Tarek Msadek studied molecular genetics of signal transduction pathways in Bacillus subtilis and obtained his PhD in 1991 with Frank Kunst at the University Paris Diderot (Paris). He was recruited by the Institut Pasteur in 1992, where became Director of Research and Head of Laboratory in 2002. Following a postdoctoral internship in James Hoch’s laboratory (Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA, 1994-1996), he has led an independent group at the Institut Pasteur with a long-standing history and recognized expertise in Gram-positive molecular genetics of regulatory pathways, two-component systems and stress response. Since 2003 he has extended his studies to Staphylococcus aureus, heading the «Signaling and Pathogenesis of Staphylococci» team at the Institut Pasteur.
His scientific contributions include the characterization of the first two-component signal transduction pathway from Gram-positive bacteria (DegS/DegU); the identification of the first Clp ATP-dependent protease subunits in Gram-positive bacteria (ClpC, ClpP, ClpE) and the demonstration of their pleiotropic regulatory role; the discovery of CtsR, a novel thermosensory regulator of stress response; the in-depth characterization of the WalK/WalR two-component system, essential for cell viability and coordinating cell division and cell envelope plasticity; the discovery in Staphylococcus aureus of new virulence genes (Stk1) and a novel bacitracin and nisin resistance pathway (BraSR/BraDE/VraDE); and the demonstration of natural competence for DNA transformation in Staphylococcus aureus through expression of a secondary sigma factor, SigH.
His present research is focused on adaptive responses in Staphylococcus aureus, including genetic pathways controlling virulence gene expression, host-pathogen interactions, antimicrobial resistance, genome plasticity and cell envelope homeostasis.