STUDY OF Drosophila melanogaster GUT HOMEOSTASIS IN RESPONSE TO INTESTINAL INFECTIONS
Two >2.5 year post-doctoral positions are available to work in the group directed by Dominique FERRANDON in the UPR9022 of the CNRS in Strasbourg (France).
A better understanding of infectious diseases will be gained by the genetic analysis of both host and pathogen, coupled with molecular biology, cell biology, and physiological techniques. The model organism Drosophila melanogaster is ideally suited for this endeavor thanks to its ease of rearing, the availability of potent genetic tools, and a century of research. In addition, the absence of an adaptive immune response allows a relatively straightforward analysis of mutant phenotypes at the organismal or at the cellular level. Our laboratory had so far focused on the systemic innate immune response. We have developed an intestinal infection model of Drosophila by the enterobacteriaceae Serratia marcescens. This potent entomopathogen kills flies within a day following a septic injury. In contrast, S. marcescens slays its host in a week when fed to adult Drosophila, even though it escapes rapidly from the gut into the insect’s body cavity. We have determined that at least two levels of host defense exist, namely a NF-kappaB-dependent antimicrobial response in the gut epithelium, and phagocytosis by hemocytes of bacteria that have traversed the gut barrier. Recently, we have completed the first genome-wide RNAi screen to identify the genes involved in the host response to intestinal infections. One of our major findings is that host defense is not limited to classical immune response pathways but encompasses basic physiological response such as JAK-STAT mediated compensatory proliferation of intestinal stem cells. Two projects are open to study various aspects of this model system.
The UPR9022 is at the forefront of research in the field of Drosophila innate immunity. Its five research groups (Pr. J. Hoffmann, Pr. JM. Reichhart, Dr. E. Levashina, Pr. JL. Imler, and Dr. D. Ferrandon) provide a unique and stimulating environment. It is well funded and is equipped with state of the art facilities. English is the working language in the lab. Strasbourg offers a rich intellectual environment, both scientifically and culturally. This lively and picturesque city, capital of Europe, located in the center of the upper Rhine valley, provides attractive living conditions.
We are looking for two highly motivated and gifted candidates who hold a Ph. D in cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, genomics. Experience with Drosophila (e.g., fly developmental genetics) is an advantage. No previous experience of immunology is required. Interested candidates should send their CV, a statement of research interests and accomplishments, the names and coordinates of two to three referees to Dr. Dominique Ferrandon (E-mail: D.Ferrandon@ibmc.u-strasbg.fr).
Recent publications from the lab :
Gottar et al., (2006) Cell ; Nehme et al., (2007) PLoS Pathogens;
Ferrandon et al., (2007) Nature Reviews Immunology; Cronin, Nehme et al., (2009) Science