Created 13/06/2024 Updated 04/07/2024

Studies of microbiomes - communities of microbes interacting with each other, with their animal and plant hosts, and with their environments - are revealing the evolutionary, functional and ecosystemic importance of these creatures, which are both the most abundant and the oldest forms of life on our planet. As a result, microbes are directly or indirectly among the objects of study of a great many disciplines, which might otherwise seem essentially disjointed, since they focus on different objects and questions. Microbiome studies therefore now appear not only as sources of inspiration and new knowledge about our past, but also as bearers of a yet-to-be-defined transformative potential, or even as vectors of unsuspected scientific unification, towards, perhaps, a coming global 'microbiome revolution', characterized by this GDR, and which would profoundly change legal, ethical, medical, biological, philosophical, architectural, political and artistic conceptions and practices.

The international, multidisciplinary GDR REVMICNAT aims to bring together the skills of a wide variety of colleagues from research teams in different disciplines in which the 'microbiome' object is gradually (or suddenly) taking on an increasingly important role, in order to carry out a wide-ranging collective reflection on the extent of the consequences of recent discoveries on microbiomes.

Recognized experts from a wide range of disciplines will examine the consequences of these discoveries on concepts and practices, identifying a "before" and an "after" for the inclusion of microbiomes in their disciplines. Lawyers, philosophers of science and of the environment, biologists, artists, architects and science popularizers will meet, share their points of view and their experiences to assess together the consequences of the discoveries around microbiomes.

This cross-fertilization of perspectives will not only reveal the singular impact of microbiome studies on each of these disciplines, but also identify any shared trends induced by the consideration of microbiomes, while painting an overall picture of the conceptual renovation accompanying the realization that species, including our own, do not live alone, but are always surrounded and shaped by microbiomes.

To achieve its objective, REVMICNAT will use all the means traditionally available to GDRs: student exchanges between participating laboratories, facilitated internal collaborations, proposals for the organization of thematic schools and conferences (Ecole d'été du CNRS, Conférence Jacques Monod), the annual organization of free colloquia, open to the general public and academic colleagues (registration required), and, at regular intervals, the publication of articles and review books.

Annual colloquia will play a structuring role in this GDR, as they will provide an opportunity to expand the list of GDR participants and experts, based on the approaches already identified as foundational (legal, philosophical, ethical, scientific, artistic and popularization approaches). To this end, each contributor to the first year's colloquium will be invited to identify and nominate a colleague from his or her own speciality, motivated by the challenges of this GDR. This colleague will in turn be invited to speak at the second-year symposium, and so on. Each year, speakers from previous years will also be invited to take part in the current year's symposium, and to send members of their laboratories and students.

More specifically, these recurring participants will act as chairpersons and scientific referees during the upcoming symposium. The arrival of these scientific respondents will be facilitated in part by REVMICNAT funding. However, for those scientific sponsors who wish to do so, additional funding will be sought to facilitate their presence throughout the symposium. On the other hand, each year's guests, selected by the GDR REVMICNAT scientific committee, will be fully financed for the duration of the project by the REVMICNAT annual funding. Naturally, each of these symposia will be open to the public (with free registration), and in particular to doctoral and post-doctoral students in the disciplines concerned. The colloquia will also be publicized via the mainstream media (radio, scientific journals), as several GDR members are in regular contact with the media. Recordings of the presentations will also be publicly available on the web.

This aggregative and open approach will thus help to identify teams and researchers working in a research sector where the consideration of microbes and knowledge about microbes is likely to transform established knowledge. The objectives of this research protocol will therefore be twofold. On the one hand, to ensure the development of the network thanks to contributions from a renewed set of contributors, in a format that encourages discussion and meetings between researchers, doctoral students and post-doctoral fellows, thus anchoring multi-disciplinary cooperation. The 2nd, 4th and 5th years will also see the completion of a large-scale synthesis. For the first two years, this synthesis work will take the form of at least one multidisciplinary journal article (published in line with CNRS open science policies), followed by a collective published work. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations between at least two members of the GDR will be encouraged and supported to the extent of available financial resources (in particular by enabling working meetings).

