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Laureate of the 2014 ATIP Avenir program


Drawing a Family Tree for the Immune System

The production pathway of immune system cells is complex and poorly understood. Leïla Perié combines state-of-the-art experimental and mathematical tools to draw the genealogical tree of those cells.

Cells of the immune system that circulate in the blood flow all share a common ancestor : the hematopoietic stem cell. The stages hematopoietic stem cells evolve through, as they become the wide array of differentiated cells of the immune system, are mostly unknown. Leïla Perié adds molecular tags to individual stem cells and follows their entire descendance. Her research aims at improving comprehension of the production mode of immune cells.

Supported by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, Dr. Perié has brought together an interdisciplinary team at the Curie Institute in Paris. The group uses mathematical modelling along with cellular barcoding, a technique for cell lineage tracing that Dr. Perié codeveloped. That approach enables the researchers to systematically analyze the cells of the mouse immune system. Their results help understand how localization within different organs affects the fate of hematopoietic stem cells.

In parallel, the scientists on the team develop new methods for tracing single cell lineages in human beings. They wish to compare human against mouse immune cells production pathways.

The results of their research will answer fundamental questions - about the origins of the all-important dendritic cells, for example. In addition, it may improve hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in immunodeficient patients.



Leïla Perié is both an engineer in Agronomy and a doctor in Immunology. Her interdisciplinary education is a definitive asset for her chosen field of study, the stupendously complex immune system. During her Ph.D., Dr. Perié relied on interdisciplinary skills to model the localization dynamics of spleen immune cells during HIV infection.

Thereafter, as a postdoctoral researcher, she modeled how HIV's main target, the CD4+ T helper cells, synchronize their fates.

Her second postdoctoral internship in the Netherlands let her explore CD4+ T helper cells fate synchronization further. She combined theoretical and experimental approaches to develop cellular barcoding, a molecular technique for tracking single-cell lineage destiny.

In addition to her research, Dr. Perié is greatly commited to improve scientific dissemination among the general public, especially the youth. She also works for innovation in education. She has been the vice-president of the Paris Montagne association, a non-profit organization she co-founded at the beginning of her Ph.D.
Paris Montagne provides middle-school and high-school students with a first-hand experience of scientific research.

She is also a founding member of l'Atelier des Jours à Venir, a cooperative company which aims at establishing new dissemination practices in teaching and sciences.

  • 2006Engineering degree, National Engineering School of Agronomy and Food Science, Nancy (France)
  • 2009Ph.D. in Immunology, AgroParisTech Paris Institute for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences (France)
  • 2009 - 2010Postdoctoral internship, advised by Philippe Kourilsky, Collège de France, Paris (France)
  • 2009 - 2011Lecturer and course co-designer, Systems Immunology M.Sc., Interdisciplinary Research Center, Université Paris Descartes (France)
  • 2010Prize for Young Researchers, Bettencourt Schueller Foundation
  • 2011 - 2014Postdoctoral internship, The Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam and Utrecht University (Netherlands)
  • 2014ATIP-Avenir program laureate, Bettencourt Schueller Foundation
  • Since 2015Junior Team Leader, Curie Institute, Biophysics Department, Paris (France)