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Zoï Vahlas

Career goal

To perform postdoctoral trainings both in France and the USA in the field of host-pathogen interaction, and to become an independent research investigator developing a niche in immunometabolism.

Research Project

Tuberculosis (TB) is the deadliest disease due to a single infectious agent, namely Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The risk of developing TB is estimated to be 16 to 27 times higher in people living with HIV-1 compared to the general population (WHO report, 2018). In this co-infection context, my collaborative consortium (the Neyrolles and Vérollet/Poincloux teams) previously showed that different TB-associated microenvironments skew macrophages towards an immunosuppressive-like activation profile with an increased formation of tunneling nanotube (TNT) and a strong exacerbation of HIV-1 infection (Souriant et al. 2019; Lastrucci et al. 2015). Previous data also showed that the lectin receptor, Siglec-1 (sialoadhesin, CD169), is upregulated and participates in the HIV-1 transfer through TNT  (Dupont et al. 2020). In this context, the aim of my post-doctoral project, funded by the ANRS (2021-2023), is to continue to dissect the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the exacerbation of HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis by M. tuberculosis. The first objective will be to better characterize the role of TB-induced Siglec-1 in TNT biogenesis. The second will be to define the role of macrophage metabolism and its involvement in this exacerbation of HIV-1 infection in the context of TB infection.

Curriculum vitae

Education
•    PhD, Institut de Génétique moléculaire de Montpellier (IGMM), France (2016 – 2020)
Project: Metabolic regulation of HIV-1 infection in CD4 T lymphocytes.
Thesis advisor: Dr. Naomi Taylor

•    Dipl. Biochemical Engineering, National Institute of Applied Sciences (INSA), France
Dipl. Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece
Double degree (February 2016)
Research experience
•    Engineer in microbial electrosynthesis, Laboratoire de Génie chimique (LGC), France (2016)
Project: Bioelectrosynthesis for residual waste refining.
Supervisor: Dr. Alain Bergel
•    Internship, Marianthi Simou Laboratory, Athens, Greece (2015)
Project: Study of the biological activity of quinazoline compounds in angiogenesis models
Supervisor: Dr. Heleni Loutrari
•    Internship, Institute of bioscience and applications (NCSR Demokritos), Athens, Greece (2014)
Project: Study of the BRCA1 gene in Greek patients with breast cancer
Supervisor: Dr. Gerassimos Voutsinas

Publications
•    Clerc, I.*, Abba Moussa, D.*, Vahlas, Z.*, Tardito, S., Oburoglu, L., Sitbon, M., Mongellaz, C. and N. Taylor.
Entry of glucose- and glutamine-derived carbons into the citric acid cycle supports early steps of HIV-1 infection in CD4 T cells. Nature Metabolism  (2019) 1: 717–730. *co-first authors, equal contributions

•    Blanchet, E., Vahlas, Z., Etcheverry, L., Rafrafi, Y., Erable, B., Délia, ML., Bergel, A.
Coupled iron-microbial catalysis for CO2 hydrogenation with multispecies microbial communities. Chemical Engineering Journal (2018) 346: 307–316

Awards and Fellowships

•    Retropath ‘PLOS Pathogens’ Trainee award

•    13th ENII EFIS EJI Summer School on Advanced Immunology - Travel award (2018)

•    French National PhD Fellowship (Ecole Doctorale CBS2-2017) – Ranked 1st/60

•    Erasmus Fellowship (2012)