Pr. David Pastré, Director of the INSERM Unit U1204
Date and place of birth: 10 January 1973, in Montpellier, France.
Nationality: France.


After studying physics and optics at the University of Montpellier, David Pastré developed at the time of his thesis (1996-1999) a set up to collect cathodoluminescence in near field. During a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia (2000-2001), he designed a method to observe living mammalian cells at high-resolution with a scanning ion conductance microscope. As a teacher-researcher at the University of Evry, he deciphered the mechanisms leading to DNA absorption on mica and studied the formation of DNA and RNA/protein complexes on mica by atomic force microscopy.

David Pastré is now at the head of the SABNP laboratory (INSERM unit U1204) and professor at the University of Evry. He is currently investigating, at the cellular and molecular levels, the dynamics and structure of RNA/protein complexes involved in the control of protein synthesis and the mechanisms which regulate microtubule dynamics. He also continues to develop novel methods to explore cellular and molecular processes.


  • Director of the Research unit, INSERM U1204, since January 2015.
  • Member of the Editorial Board of Scientific Reports, NPG.
  • Members of the scientific council of the doctoral school SDSV, “Structure et dynamique des systems vivants”, University of  Paris-Saclay.


  • 44 peer reviewed journal articles or book chapters published
  • 10 articles in Physics, of which 6 as first author
  • 34 articles in Biology or Biophysics, of which 19 as corresponding author
  • ~770 Citations, h-index 15, Average citations per article: 17.5. Source: Web of Science.


  • 1996/1999: Construction of an hybrid instrument that is a combination of a scanning force microscope, a scanning near-field optical microscope and a scanning electron microscope, the resolution of which (∽100 nm) is at least an order of magnitude better than the resolution obtained with a classical cathodoluminescence imaging system (∽1 μm) using a conventional scanning electron microscope.
  • 2000/2001: Implementation of a feedback system for the ionic current microscope. The amplitude of the AC ionic current was detected by using a lock-in amplifier locked to the vibration frequency of the probe. Such a scheme allows for a better control of the tip position because the AC ionic current is more sensitive to the probe-surface distance than the DC ionic current used previously to observe biological sample and especially cells.
  • 2003/2006: Methodological development for the adsorption of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) free or in interactions with protein partners. Such developments allowed for the first time the imaging of nucleo-protein complexes by atomic force microscopy at high resolution.
  • 2006/2010: Investigations on microtubules dynamics led to a novel view on microtubule assembly. Facilitated diffusion of GTP-tubulin to the microtubule ends promote microtubule assembly, because, upon encountering a growing nucleus or the microtubule wall, random GTP-tubulin sliding on their surfaces will increase the probability of association to the target sites (MT ends).
  • 2010/2013: A detailed exploration of the mechanisms leading to the formation of so-called stress granules led to the discovery that an excess of non polysomal mRNA acts as scaffold for the aggregation process, which can be prevented in the presence of mRNA-stabilizing proteins.
  • 2015: Discovery of novel method to detect protein interactions on a microtubule bench in living cells.

MAJOR PUBLICATIONS in biological sciences

  • Mephon-Gaspard A, Boca M, Pioche-Durieu C, Desforges B, Burgo A, Hamon L, Pietrement O, Pastre D (2016) Role of tau in the spatial organization of axonal microtubules: keeping parallel microtubules evenly distributed despite macromolecular crowding. CMLS, 73: 3745-3760.
  • Kretov, D.A., Curmi, P.A., Hamon, L., Abrakhi, S., Desforges, B., Ovchinnikov, L.P. and Pastre, D. (2015) mRNA and DNA selection via protein multimerization: YB-1 as a case study. Nucleic Acids Res, 43, 9457-9473.
  • Bounedjah O, Desforges B, Wu TD, Pioche-Durieu C, Marco S, Hamon L, Curmi PA, Guerquin-Kern JL, Pietrement O, Pastre D (2014) Free mRNA in excess upon polysome dissociation is a scaffold for protein multimerization to form stress granules. Nucleic Acids Res 42: 8678-8691
  • Desforges B, Curmi PA, Bounedjah O, Nakib S, Hamon L, De Bandt JP, Pastre D (2013) An intercellular polyamine transfer via gap junctions regulates proliferation and response to stress in epithelial cells. MolBiol Cell 24: 1529-1543
  • Chernov KG, Barbet A, Hamon L, Ovchinnikov LP, Curmi PA, Pastre D (2009) Role of microtubules in stress granule assembly: microtubule dynamical instability favors the formation of micrometric stress granules in cells. J BiolChem 284: 36569-36580
  • Pastre D, Hamon L, Landousy F, Sorel I, David MO, Zozime A, Le Cam E, Pietrement O (2006) Anionic polyelectrolyte adsorption on mica mediated by multivalent cations: a solution to DNA imaging by atomic force microscopy under high ionic strengths. Langmuir 22: 6651-6660
  • Pastre D, Pietrement O, Fusil S, Landousy F, Jeusset J, David MO, Hamon L, Le Cam E, Zozime A (2003) Adsorption of DNA to mica mediated by divalent counterions: a theoretical and experimental study. Biophys J 85: 2507-2518
  • Pastre D, Iwamoto H, Liu J, Szabo G, Shao Z (2001) Characterization of AC mode scanning ion-conductance microscopy. Ultramicroscopy 90: 13-19


  • Methods and tools for detecting interactions in eukaryotic cells using microtubule structures and dynamics, WO 2016012451 A1, (2016).The invention relates to a method to identify partners of proteins in a living eukaryotic cell context.
  • A Method for the detection of specific nucleic acid hybridization , WO 2010000680 A1, (2010). The present invention relates to methods for detecting nucleic acids by specific hybridization on a mica surface using atomic force microscopy.


  • Instrumental biophysics, Licence 3 in Biology, University of Evry, Lectures and practical works
  • Advanced optical techniques and fluorescence, Master 2 SGO, University Paris-Saclay, Lecture and practical works.
  • Advanced microscopy for biologist, Master 2 SGO, University Paris-Saclay, Lecture and practical works.