Despite many advances, infectious diseases remain the major causes of morbidity and mortality in much of the world. The goal of our research group is to improve our fine understanding of the factors that orchestrate antimicrobial host protective immune responses in vivo.
We are working on several different aspects at the interface between the host and Brucella, the bacteria responsible of brucellosis, a worldwide zoonosis. Our main objectives are:
(i) the development and characterization of new more physiological experimental models of Brucella infection in mice (such as intranasal and intradermal infection models)
(ii) the characterization of Brucella reservoir cells in vivo
(iii) the identification of immune effectors implicated in the control of primary and secondary infections
(iv) the identification of bacterial genes specifically required to escape the immune response
Our research works are interdisciplinary (immunology, microbiology) and involve a close cooperation between the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) (animal facility, immunohistofluorescent microscopic analysis) and Université de Namur (UNamur) (flow cytometry analysis, Biosafety Level 3 laboratory).
Selected recent publications
- Identification of immune effectors essential to the control of primary and secondary intranasal infection with Brucella melitensis in mice. J. Immunol. 2016.
- Brucella melitensis invades murine erythrocytes during infection. Infect Immun. 2014.
- Humoral immunity and CD4+ Th1 cells are both necessary for a fully protective immune response upon secondary infection with Brucella melitensis. J Immunol. 2014.
- In situ microscopy analysis reveals local innate immune response developed around Brucella infected cells in resistant and susceptible mice. PLoS Pathog. 2012.
During the master thesis and the thesis, students are trained in the following techniques:
- in vitro and in vivo Brucella infectious models
- murine experimental model
- manipulation in biosafety level III (BL-3) laboratory
- flow cytometry analysis (FACS) (FACSCalibur and FACSVerse)
- immunohistofluorescence analysis
- ELISA, PCR
Current scientific collaborations
Xavier De Bolle, Université de Namur
Jean-Jacques Letesson, Université de Namur
Laurence Van Melderen, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Jean-Marie Vanderwinden, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Jean-Paul Coutelier, Université Catholique de Louvain
Fabrice Bureau, Université de Liège
Marta Romano, Institut scientifique de Santé Publique (WIV-ISP)
Olivier Denis, Institut scientifique de Santé Publique (WIV-ISP)