I am an associate professor (Maitre de conférences in French) of Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA), working at the Laboratoire d'écologie alpine (LECA, UMR 5553 CNRS-Université Grenoble Alpes-Université Savoie Mont-Blanc, France) and the Institut national supérieur du professorat et de l'éducation (INSPÉ) of Grenoble. I am deeply interested in understanding organismal biology with an integrative approach, i.e. at a multiscale and interdisciplinary level.
My Current Research
My research at the Alpine Ecology Laboratory focuses on the ecophysiology of pigmentation in insects, particularly on the link between global change (temperature and metal pollutants) and pigments (ommochromes, pterins and melanins) of butterfly wings. By deciphering the structural and functional diversity of wing pigments along thermal and urban gradients in the Alps, the aim is to provide a better understanding of how animals can adapt to human impacts on their ecosystems. This project is deeply interdisciplinary, with methods ranging from quantum chemistry to correlative Synchrotron-based and electron imaging.
My Past Research
My past research at the Institut de recherche sur la biologie de l'insecte (IRBI, UMR 7261, CNRS-Université de Tours, France) focused on the chemical, molecular and cellular bases of plastic phenotypic traits, and their physiological and ecological consequences. I investigated the cyclic biochemical and cellular processes underlying the metabolism of a widespread class of invertebrate pigments, the ommochromes. Ommochromes are involved in a vast array of biological functions, from compound eye-based vision to reversible color change of crab spiders and cephalopods. I aimed at unraveling the biochemical and trafficking pathways allowing crab spiders to match the color of the flower on which they hunt by combining state-of-the-art analytical (ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry), cell imaging (high-pressure freezing, electron microscopy and nano-scale Synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence) and computational (quantum photochemistry) techniques (Photo: F. Figon - CC BY SA).
Florent Figon - 2020–2021
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