Research institutes and structures
Fundamental and applied sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, arts and creation: PSL brings together teams and researchers of exceptional quality and world renown in all fields of knowledge. They collaborate, innovate and contribute to tomorrow's scientific advances within different research structures.
PSL's research laboratories
PSL's 140 research laboratories are divided into 18 research areas.
Labex (laboratories of excellence)
PSL is the coordinating institution and Idex for 10 LabeEx. These laboratories of Excellence bring together research teams with international visibility, having chosen to join forces to develop ambitious scientific projects, play on an equal footing with their foreign counterparts, build an integrated policy of research, training and development, but also welcome students and high-level researchers.
This research is studying how coral reefs are evolving at a time of demographic and climate change. The Coral Triangle area (Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines, Papua New Guinea) is home to 30% of the planet’s reefs, and 80% of them are considered in danger of short-term extinction. Demographic change and climate change are closely intertwined. CORAIL is studying the recent past of the first colonizations and integrating that knowledge into current changes underway in reefs so as to anticipate the future, particularly in France.
The WIFI Labex hopes to become the world’s leading research facility devoted to the physics of mechanical, electromagnetic and optical waves. Interdisciplinary in approach, WIFI combines world-class research, excellence in teaching and entrepreneurialism. The institute’s researchers analyze the mechanisms by which waves of various types are propagated within the most complex environments. Scientists are using that understanding to design unique instruments, and their work is proving influential in numerous disciplines, including medicine, geophysics and communications.
DYNAMO aims to understand the supramolecular organization of the energy transduction mechanisms in both mitochondria and chloroplasts. The Labex has three major research objectives: improve our understanding of the changing forms of gene expression in mitochondria and chloroplasts; understand the biogenesis of those organelles and their membrane dynamics; identify the molecular basis of the structural and functional mechanisms that govern the contribution of those organelles to cellular bioenergetics.
The MemoLife project includes 52 research teams and 516 staffers at three IBISA research hubs devoted to the life sciences. Designed to strengthen collaboration among scientists working in different areas of the life sciences, MemoLife focuses on three disciplines – Neuroscience, Genetics and Genomics, and Cell Biology and Development – and includes a strong interdisciplinary component. Spanning multiple institutions and scientific topics, MemoLife projects have been instrumental in helping IBISA consortium members develop strong and highly innovative research programs.
Pierre-Gilles de Gennes advocated dialogue among the scientific disciplines. In that spirit, the Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Institute (IPGG) brings together complementary expertise to study the field of microfluidics, with the aim of developing fundamental research and opening doors to new applications. The IPGG aims to become a key international player in basic and applied research in microfluidics. The Institute was born out of four distinguished centers of research (ESPCI Paris, Institut Curie, ENS and Chimie ParisTech), and currently hosts 15 research teams with more than 250 researchers.
The HaStec Labex, sponsored by the École Pratique des Hautes Études, hosts multidisciplinary teams who analyze the historical correlation between knowledge, technique and belief from antiquity to the 21st century. Their research addresses emerging concerns that situate the project at the heart of current worldwide debate.
The goal of the ENS-ICFP is to bolster the international appeal and cohesion of the Physics Department at the École Normale Supérieure. This Labex plays a formative role in its three main areas of focus: research, teaching and technology transfer/knowledge dissemination. On the research side, the Junior Research Chairs program creates the opportunity to recruit every year, worldwide, three young and talented researchers capable of developing research projects that cut across the five laboratories. Alongside this research, the ENS-ICFP Master’s degree program is the key element of its teaching mission, and is a course of study taught in English.
DEEP is an ambitious research program that arose out of a contemporary insight in the field of biology: in order to create a link between genotype and phenotype, it is critical to explore the concepts of epigenesis and epigenetics simultaneously, with attention to genetics, cell biology, physics, bioinformatics and systems biology. With that goal in mind, the Institut Curie’s Department of Nuclear Dynamics and Genomic Plasticity and its Department of Genetics and Developmental Biology have joined forces with a common objective: to understand the basic mechanisms involved in embryonic development, epigenetic processes, tissue homeostasis and the regenerative capacity of tissue.
