How fungi can be a threat to human health and how to improve diagnosis and prognosis of invasive fungal infections? Our mutidisciplinary approach relies on improving knowledge on the pathophysiology of these infections through experimental models and translational research, and by developing new tools for the diagnostic and the characterization of the isolates. We use the diversity of clinical isolates and the data collected through the French National Reference Center for Invasive Mycoses and Antifungals as a mean to assess the clinical relevance of our experimental findings.
The lab members are coming from different backgrounds associating academic training (PhD) and clinical or laboratory practice in university hospitals (MD, PharmD). Many of us are also involved in teaching through the Medical Mycology course of Institut Pasteur.
Cryptococcosis is a severe opportunistic infection presenting as meningoencephalitis especially in patients with cellular immune defect such as those with AIDS, solid organ transplantation, chronic lymphoid leukemia, or prolonged corticiosteroid treatment. It is estimated that cryptococcosis is associated with 1 million cases/year and more than 600,000 deaths. Meningoencephalitis is always fatal unless treated but remains associated with a 20% mortality rate. The yeast, Cryptococcus neoformans, is present in the environment. The pathophysiology of the infection remains unclear even if it is established that infecting particles are inhaled probably early in life during childhood and stay dormant until an immune defect allows reactivation and dissemination with crossing of the blood-brain barrier. In the lab, we use a multidisciplinary approach studying both, the host side (clinical and epidemiological studies, immune response to infection, animal and cellular models, development of biomarkers) and the yeast side (diversity of the infecting strains, yeasts adapatation to host, study of dormancy) to better understand the infectious process.
We take advantage of the strains collected through the National Reference Center to investigate the taxonomy and phylogeny of specific groups of pathogenic fungi, and to design new diagnostic tools based on molecular approaches, and new genotyping methods based on single nucleotide polymorphisms identified by various techniques (microsatellites, MLST, RT-PCR, whole genome sequencing). All our research activities benefit from the various expertises present in the lab and on campus.
The lab is associated to the CNRS (URA3012).