Permanent CNRS researcher, group "Evo-devo of the flower"
Laboratory for Plant Reproduction and Development, ENS de Lyon, France, tel : +33 426731476
See full CV here


Current research : Petunia petal development and evolution

Petals have been a key innovation during flower evolution since they greatly increase pollination efficiency and specificity. We study petal development in Petunia, where petals are fused in a tube that opens with brightly coloured limbs. We aim to understand the processes of tube and limb development, which are relatively independent and have been targeted by evolution for Petunia speciation. In particular, we address how the cell layers of the petals coordinate their growth to generate petals with a given shape and size, and we investigate the genetic and developmental basis of petal fusion.

Funding : ANR JCJC FLOWER-LAYER (2020-2023), Elan ERC grant (IDEX Lyon, 2018-2021)

Other team members involved : Quentin Cavallini-Speisser (PhD student), Patrice Morel (permanent researcher), Pierre Chambrier (assistant engineer), Michiel Vandenbussche (research director).

Previous research : Petal number robustness

Petal number is generally a robust trait but has become variable in Cardamine hirsuta, a member of the Brassicaceae like Arabidopsis thaliana. During my post-doc in the group of Angela Hay, I investigated the genetic basis of intra- and inter-specific variation in petal number. We found that a cis-regulatory change in the homeotic gene APETALA1 caused petal number to be decanalized in Cardamine hirsuta, allowing the phenotypic expression of various QTL influencing petal number at the intraspecific scale.

Previous research : LEAFY evolution

LEAFY is a transcription factor crucial for floral development in the angiosperms. However it is also present in other groups of plants that do not flower, such as gymnosperms, ferns, mosses and some algae. During my PhD in the group of François Parcy, I studied the evolution of the DNA-binding specificy of LEAFY. We found that, although the LEAFY gene was mostly kept as a single copy gene for 800 million years of evolution, the LEAFY protein managed to change specificity at least two times, thanks to an intermediate with a relaxed specificity.


2013 - 2017 : Post-doctoral research fellow with Angela Hay at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (MPIPZ), Cologne, Germany

2009 - 2013 : PhD in plant biology with François Parcy at the Laboratory for Plant and Cell Physiology (LPCV), Grenoble, France

2007 - 2009 : Master "Biosciences" (ENS de Lyon)

2008 : Life and Earth Sciences Agrégation obtained

2006 : Bachelor "Cell and Molecular Biology" (ENS de Lyon)


2020-2023 : supervision of 1 PhD student (Quentin Cavallini-Speisser)

2020-2021 : management of 1 assistant engineer (AI, Jordan Brun)

2013 - 2020 : supervision of 1 bachelor and 3 master students, co-supervision of 1 PhD student

2009 - 2013 : Teaching at the Université Grenoble-Alpes for > 260 hours. Practicals, exercices and lectures, from bachelor to master level. Plant physiology, genetics and development, ecology, organismal biology, introduction to biology.


2021 : Nominated jury member for the CNRS selection of researchers, section 23 (Integrative Plant Biology).

2020 : Panel member for the DFG research unit ICIPS (Innovation and Coevolution In Plant Sexual reproduction).

2019 - onwards : Gender equality representative for the RDP lab.

2018 : PhD jury member (Léa Rambaud, RDP laboratory, ENS de Lyon)

Regular member of PhD advisory committees (LPCV, RDP).

Regular reviewing activity (review editor in Frontiers in Plant Science section evo-devo, reviewing for various journals upon request).

Regular participation to science popularization events (Fête de la Science, Déclics, Rendez-vous aux jardins...) and lab visits for high-school students.


17th World Petunia Days, Milan, Italy (4-7 July 2019). "Dissecting petunia petal development".

Euro Evo Devo 2016, Uppsala, Sweden (26-29 July 2016). “Genetic basis of petal number variation in Cardamine hirsuta”.

New model systems for linking evolution and ecology, EMBL Heidelberg, Germany (8-11 May 2016). “Petal number variation in Cardamine hirsuta”.

