Team Inserm 1 « Respiratory infection & Immunity »
Leader : M. Si-Tahar


Despite the recently-observed advances in diagnosis, management and treatment of acute respiratory infections, these diseases are still one of the main causes of death due to infection. While in the majority of cases, the use of appropriate therapies (in conjunction with microbiological diagnosis) enables clinicians to effectively treat their patients, about 10% of these patients still experience treatment failure and present a severe clinical picture requiring admission to intensive care unit. One probable explanation for this situation is that a part of the “equation” was not sufficiently taken into consideration: the host. In fact, during “host-pathogen” interaction, therapeutic efforts have primarily focused on the pathogens. That said, the defence response of the host may be inadequate and may thus contribute to a worsening of the patient’s condition.

We therefore consider it paramount i) to gain a better understanding of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the interaction between pathogens and the respiratory mucosa and ii) to examine the effects (beneficial or harmful) of certain host immune responses. The general issues that our team aim to deal with are illustrated in the figure opposite.

To address these, our mechanistic analyses will be complemented by preclinical (on relevant experimental models) as well as clinical (using specific biological sample collections) studies. More precisely, we will focus our research work into three areas:

  • “anti-infective immunity” 
  • “antimicrobial strategies” with a focus on targeting P. aeruginosa antibiotic-resistance mechanisms.

Finally, we will evaluate the effectiveness of new immune intervention strategies which could pave the way to valuable alternatives for clinicians.

To do this, we will capitalise on the knowledge and know-how developed over recent years by the entire team in the fields of anti-infective immunity and microbiology.