Biologie Intégrée du Globule Rouge


The main objective of the laboratory UMRS1134 BIGR  is to disclose the physiological and pathophysiological features of  human red blood cells from the genesis (erythroid differentiation) to the senecence and destruction. 

Specifically, the unit analyses the properties of red blood cells on the level of the main macromolecules, i. e. the red blood cell membrane proteins (transporters, receptors, adhesion molecules etc.). The structure and function of these proteins are deciphered by combining biochemical real-life methods and in-silico prediction methods. The other three main areas of research relate to red blood cell pathologies, e.g. sickle cell disease, membranophathies, anemias, etc as well as infectious diseases, mainly severe malaria, and red blood cell filtration in the spleen.

All the 4 teams of the unit concentrate their scientific efforts on one single cell type: the red blood cell. This focus on red blood cells allows to bring together biochemically and molecularly oriented basic research groups and clinically oriented research groups with a clear physiological or pathological background.


Organizational Chart of the UMRS1134 BIGR

 Research Teams

Team 1

Normal and Pathological Red Blood Cell

Prof. Caroline Le Van Kim

INSERM UMR_S 1134 Team 1 ( 

Team 2

Dynamic of Structures & Interaction of Macromolecules in Biology

Dr. Alexandre De Brevern


Team 3

Pathogenesis of Severe Malaria

Dr. Benoit Gamain

Team 4

Tissular Biology of the Red Cell

Prof. Pierre Buffet

Brief history of the laboratory

The unit was created as UMR_S1134 “Integrated biology of the red cell” in 2014:

We got a long history and international visibility by having elucidated the genetic and molecular basis of the main blood group antigens, such as Rhesus( Rh), the unit focused during more than 25 years on the structural and functional properties of human red blood cell (RBCs) membrane proteins that carry these blood groups. Since 8 years, the organization of the UMR_S1134 Unit, allowed us to develop experimental and in-silico methodologies for an integrative approach to the understanding of the interactions between extracellular ligands, transmembrane proteins and the cytoskeleton that define the antigenic (e.g., blood group) and functional (adhesion, transport, receptor, immunity) properties of normal and pathological RBCs. 

Out Unit and UMR_S763 have been combined since 2012. This fusion occurred following the recommendation of HCERES and Inserm to coordinate and reinforce basic and clinical research on sickle cell disease (SCD), and to establish closer connections between the group in the French West Indies (CHU Pointe à Pitre) and the group in Paris. In 2014, the UMR_S1134 was created with “a red cell only project” and was organized in 3 teams, after the integration of the ATIP Avenir team as the team 3 “ Pathogenesis of severe malaria” directed by Benoit Gamain. Since January 2016, the unit has been organized in 4 teams after the integration of the team “Tissular Biology of the Red Cell” directed by Pierre Buffet, which joined our Unit. The name of Team 1 of the UMR_S1134 has been changed to « Normal and Pathological Red Cell Physiology » at the beginning of this 2019 contract