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Department of Infectious Diseases Models of Innovative Therapies - IDMIT (Old)

Published on 24 August 2018
Le Grand.pngThe Department of “Infectious diseases Models of Innovative Therapies” ​(IDMIT), directed by Dr. Roger Le Grand, is a research entity associating three major institutions in France for research in medicine: the CEA, the Inserm and the Paris-Sud University. The IDMIT Department also establishes strong partnership with international organizations, in particular the Institute Pasteur.
Dr. Roger Le Grand, has been in charge of the direction of immunology and infectious disease research programs for more than 20 years, particularly in the domains of HIV infection and human vaccines. He also has strong expertise in the implementation of large research structures and international collaborative programs. IDMIT brings together more than 100 scientists working on common scientific challenges relating to innate and adaptive immunity in the context of the onset and regulation of autoimmune disorders, together with viral dissemination, reservoirs and sanctuaries. IDMIT is bringing together clinicians (Bicêtre Hospital) with expertise in immunopathology/virology involved in the coordination of large cohorts of patients and therapeutic programs and nonclinical scientists working on experimental models, including nonhuman primates (NHPs). Our strategy, based on interdisciplinary approaches, should accelerate the transfer of discoveries into clinical practice and should be highly attractive to young investigators and students. Research programs are supported by outstanding new facilities, advanced technologies for in vivo imaging, pharmacology, and the assessment of immune responses and treatments, and by established biobanks from cohorts of patients with chronic viral infections and autoimmune diseases. All facilities are located in close proximity, on the Fontenay-aux-Roses CEA campus and at Bicêtre Hospital.​


T​ransverse section of an axillary lymph node draining the skin site into which a DNA vaccine was injected eight days earlier. The B lymphocytes (in yellow), labeled with an antibody directed against CD20, are located in the follicles at the periphery of the lymph node. CD1a+ dendritic cells (in red) are abundant and located in the T zones of the lymph node. The activated macrophages expressing CD163 (in green) are located in the medullary sinus of the lymph node..​

Research programs at IDMIT Department are carried out in synergy by four teams organized in research laboratories:

  • The Laboratory of “Control of chronic viral infections” (Team-1), Directed by Pr. Olivier Lambotte, study the mechanisms of viral persistence in reservoirs in chronic HIV/SIV infection, focusing in particular on the role of tissue reservoirs, and on the links between the reservoirs and HIV-specific CD8 and CD4 T-cell responses. The work benefits from access to HIV-1-infected patients in different clinical situations, and in particular HIV controllers, as well as the macaque HIV/AIDS model.
  • The Laboratory of “Transmission and Immunity” (Team-2), Directed by Dr. Roger Le Grand, focused on antiviral immunity, with the specific aim of identifying correlates of protection, which are important for prevention strategies, such as vaccination. Studies on the generation of durable and oriented adaptive responses by vaccination are undertaken, together with studies deciphering transmission events in viral infections. The team aims also to identify and to characterize molecular and cellular immune mechanisms at the local level and in the periphery, following exposure to vaccines and in virulent challenge models.
  • The Laboratory of Autoimmune diseases (Team-3) Directed by Pr. Xavier Mariette, which study new mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, such as primary Sjögren’s syndrome (pSS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and autoimmune demyelinating diseases. In particular, this team investigates the role of NK cells and B-cell activation in pSS and RA, focusing in particular on genetic and epigenetic regulation. Studies benefit from large access to RA and pSS cohorts and the development of mouse and NHP models, to elucidate the mechanisms of lymphomagenesis in autoimmunity, potentially providing insight into the pathogenesis of individual diseases. 
  • The Laboratory of « Normal and Pathological T Cell Memory” (Team-4) Directed by Pr. Yassine Taoufik, which study the mechanisms by which CD8 memory precursors are generated and mature into highly functional memory T-cell subsets, including tissue-resident memory cells, together with the long-term maintenance of these subsets. Or particularly interested is the study of the CD4 helper signals sequentially provided by the various CD4 T-cell subsets throughout the process of memory CD8 T-cell differentiation. Studies in mouse models are complemented by translational programs in humans, focusing on the mechanisms underlying defects in the generation and maintenance of CD8 T-cell memory in chronic human viral infections and their relationship to viral persistence (HIV, EBV, JC virus).​

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