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    Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation (3I)

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    Department director: Florence NIEDERGANG

    Deputy directors: Clarisse BERLIOZ-TORRENT & Agnès FOUET

    The Infection, Immunity and Inflammation department encompasses the fields of immunity and host-pathogen interactions, through the research activity of 17 teams. Using molecular and cellular approaches as well as animal models and human samples, our teams have been instrumental for major, recent breakthroughs on the biology of cell populations (T cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, B cells and neutrophils) of the innate and adaptive immune system and their roles in cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory and infectious diseases. Another major focus is to dissect the biology of pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites) and the mechanisms they use to subvert the functions of infected tissues and cells.

    Several teams develop programs to translate their basic research into vaccine, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. The links between the department and the Cochin Hospital are also strengthened with four team leaders having important clinical duties, which favors bench-to-bedside translation of the results.

    The “life” of the 3I department is punctuated by internal or external seminars every week. In addition, the department organizes each year an “Institut Cochin-Miltenyi symposium” that attracts more than 100 persons on timely topics (Respiratory diseases in 2017, CAR-T cells in 2018, B cells in 2019).

    This department was in the front line in the past years in the contribution to outreach activities at the level of the institute, organizing lab visits and activities during “open doors” events like “fête de la science”, or with Sidaction or FRM donors, or open doors with the Cochin Hospital.

     

    Major axes of research

    * Immunology, from immune cells to disease:
    (Allanore - Batteux, Bourdoulous, Chiche - Burgel, Donnadieu, -, Hosmalin - Cheynier, Lucas, Niedergang, Randriamampita, Witko-Sarsat)

    These teams tackle basic questions on the biology (ontogeny, homeostasis, activation, migration, cell signaling, functions) of cell populations of the innate and adaptive immune systems: T and B cells, dendritic cells, macrophages and neutrophils. They are also interested in applying their knowledge to pathological conditions such as infections (see below), cancer (in particular lung cancer and melanoma) and autoimmune/inflammatory diseases (systemic sclerosis, vasculitis, sepsis, cystic fibrosis, etc).

     

    ** Microbes and Host:
    (Ariey, Arrieumerlou, Berlioz - Emiliani, Bomsel, Bourdoulous, Chiche - Burgel, Hosmalin - Cheynier, Lavazec, Matic, Margottin - Pique, Niedergang, Poyart - Fouet)

    Many teams are focused on the biology of bacteria or parasites and drug resistance, as well as the interactions of these microorganisms with their hosts. A common major theme is to dissect the mechanisms used by pathogens to subvert the functions of infected tissues and cells and in particular signaling, subcellular trafficking and cytoskeleton dynamics. In addition, the barrier function of epithelial and endothelial cells, as well as the contribution of phagocytic cells, is examined in vitro, in animal models and ex vivo. The steps of tissue colonization, cell entry, replication and intracellular fate of microorganisms are investigated for pathogens like Plasmodium, Shigella, Salmonella, Neisseria and Streptococci.

    The study of the molecular pathogenesis of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1 and 2) is a strong, historical common interest of many teams, addressing questions on the early and late steps of the replicative cycle, on restriction factors and viral escape, on viral latency and on cytokine response to viral infection in primary cell populations. Other viruses are also studied, such as Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, Human T Lymphotropic Virus, influenza virus and human rhinovirus.