Sylvain’s research first focused on intracellular protein trafficking and primary metabolism. He obtained a Master at the University of Neuchâtel investigating chloroplast protein import in the group of Felix Kessler. Following a research project with the German chemical company BASF, he earned a doctorate in the lab of Wilhelm Gruissem at ETH Zürich. Sylvain combined label-free quantitative proteomics with transcriptomics to understand the assembly of the chloroplast proteome. He then applied these high-throughput technologies with Samuel Zeeman to unravel the unique metabolic processes that allow the tropical tree Cecropia Peltata to synthesize both soluble and insoluble storage glucans. Following his interest in chromatin biology, Sylvain joined Steven Jacobsen at UCLA as postdoctoral fellow to study gene silencing and chromatin remodeling. His work notably shed light into the biogenesis of small RNAs that are required for RNA-directed DNA methylation.
Sylvain’s research is driven by curiosity and he therefore uses discovery-based approaches to uncover new molecular pathways. Currently, his lab characterizes new silencing factors that control gene expression independently of DNA methylation that were identified in a forward genetic screen. Protein and chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by mass-spectrometry or deep-sequencing respectively then reveal protein interaction networks and genome-wide binding patterns.
Outside the lab, Sylvain goes back to lab. Just kidding. He goes swimming or to a tennis court, DJs and plays the trombone.