In spite of a century of control and prevention efforts, infectious diseases remain a major problem in public health, causing over 14 million deaths every year worldwide. Four infectious diseases (lower respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis) are among the 10 leading causes of death in the world. In the last decades, specific aspects of modern life, such as massive use of antibiotics, rapid air transit, urbanisation and ecological changes have accelerated both the (re)emergence and the spread of pathogens all over the world. The constant ability of microorganisms to evolve and adapt allows them to find new environmental niches, to diversify their pathogenicity and to increase their drug resistance. As a result, acquired bacterial resistance to antibiotics has now become massive and has reached dangerous levels in the community beyond the limits of hospital environment. HIV infection is not only spreading at an alarming rate in developing countries, but continues to pose serious patient management questions in France. In the recent years, outbreaks of Zika or Ebola virus have shown our vulnerability to emerging viral pathogens and the capacity of these pathogens to deeply disorganize health systems and social communities.
The goal of the laboratory is to study, through a multidisciplinary approach, at both microbial population and human population levels, the ecological and evolutionary forces as well as the mechanisms allowing microorganisms to adapt to various environments and to become virulent and resistant to antimicrobial agents. The microorganisms studied encompass mainly Escherichia coli and others multiresistant Enterobacteriaceae, HIV, HCV, HPV and emerging viruses such as Ebola and Zika. We aim to optimise the current preventive and therapeutic strategies to fight these pathogens but also to develop and implement new innovative strategies. We develop mathematical models to understand relationship between concentration and effects of anti-infective agents. We evaluate the cost and the cost-effectiveness of these interventions to guide decision makers.
Our research is characterised by both fundamental and applied approaches. We develop projects with immediate implications for patients but also projects with more fundamental objectives to characterise the genetics, physiology and ecology of infectious agents, as well as methodological approaches in statistics and population genetics to improve the analysis of these agents. The interplay between these different approaches is a key point of our laboratory. This is why, every day, IAME brings together biologists, modellers and clinicians from various specialties to develop new breakthrough ideas to combat infectious diseases.
The Unit members at the IAME annual meeting at the Paris Rive Gauche site of the University of Paris, May 16th 2019