Euro Evo Devo 2014, Vienna, Austria (22-25 July 2014). “Evolution of the floral regulator LEAFY in the green lineage”.

Molecular mechanisms controlling flower development, Giens, France (8-12 June 2013). “800 million years of LEAFY evolution”.



  • Morel P, Chambrier P, Boltz V, Chamot S, Rozier F, Rodrigues Bento S, Trehin C, Monniaux M, Zethof J, Vandenbussche M. Divergent Functional Diversification Patterns in the SEP/AGL6/AP1 MADS-Box Transcription Factor Superclade. The Plant Cell. 31(12):3033-3056.


  • Monniaux M, Vandenbussche M. How to Evolve a Perianth : A Review of Cadastral Mechanisms for Perianth Identity. Frontiers in Plant Science. 29 ;9:1573.
  • Monniaux M*, Pieper B*, McKim SM, Routier-Kierzkowska AL, Kierzkowski D, Smith RS, Hay A. The role of APETALA1 in petal number robustness. Elife. 18 ;7.


  • McKim SM, Routier-Kierzkowska AL, Monniaux M, Kierzkowski D, Pieper B, Smith RS, Tsiantis M, Hay A. Seasonal Regulation of Petal Number. Plant Physiology. 175(2):886-903.
  • Moyroud E, Monniaux M, Thévenon E, Dumas R, Scutt CP, Frohlich MW, Parcy F. A link between LEAFY and B-gene homologues in Welwitschia mirabilis sheds light on ancestral mechanisms prefiguring floral development. New Phytologist. 216(2):469-481.
  • Monniaux M, McKim SM, Cartolano M, Thévenon E, Parcy F, Tsiantis M, Hay A. Conservation vs divergence in LEAFY and APETALA1 functions between Arabidopsis thaliana and Cardamine hirsuta. New Phytologist. 216(2):469-481.


  • Monniaux M, Hay A. Cells, walls, and endless forms. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 34:114-121.
  • Monniaux M*, Pieper B*, Hay A. Stochastic variation in Cardamine hirsuta petal number. Annals of Botany. 117(5):881-7.
  • Pieper B, Monniaux M, Hay A. The genetic architecture of petal number in Cardamine hirsuta. New Phytologist. 209(1):395-406.


  • Sayou C*, Monniaux M*, Nanao MH*, Moyroud E*, Brockington SF, Thévenon E, Chahtane H, Warthmann N, Melkonian M, Zhang Y, Wong GK, Weigel D, Parcy F, Dumas R. A Promiscuous Intermediate Underlies the Evolution of LEAFY DNA Binding Specificity. Science. 343(6171):645-8


  • Chahtane H, Vachon G, Le Masson M, Thévenon E, Périgon S, Mihajlovic N, Kalinina A, Michard R, Moyroud E, Monniaux M, Sayou C, Grbic V, Parcy F, Tichtinsky G. A variant of LEAFY reveals its capacity to stimulate meristem development by inducing RAX1. The Plant Journal. 74(4):678-89


  • Moyroud E, Minguet EG, Ott F, Yant L, Posé D, Monniaux M, Blanchet S, Bastien O, Thévenon E, Weigel D, Schmid M, Parcy F. Prediction of regulatory interactions from genome sequences using a biophysical model for the Arabidopsis LEAFY transcription factor. The Plant Cell. 23(4):1293-306
  • Winter CM, Austin RS, Blanvillain-Baufumé S, Reback MA, Monniaux M, Wu MF, Sang Y, Yamaguchi A, Yamaguchi N, Parker JE, Parcy F, Jensen ST, Li H, Wagner D. LEAFY target genes reveal floral regulatory logic, cis motifs, and a link to biotic stimulus response. Developmental Cell. 20(4):430-43


  • Moyroud E, Kusters E, Monniaux M, Koes R, Parcy F. LEAFY blossoms. Trends in Plant Science. 15(6):346-52