Prof. Chantal Abergel is Research Director at CNRS and Director of the Genomics and Structural Information Laboratory. The laboratory is focused on the study of the 4 families of giant viruses currently described, the Mimiviridae and the Pandoraviridae on one hand, and the Pithoviridae and Mollivirus whose first representatives were isolated from permafrost samples more than 30,000 years old. Their discoveries are challenging the concept of virus as well as their origin, their evolution and the role they could have played in the emergence of the cellular life. Chantal Abergel has a Ph.D. in Materials Science. She did a 5 years postdoctoral degree in the United States at the National Institute of Health, in protein crystallography. She was recruited at CNRS in 1995 as a research engineer to create with Jean-Michel Claverie the Structural and Genomics Information laboratory in Marseille. Since the discovery of the first giant virus, Mimivirus, the laboratory focused on the isolation and characterization of the 4 families of known giant viruses. They use a combination of experimental approaches with theoretical studies to better understand the role of giant viruses in the evolution of the cellular world as well as their ecological role in the environment. She is a member of the Aix-Marseille Cristallography association, French Biochemistry and Molecular Biology society, AFDESRI and the French Cristallography association. She has granted the following prizes: FRM Lucien Tartois (2017), La recherché” (2015), Bettencourt-Schueller: Coup d’élan pour la recherche Française (2014), Silver Medal CNRS (2014) and Chevalier dans l’ordre national de la légion d’honneur (2014). She is the author / co-author of about a hundred publications and about fifty structures of proteins.