I have been working for years on several aspects of the biology of T cells. The main questions I addressed were i) the role of allele-specific motifs in antigen binding to Major Histocompatibility complex molecules (MHC), ii) how T cell receptor engagement by peptide-MHC complexes is converted into T cell activation and iii) what are the mechanisms and biological consequences of the process of trogocytosis.
I joined the lab of Olivier Neyrolles in 2010 where I am studying the immune response against Mycobacterium tuberculosis with a focus on lymphoid cells. Together with Alan Bénard, a post-doc in the team, we analyzed the role of B lymphocytes in Tuberculosis and demonstrated their contribution through the production of type I interferons resulting in lowered inflammation and increased bacterial burdens (Bénard et al. Am J Resp Crit Care Med 2018; https://insb.cnrs.fr/fr/cnrsinfo/les-lymphocytes-b-modulateurs-de-la-reponse-inflammatoire-dans-la-tuberculose), a project funded by ANR-12-BSV3-0002. With Anthony Troegeler, a PhD student in the team, we reported that DCIR is a modulator of the immunity to Tuberculosis which acts by sustaining type I interferon signaling in antigen-presenting cells (Troegeler et al. PNAS 2018; https://insb.cnrs.fr/fr/cnrsinfo/dcir-une-molecule-qui-regule-limmunite-contre-la-tuberculose). Together with Dan Corral, a PhD student in the team we are now exploring the contribution of other populations of lymphoid cells in immunity to TB, in particular Innate Lymphoid Cells.
Finally, together with Alison Charton, an engineer in the team and Dan Corral, we are also exploring the role played by steroid hormones in controlling the differential susceptibility of males and females to Tuberculosis at the level of the immune response. This project is a collaborative one between our team and Sophie Laffont and Jean-Charles Guéry at the CPTP, INSERM, Toulouse. The project is funded by ANR-18-CE15-0004-01.
Management of research
I am part of the section 27 (immunology, host-pathogen interactions) of the "comité national du CNRS" and, as such, I am involved in the management of the career development for permanent CNRS researchers and in the recruitment of new permanent researchers as well as in evaluating research teams and units.
Professor at the University of Toulouse, I teach basic immunology at the Licence and Master degrees. I am also actively involved in trying to reduce the gap between teachers and students (by promoting interactivity and project-based learning approaches), students and researchers (by involving researches in students' projects and organizing the "Night of Immunology" where researches and students meet around posters to discuss about science) and also to promote students' actions toward the general public/patients (by involving my students in therapeutic patient education programs together with care units and presenting their projects in science cafés). I received the PEPS Prize in 2018 from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in the category "innovation in pedagogy" (http://www.ipbs.fr/2018-peps-prize-pedagogical-innovation-awarded-immunova-project-active-interactive-and-flexible).