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Sophie Polo

Team Leader (DR1 Inserm)


+33 1 57 27 89 81


Sophie graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris in 2002. She received her PhD in 2006 from Paris VI University, working with Geneviève Almouzni at the Institut Curie in Paris on the role of chromatin assembly factors in cell proliferation and genome stability. She then joined Steve Jackson’s laboratory at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge UK for her postdoctoral studies. There, she developed an interest in the response to DNA breaks and characterized the function of chromatin remodelers in this context. Back in France, she obtained a permanent staff scientist position (CR2 Inserm) in 2011, and she was awarded the Olga Sain prize from la Ligue contre le Cancer in the same year. Sophie established her own group at the Epigenetics and Cell Fate Centre in 2013 on Paris Diderot University campus, with the support of the ANR young investigator program followed by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council. Sophie was selected EMBO young Investigator in 2017 and promoted research director (DR2 Inserm) in 2018.


  • Giacomini G., Piquet S., Chevallier O., Dabin J., Bai S-K., Kim B., Siddaway R., Raught B., Coyaud E., Shan C-M., Reid R.J.D., Toda T., Rothstein R., Barra V., Wilhelm T., Hamadat S., Bertin C., Crane A., Dubois F., Bandopadhayay P., Beroukhim R., Naim V., Jia S., Hawkins C., Rondinelli B.* and Polo S.E.*. ­­­­­­Aberrant DNA repair reveals a vulnerability in histone H3.3-mutant brain tumors. Nucleic Acids Res, 2024. *: co-corresponding authors
  • Bouvier D., Ferrand J., Chevallier O., Paulsen M.T., Ljungman M., Polo S.E. Dissecting regulatory pathways for transcription recovery following DNA damage reveals a non-canonical function of the histone chaperone HIRA. Nat Commun, 12: 3835, 2021.
  • Fortuny A., Chansard A., Caron P., Chevallier O., Leroy O., Renaud O., Polo S.E. Imaging the response to DNA damage in heterochromatin domains reveals core principles of heterochromatin maintenance. Nat Commun, 12:2428, 2021
  • Piquet S., Le Parc F., Bai, S-K., Chevallier O., Adam S., Polo S.E. The histone chaperone FACT coordinates H2A.X-dependent signaling and repair of DNA damage. Mol Cell, 72: 888-901, 2018.
  • Adam S.*, Dabin J.*, Chevallier O., Leroy O., Baldeyron C., Corpet A., Lomonte P., Renaud O., Almouzni G. and Polo S.E. Real-time tracking of parental histones reveals their contribution to chromatin integrity following DNA damage. Mol Cell, 64: 65-78, 2016. *: equal contribution. Featured article, also highlighted in the ‘Meet the author’ section.
  • Dabin J.*, Fortuny A.* and Polo S.E. Epigenome maintenance in response to DNA damage. Mol Cell, 62:712-727, 2016. *: equal contribution
  • Adam S., Polo S.E.* & Almouzni G.* Transcription recovery after DNA damage requires chromatin priming by the H3.3 histone chaperone HIRA. Cell, 155: 94-106, 2013. *: co-corresponding authors
  • Soria G.*, Polo S. E.* and Almouzni G. Prime, repair, restore: chromatin as an active player in the DNA damage response. Mol Cell, 46: 722-734, 2012. *: equal contribution
  • Polo S. E.*, Blackford A. N.*, Chapman J. R., Baskcomb L., Gravel S., Rusch A., Thomas A., Blundred R., Smith P., Kzhyshkowska J., Dobner T., Taylor A. M. R., Turnell A. S., Stewart G. S., Grand R. J. and Jackson S. P. Regulation of DNA-end resection by hnRNPU-like proteins promotes DNA double-strand break signalling and repair. Mol Cell, 45: 505-516, 2012. *: equal contribution
  • Polo S. E.*, Jackson S. P.* Dynamics of DNA damage response proteins at DNA breaks: a focus on protein modifications. Genes Dev, 25: 409-433, 2011. *: equal contribution
  • Polo S. E., Kaidi A., Baskcomb L., Galanty Y., and Jackson S. P. Regulation of DNA damage responses and cell cycle progression by the chromatin remodeling factor CHD4. EMBO J, 29: 3130-3139, 2010.
  • Ahel D., Horesjí Z.*, Wiechens N.*, Polo S. E.*, Garcia-Wilson E., Ahel I., Flynn H., Skehel M., West S. C., Jackson S. P., Owen-Hughes T., Boulton S. J. Poly(ADP-ribose)-dependent regulation of DNA repair by the chromatin remodelling enzyme ALC1. Science, 325: 1240-1243, 2009. *: equal contribution
  • Polo S. E., Roche D., Almouzni G. New histone incorporation marks sites of UV repair in human cells. Cell, 127: 481-493, 2006.