Research

Our research programs focus on the immune system and its pathologies and regroup most investigators involved in this field on the Bordeaux campus.

Our global objectives are:

  1. a better understanding of immune system contribution to the pathogenesis of chronic inflammation and cancer or in the control of infections
  2. an improved assessment of the alterations of the immune system resulting in specific vulnerability conditions such as in elderly, chronic infections or inflammation and cancer
  3. translation of this gain of knowledge toward a better treatment of patients.
  4. exploration in interdisciplinary groups of concepts that are central in our research, from immunosurveillance, to tolerance, neuroimmunology and inflammaging

One specific feature of ImmunoConcEpT is to combine basic research addressing mechanistic issues about immune cell activation and interactions with target/partner cells/tissues, and translational research to convert our results into therapeutic trials or to improve patient monitoring. All our projects are developed in close interaction with several Bordeaux University Hospital departments (Immunology, Renal Transplantation, Rheumatology, Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Intensive Care, Gastroenterology, Oncology and Hematology) that are instrumental for optimal development of our studies. Another important specificity of ImmunoConcEpT is to develop an interdisciplinary approach aiming at improving conceptual approaches and modelling in biology and medicine. This conceptual and theoretical approach is entirely integrated into our global scientific strategy. Collectively, we are convinced that the biological and medical sciences must add an intensive and “upstream” conceptual reflection to the traditional (and naturally indispensable) experimental method.

4 Teams for 4 main themes

Team 1

Vulnerability and ageing of the
immune system

Besides chronological age, weakening of the immune system can result from clinical situations associated to an accelerated immune ageing such as infections, transplantation and cancer. The research objective of our team is to advance our understanding of the causes and consequences of immune vulnerability and ageing.

Team 2

Origins and pathogenesis of Autoimmune and Inflammatory disorders

Our group has been mainly focused over the past 5 years in deciphering the pathogenic mechanisms at work in various human autoimmune and inflammatory disorders (AIDs), including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis (SSc), or multiple sclerosis (MS). Our scientific strategy relies on our ability to make observational studies in human, some of them being translated into scientific questions that are specifically addressed in our research unit with ex vivo, in vitro and in vivo (animal models) aspects. Ideally, after having shown the importance of the new pathogenic loop, our research is meant to return to patients through innovative clinical trials. Our group brings together complementary skills, necessary to address several important scientific aspects of AIDs regardless of their phenotype. The disease could represent a model, validating our scientific demonstration. Of note, AIDs fall within one of the key axes that will be presented to the HCERES committee for the evaluation of the University Hospital of Bordeaux in addition to the cardiology, neurology, and oncology axis.

Team 3

Immunology of Cancer and
Inflammatory Diseases

The research objective of our team is to fine map the landscape of the innate immune compartment, with a focus on myeloid cells, in cancer and inflammatory diseases. We wish to study their phenotypes and functions in cancer initiation, promotion and metastasis, immune suppression and evasion, anti-tumor immunity, as well as irAEs in response to immunotherapies. We are particularly interested in a) the role of innate immunity receptors e.g. inflammasomes in priming anti-tumor immune responses, b) the impact of metabolic crosstalk between cancer cells and myeloid cells and the role of immunometabolism in driving myeloid cell phenotypes and functions, c) the cross-talk between myeloid cells and cancer stem cells in cancer stemness and promotion; d) the role of cancer-myeloid cells circulating clusters in cancer dissemination. Another axis of our team is centered on understanding the role of the intestinal and local microbiome in tumorigenesis and inflammatory reactions and the impact of co-medications on the composition and function of the microbiome in these processes. Our long term goal is to develop new therapeutic approaches that exploit the innate immune system and the microbiome to improve patient care.

Team 4

Conceptual Biology and
Medicine

The Conceptual Biology and Medicine team’s expertise lies in philosophy of biology and medicine, as well as in conceptual and theoretical approaches to the living world. The team will focus on three questions: major conceptual issues in immunology and especially oncoimmunology; cancer; and aging and age-related diseases.

Technical Facilities

We have locally access to different technological facilities:

  • UMS TBM Core ( http://www.tbmcore.u-bordeaux.fr ) is gathering 10 different technological facilities (Flow Cytometry, Vectorology, L3 Laboratory, Histology, qPCR – single cell RNA Seq, CRISPR, Metabolomic, In vivo imaging, cell encapsulation for 3D culture, proteomic coupled to laser dissection). ImmunoConcEpT members are driving the Flow Cytometry facility.
  • Three Animal housing facilities (conventional, transgenic and A2 facilities) that are crucial for our studies in murine models ( http://www.cgfb.u-bordeaux.fr/en/synthese-animalerie )
  • The Centre for Functional Genomics Bordeaux (CGFB, http://www.cgfb.u-bordeaux.fr/en ) which is a federation of technology platforms, all labelled IBiSA, offering all the scientific communities access to equipment, techniques and expertise in Genome, Transcriptome, Proteome, Metabolome, Biophysical Structure, Bioinformatics and Imaging.
  • Bordeaux University has a very strong Imaging Center (BIC, http://www.bic.u-bordeaux.fr ) which is part of the France BioImaging network, and Euro BioImaging network, and provides access to Photonic and Electronic imaging
  • PARS Biopath Immuno (Plateforme analytique de recherche en santé, CHU Bordeaux) for the immunological analysis of clinical research projects (flow cytometry, proteomic (Luminex, SIMOA) and transcriptomic analysis (Nanostring))

For all the statistical, methodological and bioinformatics analyses of our studies, we have developed close interactions with the epidemiology institute in Bordeaux (BPH: Bordeaux Population Health). We interact more specifically with the team of Rodolphe Thiébault who is developing statistical tools to analyses big data and is devoted to the modeling of immune response. We have also access to the Bioinformatics facility in CGFB.

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