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.
Since 2004, 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 essential for the persistence of Brucella in tissues, (v) the development of a safer live attenuated vaccine candidate to protect animals against brucellosis.
Since 2020, we have also been working on the development of a vaccine candidate capable of protecting immunocompromised mice against intranasal infection by Acinetobacter baumannii, which is frequently responsible for serious infection in immunocompromised patients.
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
- Genome-wide analysis of Brucella melitensis genes required throughout intranasal infection in mice.
PLoS Pathog. 2022, 30;18(6):e1010621.
- Aconitate decarboxylase 1 participates in the control of pulmonary Brucella infection in mice.
PLoS Pathog. 2021, 15;17(9):e1009887.
- Route of Infection Strongly Impacts the Host-Pathogen Relationship.
Front Immunol. 2019, 11;10:1589
During the master thesis and the thesis, students are trained in the following techniques:
- in vitro and in vivo Brucella and A. baumannii infectious models
- mouse infection models
- manipulation in biosafety level III (BL-3) laboratory
- flow cytometry analysis (FACS) (FACSCalibur and FACSVerse)
- immunohistofluorescence analysis
- ELISA, PCR
Important Note for students:
Our research involves the handling of animals in biosafety level 3 (BSL3) conditions. Animal handling requires legal training and handling in BSL3 conditions requires biosafety training. Consequently, we cannot accept students for internships for a period of less than one year.