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

Last update: May 2021

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Fractionation of AgroResources and Environment lab

PAËS Gabriel

Research Director - Lab Director
Gabriel __

Adress: UMR FARE, 2 esplanade Roland-Garros, BP 224, 51686 Reims, France
Phone: +33 (0)3 26 77 36 25
Fax: +33 (0)3 26 77 35 99

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Research Topics

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My research projects aim at developing new approaches to improve our understanding of the plant cell wall architecture and of its recalcitrance towards action of enzymes. My objective is to model the deconstruction of plant cell wall by determining and hierarchizing locking points that prevent controlled deconstruction of biomass. Overall strategy is based on imaging plant cell walls while measuring mobility and interactions of fluorescent probes such as polymers and proteins (enzymes, CBMs) in model assemblies and native or pre-treated plant cell walls samples, by using state-of-the-art and new F-techniques (FRAP, FLIM, FRET) and 4D imaging. Results obtained are correlated to spectral and physico-chemical properties of the analysed samples to optimise enzyme efficiency and biomass transformation. Results obtained and methods developed aim at being integrated in global biorefinery strategy to make bioproducts economically viable while considering their economical impact.


Biorefinery, lignocellulosic biomass, recalcitrance, enzyme, accessibility, interaction, microscopy, fluorescence, 4D, modelling


ANR grant: PI of Lignoprog (2014-2018) and WP leader of Funlock (2013-2018)

INRA grant: PI of Mobiprot (2013-2014), participant in Enzydam (2011-2012), Apsali (2013-2014) and FluoFlax4D (2018-2019)

Others: participant in Futurol, several projects at SOLEIL synchrotron


Since 2021 - Lab Director, FARE laboratory (Reims)

Since 2017 - Research Director (DR2), FARE laboratory

2014-2017 - Researcher (CR1), FARE laboratory

2009-2014 - Junior Researcher (CR2), FARE laboratory

2007-2009 - Research Engineer, METabolic EXplorer, Clermont-Ferrand - Development of enzymatic assays and of purification and characterization protocols of enzymes dedicated to metabolic engineering projects to produce chemicals by industrial fermentation

2006-2007 - Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Marseille / INRA (UMR 1163 BCF) - Integration of genes coding for new cellulases and hemicellulases into the genome of Trichoderma reesei

2005-2006 - Post-doctoral Researcher, University of Nantes / CNRS (UMR 6204 U3B) and University of Reims / INRA (UMR 614 FARE) -  Structure/function relationships between the motion of hemicellulases loops and substrate accessibility by coupling molecular modelling and robotics approaches


2016 - Accreditation to supervise research (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches), University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne. Exploring Lignocellulosic Biomass!

2001-2005 - PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne / INRA (UMR FARE) - Structure/function study of thermostable hemicellulases: GH-11 xylanase and GH-51 arabinofuranosidase from Thermobacillus xylanilyticus

2004 - Marie-Curie fellow (during my PhD), The Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Copenhague (Danemark) - Cristallisation and X-ray cristallography of hemicellulases

2001 - Master of Physical-chemistry and quality of bio-products, Sciences Faculty, University of Nantes

2000 - Master of Chemistry-Biology, IUP of Chemistry-Biology, University of Nantes


Design and characterization of bio-inspired lignocellulosic assemblies
Design and characterization of fluorescent probes
Characterization of plant biomass samples
Microscopy tools to investigate cell wall architecture (fluorescence spectroscopy, FLIM), probe mobility (FRAP) and interactions (FLIM-FRET)
3D & 4D imaging
Molecular biology of procaryotes and microbiology of procaryotes/eukaryotes
Purification and biochemical/enzymatic/biophysical characterization of recombinant proteins/enzymes
Cristallogenesis, molecular modelling/dynamics of proteins


38 peer-reviewed articles, 45+ oral communications and posters in national and international meetings, 3 book chapters

Selected relevant articles:

Zoghlami A, Paës G* (2019) Lignocellulosic biomass: understanding recalcitrance and predicting hydrolysis. Front. Chem. 7. Open Access

Zoghlami A, Refahi Y, Terryn C, Paës G* (2019) Multimodal characterization of acid-pretreated poplar reveals spectral and structural parameters strongly correlate with saccharification. Bioresour. Technol. 293, 122015. DOI

Lambert E, Aguié-Béghin V, Dessaint D, Foulon L, Chabbert B, Paës G*, Molinari M* (2019) Real time and quantitative imaging of lignocellulosic films hydrolysis by Atomic Force Microscopy reveals lignin recalcitrance at nanoscale. Biomacromolecules 20, 515-527. DOI

