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The Department’s research aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying viral infections and their associated diseases. In the mean time, teams  are developping innovative tools for virus discovery, diagnostics , therapeutics  & vaccinology. A large effort is made to decipher virus/host interactions and physio-pathological events . Research activities include  studies of transmission through animal reservoirs or vectors, viral epidemiology, evolution and host immune responses. Our goal is to remain at the cutting edge of basic research, providing discoveries that can be translated into solutions to address global public health challenges linked to emerging and re-emerging viruses.  In this regard, the department houses different Naional Reference Centres and WHO Collaborating Centres (WHOCCs) for viruses and work in close collaboration with the 33 Institut Pasteur around the world.


Viruses under studies, include

  • Respiratory viruses such as Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)  and the recent emerging SARS-CoV-2 virus;
  • Retroviruses (HIV, HTLV and foamy viruses along with their simian counterparts ;
  • Arboviruses  : flaviviruses (yellow fever, dengue and Zika), alphaviruses (such as Chikungunya) , bunyaviruses;
  • Picornaviruses, Rhabdoviruses and Paramyxoviruses such as measles and parainfluenza viruses;
  • Enteroviruses (poliovirus, Coxsachie virus, rhinovirus, enterovirus 71)
  • Oncogenic viruses (papillomaviruses,  hepatitis B and C viruses);
  • Highly pathogenic agents such as Ebola, Lassa and Nipah viruses are studied in the frame of the biosafety level 4 facilities in Lyon, France.

Our research focus on

  • Virus structure
  • Molecular & cellular mechanisms of the viral cycle: cell entry, viral uncoating, genome replication, particle assembly, egress.
  • Transmission between hosts into their environment – zoonoses /animal reservoirs ; vectors, entomology
  • Dissemination within the organism (crossing of anatomical barriers)
  • Virus -Host interactions : host metabolism upon infection, restriction factors, immunity, viral escape, persistence
  • Pathogenesis , such as cancer; immunodeficiency; neurological, respiratory, enteric and hepatic diseases
  • Population genetics and viral dynamics : molecular and clinical epidemiology, phylogeny studies, virus & host genomics and transcriptomics, determinants of virus and host susceptibility or resistance, adaptation and evolution.

Retreat of the Virology Department (Le Pouliguen) – May 16th-18th, 2022






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