Our laboratory, entitled "Ecology and evolution
of microorganisms", belongs to the French Institute for
Medical Research (Inserm) and is located at the Xavier Bichat medical
school (Paris 7 university) in the north of Paris. Created in January
2003, with a developing team led since the beginning of the 1990's
by Erick Denamur, it has been enriched by young scientists of diverse
The adaptation of populations relies on the generation of genetic diversity and on the action of natural selection. Among the mutants randomly generated, natural selection retains the fittest individuals, i.e., those that are more prone to survive and reproduce in their environment. Although numerous works have investigated the molecular aspects of microbial virulence and resistance, few studies have focused on the evolutionary origins and consequences of this virulence and resistance.
Two aspects are essential for the understanding of the evolution of microorganisms: (i) the adequation between their genome and the environment and (ii) the constraints acting on their mode of adaptation. To gain further insights into these issues, we have chosen to work on Escherichia coli (laboratory and natural isolates) and the bacteriophages phiX174 and phi6. Our multidisciplinary approach brings together genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, molecular evolution, phylogeny, experimental evolution, modelisation, ecology and clinical research. Our team is composed of a variety of researchers including mathematicians, evolutionists, pharmacists and medical doctors.
research is at the interface of fundamental and clinical
research. The identification of parameters involved
in the adaptation of microorganisms will allow us to give some inferences
on modes of adaptation, speciation, and epitasis between the different
regions of the genome, as well as to provide medical applications in public
health, such as new preventative or anti-infectious therapeutic strategies.