Institute for Integrative Biology of the Cell


The motivation behind constructing the Institute of Integrative Biology of the Cell (I2BC) was the desire to improve the impact of studies in molecular and cellular biology carried out by teams pursuing similar or complementary work but spread over three independent campuses in the Saclay area. In 2010 and 2011, the Investment Plan for the Future proposed the Labex MolCell project (Molecular Bases of Cellular Functions) to federate these research groups. In 2015, the outcome of the MolCell project was the creation of a unique research institute, the I2BC.

The objectives of organizing the I2BC into a single research unit are to:

  • create a reference research unit in molecular and cellular biology at the future Paris-Saclay University;
  • optimize the visibility of its research teams;
  • guarantee access to innovative methodologies by pooling technological resources;
  • facilitate interdisciplinarity by coordinating a transdisciplinary scientific policy;
  • strengthen relationships between CEA/CNRS researchers and university teachers and consolidate coordination between research projects and training programs;
  • create a structure with sufficient resources to elaborate and apply a research, training and innovation policy.


The main research theme of the unit concerns the characterization of the integrated functioning of the cell and in particular understanding the processes, which, at the molecular level, govern the organization and the overall physiology of the cell.


Researchers carry out their work on different organisms (from viruses to human cells) or on complexes reconstituted in vitro, at different scales and under various physiological conditions. The common objective of this work is modelization of the global functioning of model and non-model organisms and ultimately to predict the impacts of molecular, subcellular and environmental changes on the behavior of normal or pathological cells and tissues.


The total number of staff in the unit generally varies between 600 and 700 people depending on the presence of short-term internships (<1 year).

As of January 1, 2021, the unit has 399 permanent staff and 220 non-permanent staff.

  • 231 permanent researchers: 101 from CNRS, 50 from CEA, and 80 university professor-researchers including 69 from UPSaclay.
  • 158 permanent technical staff: 107 from CNRS, 21 from CEA and 30 from UPSaclay.
  • 220 non-permanent staff: 107 doctoral candidates, 22 post-docs, 37 engineer-technicians and 54 interns from a variety of professional or academic training programs.

Each of the 60 research groups belong to one of the 5 disciplinary departments.


The I2BC is a Joint Research Unit supervised by CEA, CNRS and Paris-Saclay University.


In addition, the unit hosts an Inserm-labeled research team (ERL) and an INRAe team.


The scientific departments, in conjunction with the technological platforms, provide the unit’s disciplinary and methodological expertise.

The scientific departments facilitate communication for students, post-docs and potential collaborators concerning the expertise and approaches developed within the unit.

Core Facility

The I2BC core facilities offer services that rely on the recognized expertise of their engineers and provide access to state-of-the-art equipments. The majority of these platforms are nationally labelled by IBISA and integrated into four national Biology-Health infrastructures (FRISBI, FranceBioImaging, FranceGomique and the French Institute of Bioinformatics). These labels allow the regular renewing of the instrumentation. The platforms jointly carry out research and development work with other national centers to ensure that their 500 annual users acquire the most efficient data in relation to their research projects. The I2BC core facilities are divided 6 different poles: Sequencing, Imaging, Proteomics, Structural Biology and Biophysics, Integrative Bioinformatics.

Transverse axes and research programs

The multidisciplinary research of the I2BC falls within four main transversal research axes. Scientific leadership for each axis is provided by three scientists representing different disciplines.

For each of the four research axes, internal research programs that involve teams from different disciplinary departments of the unit are encouraged and eligible for financial support. Calls for these projects will be organized once or twice a year. Evaluation of the projects is carried out by the I2BC scientific council with the help of the I2BC scientific advisory board (SAB).

Selected programs are funded up to 100 K€.


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