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Dr. Marcel Behr - Mycobacterium, NOD2 and Freund's adjuvant

Marcel Behr

McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Mycobacterium, NOD2 and Freund's adjuvant

Studies in the early 20th century identified cell mediated immunity by combining the tubercle bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) with unrelated antigens.  The reagent (mineral oil plus the tubercle bacillus) was formalized as complete Freund’s adjuvant and has become known as “ the immunologist’s dirty little secret”.  We have conducted studies to understand why Jules Freund and colleagues selected a slow-growing, clumping and pathogenic bacteria over other more obvious choices.  The seminar will present published work that demonstrate how a modification in the mycobacterial peptidoglycan leads to enhanced immune recognition, mediated through the host receptor NOD2.  Ongoing work will be presented looking at the importance of NOD2-mediated recognition affects the outcome of experimental mycobacterial infections.


Dr. Behr is a clinician-scientist with appointments of Full Professor in the Department of Medicine and Associate member in the departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics as well as Microbiology and Immunology. He was the founding Director of the McGill International TB Centre and led it from 2012 to 2018. He is the Associate Program Leader of the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre since 2016 and in 2017 he became the co-Director the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (McGill-i4). He is the interim director of McGill Infectious Diseases Division.

Dr. Behr trained at the University of Toronto, Queen’s, McGill and Stanford.  His work has been recognized by election into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the American Academy of Microbiology.  Dr. Behr’s lab uses bacterial genomic methodologies to study the epidemiology and pathogenesis of tuberculosis and other mycobacterial diseases.


Contact: Christophe Guilhot (

Link to attend the seminar:

11 May

14:00 - 15:00

Online seminar