Recherche / Départements scientifiques

Département Infection et épidémiologie


Photo de Françoise DROMER
Françoise DROMER
(Directeur du Département)

Photo de Michel CHIGNARD
Michel CHIGNARD
(Adjoint au directeur du Département)

Brief history

The Department of Infection & Epidemiology, which includes 13 research units, 3 laboratories and 1 technical platform, was created in 2005 from units in former departments of "Molecular Medicine" and "Ecosystems and Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases". The Infection and Epidemiology Department is deeply involved in the Public Health missions through the activities of 8 National Reference Centers (Neisseria, Bordetella. Salmonella/E. coli/Shigella, Vibrio, Lyssavirus, Listeria, toxigenic Corynebacteria, Invasive Mycoses & Antifungals),  3 World Health Organization Collaborating Centers (WHO-CC) (Rabies, Listeria, Salmonella) and the Urgent Response to Biological Threats laboratory. We all are committed to training the next generation of scientists to research in various fields related to infectious diseases (microbiology, immunology, epidemiology, entomolgy...).  The connexions of the Department with various Institutes of the international network are noteworthy with several productive collaborations ongoing.

Scientific background and interests

Our research themes are quite broad dealing with pathogens, vectors and hosts, from basic science to translational research, from immunology and genetics to epidemiology and diagnostic tools for infectious diseases. Research in the department relies on strong and diverse expertise and trainings, unique cohorts of patients, and isolates/vectors collected in Metropolitan France and abroad. We have a global vision on hosts, pathogens and their interactions, and consider working on samples and data originating from well-characterized human cohorts as a way to maximize the future clinical and public health relevance of our research findings. We are conscious that taking into account the diversity of the hosts and of the pathogens is of primary importance. Indeed, the key to predicting the outcome of infectious diseases may lie in our understanding of how genetic diversity of hosts and pathogens translates into disease outcome.

Scientists in the department have followed diverse educational tracks and use multidisciplinary approaches and tools (epidemiology, microbiology, dynamic imaging, immunology, histopathology, genetics, comparative genomics, cell biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics) in their projects. The pathogens studied are diverse (bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi). We study well-characterized mutants and reference strains like many other groups, but also field samples (vectors and pathogens). We also use our collections that often include specimens collected decades ago that can be valuable assets for the study of pathogens’ evolution, population genetics, evolutionary timing, emergence of resistance, etc. On the host side, animal and cellular models as well as cohorts of patients are used to dissect risk factors for the development of infections or emergence of resistance to anti-infective drugs, host defense mechanisms, tissue damages, mechanisms allowing crossing of the host's barriers …