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Theo maire

Théo Maire

Masters student
(Feb. - June 2015)
Now continuing his masters at ENS Paris


During February - June of 2015, Théo worked in our lab as a masters student, as part of the requirements for his masters degree in "ecology, biodiversity & evolution" at the École Normale Supérieure - Paris. Théo was and is a dilligent student and a highly creative researcher. During his time in our lab, he has published a preview article on how hair follicles underneath the skin work together to regenerate damaged hairs, which is a form of quorum sensing among the follicles (Maire & Youk, Cell - April 2015). Remarkably, during his short time as a masters student in our lab, he also started and finished a research project that led to a publication in Cell Systems (Maire & Youk, Cell Systems - Nov. 2015). This work was also featured on the cover of the journal. Théo conceived this theoretical project almost entirely by himself and carried it out with very little guidance from Hyun. In the end, he revealed concepts and a theoretical framework for quantifying the "amount of autonomy" and the "amount of collectiveness" of cells. His work also introduced a concept of "entropy of population", which allows one to predict the kinds of spatial patterns (e.g., stripes) that can emerge in a field of cells that "secrete-and-sense" each others' signalling molecules, such as autocrine signalling and quorum sensing cells without knowing what the initial state of every or any cell in the population. In this sense, the "entropy of population" is akin to the thermodynamic entropy, in that one does not need to know the position and velocity of every gas particle in a box to make a systems-level statement about the box of gas (here we have a population of cells instead of a box of gas). Importantly, his conceptual and theoretical advances provide realistic metrics that experimentalists can use. His measurements reveal how and what quantities one would need to measure to predict the kinds of spatial patterns that can arise in a field of cells and to measure the quantities of autonomy and collectiveness of cells. The fact that Théo single-handedly discovered these results and founded a new conceptual framework, is all the more astonishing given that this was one of Théo's first research projects and that he had a very short time to accomplish all these feats.

Théo and Berkalp Doganer, another awesome student in our lab, were also the first students in our lab. Théo worked with Berkalp to help Hyun set up the lab, back when there was nothing more than some empty bottles and sparse lab benches. Without Théo's and Berkalp's help, our lab would not have gotten off the ground as swiftly and as smoothly as it did. Our lab misses Théo. We hope (and know) that he has a very bright future as a researcher ahead of him. We're all eager to see what more conceptually deep insights he will advance our field with in the coming years.

Publications of Théo Maire from our lab:

T. Maire & H. Youk
Molecular-level tuning of cellular autonomy controls collective behaviors of cell populations
Cell Systems (November 2015)
   research article (.pdf)       supplementary material (.pdf)   

T. Maire & H. Youk
A collective path toward regeneration
Cell (April 2015)
   preview (.pdf)       pubmed