Giacomo Cavalli dis his PhD at the ETH in Zürich, working in chromatin and transcription in yeast. He then moved to the University of Heidelberg, where he discovered transgenerational inheritance of chromatin states in metazoans in 1998 by working on Polycomb and Trithorax group proteins in Drosophila with Renato Paro.

He then started his lab in 1999 at the Institute of Human Genetics in Montpellier. The Cavalli lab has shown that the 3D structure of chromosomes can be epigenetically heritable and that it contributes to genome regulation. Furthermore, they provided the first high-resolution description of the principles of genome folding in metazoans. Finally, the Cavalli lab showed that PcG proteins regulate cell proliferation and have tumour suppression activity in flies.

Giacomo Cavalli has received numerous distinctions and awards, including a nomination to EMBO member in 2008, the CNRS silver medal in 2011, the Allianz Foundation Award in 2012 and two advanced grants of the European Research Council (ERC).

Primary Affiliation: Institute of Human Genetics - Montpellier , France

Specialties: Epigenetics, chromosome biology

Research Interests: Epigenetic regulation of development and cancer, 3D genomics, transgenerational inheritance

  • 1994
    Natural Sciences PhD


Multiscale 3D Genome Rewiring during Mouse Neural Development.
Cell 2017 Oct;171(3):557-572.e24
Institute of Human Genetics, UMR 9002 of the CNRS and the Université de Montpellier, 34396 Montpellier, France. Electronic address:

Distinct polymer physics principles govern chromatin dynamics in mouse and Drosophila topological domains.
BMC Genomics 2015 Aug 15;16:607. Epub 2015 Aug 15.
Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier, UMR5535, CNRS, Université de Montpellier, 1919 Route de Mende, 34293, Montpellier, Cedex 5, France.

Cooperativity, specificity, and evolutionary stability of Polycomb targeting in Drosophila.
Cell Rep 2014 Oct 2;9(1):219-233. Epub 2014 Oct 2.
Institute of Human Genetics, UPR 1142, CNRS, 141 rue de la Cardonille, 34396 Montpellier Cedex 5, France. Electronic address:

A chromatin insulator driving three-dimensional Polycomb response element (PRE) contacts and Polycomb association with the chromatin fiber.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 Feb 24;108(6):2294-9. Epub 2011 Jan 24.
Institut de Génétique Humaine, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unité Propre de Recherche 1142, 34396 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.

Interaction between the GAGA factor and Mod(mdg4) proteins promotes insulator bypass in Drosophila.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2004 Oct 1;101(41):14806-11. Epub 2004 Oct 1.
Department of the Control of Genetic Processes, Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 117334, Russia.

Protein-DNA interaction mapping using genomic tiling path microarrays in Drosophila.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2003 Aug 22;100(16):9428-33. Epub 2003 Jul 22.
Department of Genetics and Biostatistics Division, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

The MYST domain acetyltransferase Chameau functions in epigenetic mechanisms of transcriptional repression.
Curr Biol 2002 Apr;12(9):762-6
Laboratoire de Génétique et Physiologie du Développement, Institut de Biologie du Développement de Marseille, CNRS/INSERM/Université de la Méditerranée, Parc Scientifique de Luminy, Case 907, 13288 Marseille Cedex 9, France.

MACVIA-LR (Fighting Chronic Diseases for Active and Healthy Ageing in Languedoc-Roussillon): A Success Story of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing.
J Frailty Aging 2016 ;5(4):233-241
Professor Jean Bousquet, CHRU, 371 Avenue du Doyen Gaston Giraud, 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, France, Tel +33 611 42 88 47,