I’m permanent researcher in the Aspergillus unit and work on two major subjects:
Project1: Analysis of the A. fumigatus cell wall and its surface components.
The A. fumigatus cell wall is a highly a dynamic organelle, the composition of which is modified by environmental conditions. This has important implications for virulence because the cell wall of the fungus in the lung environment represents the major interface with host cell defense reactions. I study the plasticity of cell wall composition in response to environmental cues, with the long-term goal of identifying in vitro conditions that mimic the in vivo environment.
In conidia, the extracellular matrix is comprised of melanin, hydrophobins such as RodA, and α1,3 glucan. I am interested in studying how the three-dimensional organization of these components influences conidial permeability and resistance to environmental stress.
Project2: Interactions between A. fumigatus and the lung microbiota.
The lungs, like many other organs, are colonized by a commensal microbiota that can become dysregulated during infection. Co-colonisation of the lung with A. fumigatus and the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa is frequently observed in patients with cystic fibrosis. Together with B. Briard (PhD and post-doctoral fellow) we have shown that P. aeruginosa influences the survival of A. fumigatus in vitro due to the release of bacterial molecules which penetrate into the A. fumigatus cell. These molecules are either inhibitory or stimulatory depending on their concentration, suggesting that competitive interactions mediated by soluble mediators are likely to influence the survival of diverse microorganisms in the microbiota in vivo.