I obtained my PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis working on bacterial toxins that target the host endothelium. In 2009 I joined the lab of Carmen Buchrieser at the Institut Pasteur in Paris for a postdoctoral training. I had studied the toxin of a pathogenic bacterium, thus I wanted to learn about other non toxin-mediated aspects of host pathogen interactions. In particular I was interested in studying bacterial virulence mechanisms and the strategies employed by Legionella pneumophila to subvert host functions to gain knowledge on how and which cellular pathways the pathogen modulates to replicate inside a eukaryotic cell and to cause disease.
L. pneumophila is an intracellular bacterium responsible for the pneumonia-like Legionnaires’ disease. What was fascinating me the most was that the co-evolution between L. pneumophila and its eukaryotic hosts has lead to the acquisition of proteins through horizontal gene transfer and/or convergent evolution, that allow L. pneumophila to mimic functions of eukaryotic proteins..
I focus most of my research on the identification of bacterial effectors that target the host cell nucleus and modify epigenetic marks to better understand how L. pneumophila exploits nuclear regulations of the host cell to its own advantage.