Herbaut M, Zoghlami A, Habrant A, Falourd X, Foucat L, Chabbert B, Paës G (2018) Multimodal analysis of pretreated biomass species highlights generic markers of lignocellulose recalcitrance. Biotech. Biofuels 11, 52. Open Access

Terryn C, Paës G, Spriet C (2018) FRET-SLiM on native autofluorescence: a fast and reliable method to study interactions between fluorescent probes and lignin in plant cell wall. Plant Methods 14, 74. Open Access

Chabbert B, Habrant A, Herbaut M, Foulon L, Aguié-Béghin V, Garajova S, Grisel S, Bennati-Granier C, Gimbert-Herpoel I, Jamme F, Refregiers M, Sandt C, Berrin JG, Paës G (2017) Action of lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase on plant tissue is governed by cellular type. Scientific Reports 7, 17792. Open Access

Auxenfans T, Terryn C, Paës G (2017) Seeing biomass recalcitrance through fluorescence. Scientific Reports 7, 8838. Open access

Auxenfans T, Crônier D, Chabbert B, Paës G (2017) Understanding the structural and chemical changes of plant biomass following steam explosion pretreatment. Biotechnology for Biofuels 10, 36. Open Access

Paës G, Habrant A, Ossemond J, Chabbert B (2017) Exploring accessibility of pretreated poplar cell walls by measuring dynamics of fluorescent probes. Biotechnology for Biofuels 10: 15 Open Access

Fong M, Berrin JG, Paës G (2016) Investigation of the binding properties of a multi-modular GH45 cellulase using bioinspired model assemblies. Biotechnology for Biofuels 9: 12 Open access

Paës G (2014) Fluorescent probes for exploring plant cell wall deconstruction: a review. Molecules 19: 9380-9402 Open access

Paës G, Burr S, Saab MB, Molinari M, Aguié-Béghin V and Chabbert B (2013) Modeling progression of fluorescent probes in bioinspired lignocellulosic assemblies. Biomacromolecules 14: 2196–2205 DOI

Paës G, Berrin JG, Beaugrand J (2012) GH11 xylanases: structure/function/properties relationships and applications. Biotechnol. Adv. 30: 564-592 DOI

PhD supervision

Laurent CHAPILLON (2020-2023). Modélisation spatio temporelle de la déconstruction de la biomasse lignocellulosique. Thesis director, co-director: Yassin Refahi (FARE)

Amandine LEROY (2018-2022). Approche multi-échelle du suivi dynamique de la déconstruction de la biomasse lignocellulosique. Thesis director, co-director: Fabienne Guillon (INRAE)

Aya ZOGHLAMI (2016-2019). Techniques avancées de microscopie pour l’imagerie 4D de la déconstruction de la biomasse lignocellulosique. Thesis director, co-director: Christine Terryn (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne) and Yassin Refahi (FARE). Thesis defended on December 12t, 2019 (3 articles)

Eléonore LAMBERT (2015-2018). Apports de la Microscopie à Force Atomique à l’étude de phénomènes dynamiques en biologie et développement instrumental associé. Thesis director: Michaël Molinari (Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne). Supervisor of a thesis chapter. Thesis defended on December 20th, 2018 (2 articles)

Mickaël HERBAUT (2014-2017). Déconstruction de la biomasse lignocellulosique : corrélation entre la progression et l’activité enzymatiques. Directeur de thèse. Thesis defended on October 13th, 2017 (5 articles)


Expert for Horizon Europe programme (12 projects reviewed in 2019 and 2020)

Member of the Editorial Board of Frontiers in Chemistry (Frontiers, since 2019) and Polysaccharides (MDPI, since 2020)

Guest Editors of Special Issues:

- From Biomass to Advanced Bio-Based Chemicals & Materials: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, in Frontiers in Chemistry (2019)

- Pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass: established technologies and recent developments, in JoVE (2020)

- Lignocellulose: Properties, Characterization and Applications, in Polysaccharides (2021)

- Lignocellulosic Polymers: Fractionation and Characterization, in Polymers (2021)

- Biomass Steam Explosion Pretreatment for Bioproducts, in Frontiers in Chemistry (2021)

Reviewer: 110+ articles and reviews in 30+ different journals

Other Activities

FARE lab: responsible for the Communication.

CEPIA division at INRAE: coordinator of the "Design of the food and bioproducts quality" challenge (2017-2020), elected member of the Scientific Board (2016-2020), member of the Specialised Scientific Commission (CSS) SIAMM for the evaluation of researchers, member of the Communication group (2014-2020)

National: member of the French Plant Cell Wall network (since 2014), CFDT trade union member (2011-2014 & 2015-2017) at the INRA National Commission for Researchers.

International: chairman of the Exploring Lignocellulosic Biomass (ELB) meeting held in Reims in 2016, 2018 and 2022.