PI : Fabrice Not

Legal aspects of the Microbiome: Géraldine Aïdan

Anthropology and microbiomes: Frédéric Keck

Philosophy and microbiomes: Philippe Huneman

Scientific coordination/animation: Eric Bapteste

Environmental microbiology and microbiomes: Catherine Larose

Arts and microbiome: FJ Lapointe and Liliane Campos

Health & Microbiome: Philippe Gérard

Holobionts and microbiomes: Manuel Blouin

Architecture and microbiomes: Philippe Rahm

Scientific diffusion and microbiomes: Marc-André Sélosse

Bioremediation and microbiomes: Laura Hug



Provisional program ‘REVMICNAT 5th edition’:

9:00-9:05: A few welcome words.  Dr. E. Bapteste (CNRS, ISYEB, Paris, France)

9:06-9:26: Today’s Biology: The microbiome within the microbiome.  Dr. Eduardo Rocha (Pasteur, France)

9:27-9:47: Today’s Biology: Lessons from microbiomes from the past. Dr. Catherine Larose (CNRS-Université Grenoble Alpes, France)

9:48-10:08: Today’s Biology: Biodeterioration and microbiomes. Dr. Yvan Moënne-Loccoz (UMR CNRS 5557 Ecologie Microbienne, UMR INRAe 1418 - VetAgro Sup, Université Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France)

10:09-10:29: Today’s Biology: Holobionts and macroalgae.  Dr. François Thomas (CNRS, Roscoff, France)  

10:30-10:50: Today’s Biology: Addressing the role of perturbations in microbiome dynamics. Dr. Marco Fondi (Biology Dep., University of Florence, Italy)

5 minutes break

10:55-11:15: Politics : The geopolitics of microbes. Dr. Gitte du Plessis (Academy of Finland Research Fellow, Politics, Tampere University)

11:16-11:36: Religion :  Religion, Animals, and the Theological Anthropology of Microbes in the Pandemicene. Dr. Aminah Al-Attas Bradford (Department of Applied Ecology, NC State University, USA)

11:37-11:57: Design: Fashion, bioactive textiles and microbiomes. Dr. Cláudia Suellen Ferro de Oliveira (CBQF - Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal)

LUNCH BREAK (1h30 for all speakers)

13:30-13:50: ArtDoing art with microbiomes. Lise Leloutre (Beaux-Arts de Paris, Paris, France)

13:51-14:11: Art: Microbes, viruses and science-fiction. Marie Truffié (Graduated from L’Ecole des Arts Décoratifs de Paris, France) 

14:12-14:32: Architecture: Microbiomes and the History of Architecture. Pr. Mark Wigley (Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University, New York, USA) 

14:33-14:53:  Law sciences: Microbiomes and the evolution of laws. Dr. Laure Thomasset (Institut Catholique de Paris, Faculté de Sciences Sociales, d'Economie et de Droit (FASSED), France) 

14:54-15:14:  Today’s Biology: Person-to-person-microbiome transmission. Dr. Mireia Valles-Colomer (distancial) (Department of Medicine and Life Sciences UPF (MELIS-UPF), Barcelona, Spain) 

15:15-15:35: Tomorrow’s Biology: Microbiomes and the plastisphere. Dr. Méril Massot (Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive, CNRS-UMR 5175, Montpellier, France)

5 minutes break

15:40-16:00: Philosophy: Responsibility and the Microbiome. Dr. Kristien Hens (University of Antwerp, Department of philosophy, Antwerpen. Belgium)

16:01-16:21: Tomorrow’s Biology: The impact of microbiome studies on astrobiology as a field. Dr. Michael Macey (School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK)

16:22-16:39: One spot to be funded by the GDR – for you, maybe? You can apply at; your application will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee of Revmicnat