Robert Barouki

Barouki, Robert Article(s) published in the ECOG eBook:


Barouki, Robert
Professor of Biochemistry
Director Inserm unit 1124, University Paris Descartes
Head of metabolic biochemistry laboratory, Necker Enfants maladies Hospital, Paris



1983 – University of Paris 5, France; Medicine (MD)

1982 – Ecole Normale Supérieure Ulm, France; Biochemistry Pharmacology

1982 – University of Paris, France; Pharmacology (Ph.D.)

1986 – Johns Hopkins Medical School; Molecular biology (Post-doc)

1992 – University of Paris, France; Pharmacology (Habilitation)


Personal Statement

Robert Barouki is a biochemist and molecular biologist whose main research focus during the last fifteen years has been understanding the mechanisms of toxicity of environmental pollutants such as dioxin. In particular, he has studied the biological consequences following the activation of the dioxin receptor AhR. He studied the different effects triggered by different ligands of the AhR using in particular “-omics” technologies, suggesting that part of the toxicity may be related to the disruption of endogenous functions.

In addition, as head of the clinical metabolic biochemistry department, he has initiated and organized a shared mass spectrometry facility at the Necker hospital. His focus is on developing multiplex targeted proteomic and metabolonomic assays, notably in te field of metabolic diseases and in pharmacodynamics.


Positions and Employment

Post-doctoral Fellow at the Department of Molecular Biology of the Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore (Pr Hamilton O Smith)

Research scientist, CNRS, Inserm unit 99, Créteil France

Director of Research, Inserm, Inserm unit 99, Créteil France

Professor, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France

Director of unit 1124 Inserm (Pharmacology Toxicology and Cellular Signaling) at the University Paris Descartes

2012- present:
Head of the clinical Metabolomic and Proteomic Biochemistry Department at the Necker Enfanst maladies hospital



1983 – Award from the French society of Endocrinology –

1984 – Fellowship Award from the EMBO

2004 – Member of the scientific council of Université Paris Descartes

2007 – Member of the Inserm scientific council

2010 – Member of the Anses (Environment and food agency) scientific council

2010 – Head of the ANR (national research agency) study committee on toxicology and ecotoxicology

2011 – Member of the expert committee of the French institute of public health (environmental issues)


Selected Peer-reviewed Publications (Selected from ~100 peer-reviewed publications)

  1. Diry M, Tomkiewicz C, Koelhe C, Coumoul X, Bock KW, Barouki R, Transy C. Activation of the dioxin/arylhydrocarbon receptor modulates cell plasticity through a JNK-dependent mechanism. Oncogene, 2006; 25: 5570-5574 . Epub 2006 Apr 17. PMID:16619036
  2. Barouki R, Coumoul X, Fernandez-Salguero PM. The aryl hydrocarbon receptor, more than a xenobiotic-interacting protein. FEBS Lett. 2007;581:3608-3615. Epub 2007 Mar 30. Review. PMID: 17412325
  3. Bui LC, Tomkiewicz C, Chevallier A, Pierre S, Bats AS, Mota S, Raingeaud J, Pierre J, Diry M, Transy C, Garlatti M, Barouki R, Coumoul X. Nedd9/Hef1/Cas-L mediates the effects of environmental pollutants on cell migration and plasticity. Oncogene. 2009 Oct 15;28(41):3642-3651. PMID: 19648964
  4. Barouki R, Coumoul X. Cell migration and metastasis markers as targets of environmental pollutants and the Aryl hydrocarbon receptor. Cell Adh Migr. 2010 Jan;4(1):72-76. PMCID: PMC2852561
  5. Ambolet-Camoit A, Bui LC, Pierre S, Chevallier A, Marchand A, Coumoul X, Garlatti M, Andreau K, Barouki R, Aggerbeck M. 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin counteracts the p53 response to a genotoxicant by upregulating expression of the metastasis marker agr2 in the hepatocarcinoma cell line HepG2. Toxicol Sci. 2010 Jun;115(2):501-512. PMID: 20299546
  6. Kim MJ, Marchand P, Henegar C, Antignac JP, Alili R, Poitou C, Bouillot JL, Basdevant A, Le Bizec B, Barouki R, Clément K. Fate and complex pathogenic effects of dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls in obese subjects before and after drastic weight loss. Environ Health Perspect. 2011 119:377-383. Epub 2010 Dec 3. PMCID: PMC3060002
  7. Barouki R. Linking long-term toxicity of xeno-chemicals with short-term biological adaptation. Biochimie. 2010 ;92 :1222-1226. Epub 2010 Feb 25. Review. PMID:20188785


Additional recent publications of importance to the field (in chronological order)

