Research on Mycobacteria and Bordetella

Our projects are focused on two major bacterial respiratory pathogens: Mycobacteria and Bordetella.

Today, respiratory infections, many of which are caused by pathogenic bacteria, are among the world’s most successful killers.
Tuberculosis (TB) is the cause of approximately 1.8 million annual deaths. Pertussis, the existence of which had almost been forgotten, shows a dramatic global re-emergence, including in high-vaccine coverage countries.
The choice of working in parallel on these two bacterial models is motivated by the fact that whereas both bacteria infect the human respiratory tract, they follow extremely different strategies that we believe are interesting to compare. For both infections, vaccines are available but the re-emergence of both diseases indicates that there is a need for improvement. Moreover, while antibiotic resistance of B. pertussis is currently not a concern, the global spread of multidrug resistant TB is a major problem.

The objectives of the team are (i) to study the molecular mechanisms of pathogenicity of B. pertussis and M. tuberculosis pathogen families, (ii) to analyse the genome evolution of M. tuberculosis and the genetic regulation of the two pathogens, and iii) to use this knowledge to develop novel approaches to design better vaccines, new therapeutics and new methods for molecular diagnostics and molecular surveillance, which are urgently needed to fight against these deadly scourges.

Thus, our research is a continuum from a continuous acquisition of basic knowledge to the development of clinical applications and investigations. These ambitious objectives are led with the help of collaborations with many academic French collaborators, including within the CIIL, and international laboratories, in the framework of multiple ANR and EU programmes, and with very active private partners participating to the clinical and industrial development of our discoveries.