Abdou Rachid THIAM

Chair of the Biophysics Axe of the Physics Department of ENS Paris
Biophysics and cell biology of lipids/membranes/organelles
Department of Physics
, updated on
3 January 2022
Laboratoire de physique de l’ENS (LPENS)
1er étage, bureau L063
24, rue Lhomond 75231 Paris cedex 05
01 44 322578

Physicist by training, addressing biological questions with both reconstitution and cell biological assays.

Field of research

I am broadly interested in the structure and function of organelles. One of my focus these past five years has been the cell biology and biophysics of lipid droplets and the endoplasmic reticulum bilayer. My team develops in vitro tools that sufficiently recapitulate structural and functional aspects of membranes, allowing us to study how neutral lipids, phospholipids, and proteins partition between the organelles of focus. These tools will rapidly depict the minimal ingredients involved in the biological processes of interest; they can be subsequently modulated in a cellular context to test for their relevance. Such a strategy allows my team to efficiently reveal mechanisms regulating lipid and membrane biology and understand mentalism and non-metabolism-related disorders.


Origin of gradients in lipid density and surface tension between connected lipid droplet and bilayer

A Chorlay, L Forêt, AR Thiam

Biophysical Journal, 2021



V Guyard, VF Monteiro-Cardoso, M Omrane, C Sauvanet, A Houcine, C Boulogne, KB MBarek, N Vitale, O Facklaris, N El Khallouki, AR Thiam, F Giordano

BioRxiv, 2021


Fat inclusions strongly alter membrane mechanics

A Santinho, A Chorlay, L Foret, AR Thiam

Biophysical Journal 120 (4), 607-617, 2021


HCV Core protein needs triacylglycerols to fold onto the endoplasmic reticulum membrane

Dalila Ajjaji, Kalthoum Ben M’barek, Bertrand Boson, Mohyeddine Omrane, Ama Gassama‐Diagne, Magali Blaud, François Penin, Elise Diaz, Bertrand Ducos, François‐Loïc Cosset, Abdou Rachid Thiam



Lipid droplet nucleation

AR Thiam, E Ikonen

Trends in Cell Biology, 2020


Triacylglycerols sequester monotopic membrane proteins to lipid droplets

Lucie Caillon, Vincent Nieto, Pauline Gehan, Mohyeddine Omrane, Nicolas Rodriguez, Luca Monticelli, Abdou Rachid Thiam

Nature Communication, 2020


Membrane curvature catalyzes lipid droplet assembly

Alexandre Santinho, Veijo T Salo, Aymeric Chorlay, Shiqian Li, Xin Zhou, Mohyeddine Omrane, Elina Ikonen, Abdou Rachid Thiam

Current Biology, 2020


Seipin facilitates triglyceride flow to lipid droplet and counteracts droplet ripening via endoplasmic reticulum contact

Veijo T Salo, Shiqian Li, Helena Vihinen, Maarit Hölttä-Vuori, Abel Szkalisity, Peter Horvath, Ilya Belevich, Johan Peränen, Christoph Thiele, Pentti Somerharju, Hongxia Zhao, Alexandre Santinho, Abdou Rachid Thiam, Eija Jokitalo, Elina Ikonen

Developmental Cell, 2019


Neutral lipids regulate amphipathic helix affinity for model lipid droplets

A Chorlay, AR Thiam

Journal of Cell Biology 219 (4), 2019


Membrane asymmetry imposes directionality on lipid droplet emergence from the ER

Aymeric Chorlay, Luca Monticelli, Joana Veríssimo Ferreira, Kalthoum Ben M’barek, Dalila Ajjaji, Sihui Wang, Errin Johnson, Rainer Beck, Mohyeddine Omrane, Mathias Beller, Pedro Carvalho, Abdou Rachid Thiam

Developmental Cell, 2019


An asymmetry in monolayer tension regulates lipid droplet budding direction

A Chorlay, AR Thiam

Biophysical journal 114 (3), 631-640, 2018


ER membrane phospholipids and surface tension control cellular lipid droplet formation

Kalthoum Ben M'barek, Dalila Ajjaji, Aymeric Chorlay, Stefano Vanni, Lionel Forêt, Abdou Rachid Thiam

Developmental Cell, 2017


The why, when and how of lipid droplet diversity

AR Thiam, M Beller

Journal of cell science 130 (2), 315-324, 2017


The biophysics and cell biology of lipid droplets

AR Thiam, RV Farese Jr, TC Walther

Nature reviews Molecular cell biology 14 (12), 775-786 , 201