  1. Massaad, C., Barouki. An assay for the detection of xenoestrogens based on a promoter containing overlapping EREs. Environ. Health Perspect., 1999, 107: 563-566. PMCID: PMC1566659
  2. Coumoul, X., Diry, M., Robillot, C., Barouki R. Differential regulation of CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 by a combination of dioxin and pesticides in the breast tumor cells MCF-7. Cancer Res, 2001, 61: 3942-3948. PMID:11358810
  3. Bonvallot, V, Baeza-Squiban, A, Baulig, A, Brulant, S, Boland, S, Muzeau, F, Barouki, R, Marano, F. Organic compounds from Diesel exhaust particles elicit a proinflammatory response in humann airway epithelial cells and induce CYP1A1 expression. Am J Respir Cell Mol. Biol, 2001, 25: 515-521. PMID:11694458
  4. Coumoul X, Diry M, Barouki R. PXR-dependent induction of human CYP3A4 gene expression by organochlorine pesticides. Biochem Pharmacol 2002;64:1513-1519. PMID:12417264
  5. Gouedard C, Barouki R, Morel Y. Dietary polyphenols increase paraoxonase 1 gene expression by an aryl hydrocarbon receptor-dependent mechanism. Mol Cell Biol 2004;24:5209-5222. PMCID: PMC419885
  6. Marchand A, Tomkiewicz C, Marchandeau JP, Boitier E, Barouki R, Garlatti M. 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin induces insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 gene expression and counteracts the negative effect of insulin. Mol Pharmacol 2005; 67:444-452. PMID:15496506
  7. Baulig A, Singh S, Marchand A, Schins R, Barouki R, Garlatti M, Marano F, Baeza-Squiban A. Role of Paris PM(2.5) components in the pro-inflammatory response induced in airway epithelial cells. Toxicology. 2009 Jul 10;261(3):126-135. PMID:19460412
  8. Diana J, Griseri T, Lagaye S, Beaudoin L, Autrusseau E, Gautron As, Tomkiewicz C, Herbelin A, Barouki R, Von Herrath M, Dalod M, Lehuen A. NKT Cell-Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Cooperation via OX40 Controls Viral Infection in a Tissue-Specific Manner. Immunity. 2009 30:289-299 Epub 2009 Feb 12. PMID:19217323


Selection of Research Supports

Ongoing Research Support

Constitutive Grant from Inserm and Université Paris Descartes for unit 747
As a head of an Inserm-Université Paris Descartes unit (unit 747), I receive significant yearly support from these institutions. The grant is based on the general proposal of the unit. The unit includes 5 teams (80 people), my own being the largest one and receives approximately one fourth of the unit support. The grant partially funds all our projects including those dealing with effects of dioxin in several models studied by omics technology, the interaction between pollutants, the structure of pollutant receptors as well as studies on the toxicity of alcohol and drugs. This grant represents approximately 40% of our budget.
Role: Principal Investigator`

Heals: FP7 EU grant (2013-2018)
The aim of the project is to provide molecular and cellular mechanisms of contaminant action in the context of a consortium working on human exposome.

PHRC grant calcilung : (2014-2017)
pharmacodynamics of immunosuppressive drugs in lung transplantation

PlasticAhR (2011-2014)
ANR (National Research Agency)
The aim of this project is to obtain a crystal structure of the dioxin receptor AhR. The structure of this receptor has not been determined yet. It would allow a better assessment of the mechanisms of ligand binding. Modeling should allow prediction of binding to this receptor, an important issue for predictive toxicology. The principle investigator, Dr P Nioche, is a member the Inserm unit 747 that I chair.
Role: co-Investigator

Other grants: oncometabotox (persistent organic pollutants and metabolism), Metapop (pollutants in adipose tissue and cancer), Hepatodiox (combined effects of pollutants and nutrients on liver toxicity), Allofattox (role of adipose tissue in POP toxicokinetics), ToxAhrBrain (role of the Ah Receptor in brain functions), calcilung (VLM: calcineurin in lung transplantation)


Completed Research Support

Nemo (2009-2012)
The aim of this project is to identify cellular and reporter systems to determine biological effects of AhR in human and zebrafish
Role: co-Investigator

AhR ligands (2009-2012)
Anses (agency for food and environment)
The aim of the project is to implement various reporter systems that can distinguish between the various biological effects of AhR ligands. The principle investigator, Dr X Coumoul, is a member the Inserm unit 747 that I chair.
Role: co-investigator

OncoPOP (2006-2010)
ANR (National Research Agency)
The ailm of that project was to study the effects of AhR ligands on epithelial mesenchymal transition, to identify the proteins that mediate these effects, to carry a proteomic analysis and to establish animal systems to assess the possible effects of AhR ligands on cancer metastasis.
Role: Principal Investigator

Adipotox (2006-2010)
ANR (National Research Agency)
This project allowed us to identify the effect of dioxin and persistant organic pollutants on adipose tissue differentiation and inflammation. It also allowed to study the consequences of drastic weight loss on the distribution of these pollutants, on their effects on gene expression and on the possible correlation with disease markers.
Role: Principal Investigator

Pollutant interaction (2006-2008)
The project aimed to study the cross talk between dioxin and an organochlorine pesticide, endosulfan at thecellular level..
Role: Principal Investigator