Dr. Robert obtained his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Université de Sherbrooke in 1999, where he studied the structure of the RNA polymerase II pre-initiation complex. He then did a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research under the supervision of Dr. Richard A. Young. During his postdoc, Dr. Robert and his colleagues developed ChIP-chip, an assay that allowed the identification of protein-DNA interactions at the genomic level. Dr. Robert developed an interest in chromatin biology during his time in the Young lab and published the first studies looking at the genome-wide localization of chromatin regulators. Dr. Robert started his career as an independent investigator in 2003 by joining the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM), where he has been ever since. He is currently Full IRCM Research Professor, Full Research Professor in the Medicine Department of Université de Montréal and Adjunct Professor in the Division of Experimental Medicine in the Department of Medicine at McGill University. The Robert lab has made important contributions to several aspects of gene expression regulation, notably on histone variants, histone chaperones, the Mediator complex and the RNA polymerase II C-terminal domain.

Photo of Francois Robert, IRCM



Transcription by RNA polymerase II

My entire career has been dedicated at understanding transcription by RNA polymerase II. I started with in vitro assays as a graduate student and gradually became interested in addressing mechanisms in vivo using genome-wide approaches.

1999 - 2003

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Postdoctoral fellow in Functional genomics

Laboratory of Richard A. Young, Ph.D.

The role of chromatin in gene expression

Chromatin is an inherent component of gene expression. It can influence transcription but can also be reorganized by transcription. Understanding this back and forth dialog has always been an important part of my work.

1994 - 1999

Université de Sherbrooke

Ph.D. in Molecular biology

Laboratory of Benoit Coulombe, Ph.D.

1991 - 1994

Université de Sherbrooke

B.Sc. in Biology

Molecular mechanisms of cellular processes

Understanding the details of how things work is driving my research. I am a strong believer that one needs to understand something before trying to fix it.

Functional genomics

In order to understand details, one has sometimes to step back and look at the wider picture. Using genome-wide approaches, we are able –by compiling data from thousands of genes– to appreciate details that would be impossible to see otherwise.

Model organisms

I am a big advocate of model organisms. Yeasts, flies, worms and others have been outstanding contributors to our knowledge of cellular processes. Our lab’s favorite model is the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.