionary biology and a PhD in philosophy of biology. He is Directeur de Recherche at the CNRS. His work consists in expanding the use of networks in biological sciences in order to improve the analyses of the evolution of biological complexity, while taking into account the multi-level organization of living beings, the impact of introgression in biology (such as genetic transfers, and the nestedness of evolving entities), and the need to also include very divergent entities in this bigger evolutionary picture. With his excellent colleagues, Bapteste seeks to contribute to network-thinking in evolutionary biology.

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Eric Bapteste received his first PhD degree in Evolutionary Biology from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2003, where he studied the general phylogeny of eukaryotes, and his second PhD degree in Philosophy of Biology from La Sorbonne (Paris I) in 2007, in which he started questionning the scope and relevance of a universal tree like model in evolution. He did a post-doc at Dalhousie University (Nova Scotia, Canada) from 2003-2006, investigating the web of life, and the complex paths of lateral gene transfers between prokaryotes, in the lab of Ford Doolittle, a most impressive mentor. He became CNRS Researcher in 2007, and Directeur de Recherche in 2015. In 2009, he won the Paoletti Prize, and in 2014, he received an ERC grant to develop network methods to complement the analytical framework in evolutionary biology. He has published over 60 scientific papers, and 2 books.

Bapteste’s work is largely collaborative and divided in several areas: i) to identify and study chimeric genes and genomes, ii) to detect and analyze the common ‘genetic goods’ shared between gene families and within microbial communities, iii) to test whether genetic diversity in environmental sequences is significantly larger, both quantitatively and qualitatively, than genetic diversity in some important gene families of cultured organisms (and their mobile genetic elements), iv) to diffuse network-thinking to a broader audience, beyond the community of evolutionary biologists, in particular amongst philosophers and linguists.