The nine teams at the DCBIOL Labex study the biology of dendritic cells and their potential therapeutic applications. Dendritic cells monitor the human body, allowing our immune systems to respond to pathogenic agents and cancerous cells. S. Amigorena and B. Malissen, co-coordinators of the DCBIOL Labex, launched this program with the conviction that with an improved knowledge of the biology of those cells, researchers could use their properties to develop cancer treatments.
PSL's strengths in artificial intelligence and data management are considerable. Based on a very solid disciplinary foundation in mathematics and computer science, these techniques are also already present in all the disciplines supported by PSL members, whether in terms of training or research. The multidisciplinary dissemination and collaboration structures already in place will soon be reinforced by the creation of a dedicated transversal program, in connection with the Interdisciplinary Institute of Artificial Intelligence (3IA) PRAIRIE (PaRis Artificial Intelligence Research InstitutE), of which PSL is a founding member.
Known as the Institut Convergences, Q-Life is at the forefront of ongoing breakthroughs in the life sciences. It brings together eleven PSL member or partner institutions and involves six Laboratories of Excellence (Labex) and two Equipex facilities from PSL’s Idex program.
With Q-Life, PSL hopes to become the global standard for training and research into how the life sciences intersect with other scientific disciplines. Advances in this area will not only allow us to better understand, model, and predict human health and fight disease, but also develop sustainable approaches to agronomy and design new ways of producing energy.
The Equipex “equipped with excellence” projects are initiatives that have been awarded funding through the French government’s “Investing in the Future” program in 2011 and 2012. Equipex funding seeks to equip France with top-of-the-line, internationally compliant scientific equipment and has become an essential factor in boosting France’s international competitiveness in several fields of science.
Sponsored by the Institut Curie and INSERM, this project aims to “advance the integration of genomic data into large-scale research programs into the mechanics of how cancer develops.” It covers everything required to meet the challenge of personalized medicine, with automation of a biological resources center, high-speed sequencer, and the development of bioinformatics software. Eventually, physicians will have access to the genomic profile of each tumor, with the rapidity and degree of precision needed to be able to incorporate this information into their therapeutic decision-making. The biological data generated could also open up new avenues of research.
The IPGG Equipex (Pierre Gilles de Gennes Institute for microfluidics) works alongside a Labex with the aim of creating a new institute dedicated to basic research in microfluidics and its applications for labs-on-a-chip (LOC). Around the cross-disciplinary topic of microfluidics, it brings together experts in complementary fields (physicists, biologists, chemists, technical experts) to develop fundamental research and open doors to new applications in the fields of health, energy, agribusiness, cosmetics and instrumentation, among others.
The Paris-en-Résonance project uses NMR spectroscopy, MRI and high-field 800 MHz dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP). Sponsored by the Biomolecules laboratory at ENS, the project’s goal is to develop an original method for improving NMR detection sensitivity and acquisition speed, for study of the molecular interactions between biomolecules and within cells. The project will develop new, higher-performing tools than what currently exists, for the study of biomolecules and materials. This in turn will allow for scientific advances in biology, medicine, and materials science.
The Planaqua project, sponsored by the École Normale Supérieure - PSL, consists in building an experimental aquatic ecology platform ranging in volume from just a few liters (microcosms) or a few cubic meters (mesocosms), to the size of an artificial lake (macrocosms). The project will be equipped with innovative instruments allowing for variations in temperature and luminosity, for example, or the generation of waves. This equipment will make it possible to conduct research in four areas:
- Measuring the impact that certain human activities have on ecology and biodiversity
- Conserving or restoring a healthy ecological state
- Developing synthetic indicators of the condition of the environment
- Developing mathematical models for sustainable farming in aquatic ecosystems
Sponsored by the Fondation Pierre-Gilles de Gennes and the Institut Langevin, this project will receive equipment for the generation and use of ultrasound, which will be used to conduct experiments on the use of ultrasound to destroy, via heat, limited targets such as brain tumors, without needing to open the skull, and to stimulate targeted brain areas through non-invasive procedures.