Damien Markus

Damien Markus

Post Doctoral Researcher



PhD in Developmental Biology. UniversitéPaul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.

Master’s in Molecules and Therapeutic Targets. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.

Master’s in Systematics, Evolution and Paleobiodiversity. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.

Bachelor Degree in Science of Life and Environment. Université de Lorraine, Metz, France.

Research Interests:

Since childhood, I have always been fascinated by living beings, especially animals. I am deeply interested in both molecular evolution and protein interactions.

During my Ph.D. studies, I focused primarily on deciphering the genetic pathways and interactions of peptides called Pri in Drosophila leg development. These peptides, which are involved in several  developmental processes, represent a pioneer member of a new emerging family of peptides <100 amino acids: the smORF peptides. They are translated from a wide range of genomic contexts, including previously annotated non-coding RNAs, 5′ UTR regions, or alternative translation sites relative to the canonical open reading frame.

Interestingly, the protein Oskar, while not a smORF peptide, specifies the germ line by assembling and anchoring the germ plasm in the Drosophila oocyte through two isoforms with distinct functions that are translated from the same mRNA with an alternative translation site. I joined the Extavour lab to understand how these two very similar alternatively translated proteins, differing only by 119 amino acids, ensure distinct functions.

Other Publications:

Pleiotropic functions of Pri smORF peptides ensure leg development robustness. Damien Markus, Aurore Pelletier, Filip Port, Benedikt Obermayer, François Payre, Jennifer Zanet. 2023. bioRxiv 2023.03.07.531572.

Molecular evidence for the paraphyly of Scolecophidia and its evolutionary implications. Aurélien Miralles, Julie Marin, Damien Markus, Anthony Herrel, S. Blair Hedges Nicolas Vidal. September 2018, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 31(12): 1782-1793.

Pri smORF Peptides Are Wide Mediators of Ecdysone Signaling, Contributing to Shape Spatiotemporal Responses. Azza Dib, Jennifer Zanet, Alexandra Mancheno-Ferris, Maylis Gallois, Damien Markus, Philippe Valenti, Simon Marques-Prieto, Serge Plaza, Yuji Kageyama, Hélène Chanut- Delalande and François Payre. August 2021, Frontiers in Genetics 12:714152