Research Interests

The overarching goal of our group is to enhance our understanding of the evolution of microbial virulence and to better understand the drivers of infectious disease emergence and the ecological origins of these microbial organisms.

Coincidental Evolution​ of Microbial Virulence

We are particularly interested in the evolution of environmental human pathogens in the context of their adaptation to their environment. 

In many cases, virulence corresponds to a coincidental by-product of the adaptation of the microorganism to particular ecological niches.

 

In this context, we are interested in the wide range of interactions of microorganisms in the environment that could drive the emergence of infectious diseases.

 

In particular, we study key prokaryotic-eukaryotic and prokaryotic-prokaryotic interactions in the context of the bacterial weaponry and the eukaryotic genes and factors that contribute to these interactions.

We are currently working with environmental and zoonotic pathogens such as Vibrio, Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter among others.

Ongoing projects include:

  • Vibrio parahaemolyticus Type III Secretion System II (T3SS2): Role of fucose on its survival in the environment and on its evolution as a human pathogen.

  • Genetic screens in human cells for the dissection of host-pathogen interactions.

  • Development of genetic tools in bacteriovorous protists for the study of prokaryotic-eukaryotic interactions.

  • Integration of  genomic epidemiology & functional genomics into discovery pipelines to address emergent and re-emergent zoonotic and foodborne pathogens.