The Genomic Research Laboratory is devoted to the investigation of mechanisms
underlying Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation, intracellular survival
and antibiotic resistance using genomic technologies such as
microarrays, high-throughput sequencing, bioinformatics and genetic screens.The Genomic Research Laboratory is also actively involved in the development of methods in metagenomics and their application for medical research and diagnosis.
Our research focuses on Staphylococcus aureus, a micro-organism causing acute and chronic infections
in humans. This bacterial pathogen is able to escape our immune defenses by
using various mechanisms, such as:
- Getting encased in a secreted polysaccharidic matrix called biofilm,
- Getting internalized and thus protected into non-phagocytic human cells,
- Or, by gaining resistance to antibiotics, such as glycopeptides or methicillin.
Our team tries to elucidate these mechanisms by using a genomic approach (microarrays, genotyping, etc.).
A state-of-the-art genomic platform has been developed. Since no commercial
microarrays were available for the study of S. aureus, a collaboration has been made
with Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) to fulfil our goals. This partnership resulted in:
- The setting-up of a research team dedicated to the genomic of prokaryotes (computer scientists, biologists, physicians, technologists).
- The design, manufacturing and validation of a genome-wide S.aureus oligoarray.
- This achievement will provide important synergies between our groups involved in bioinformatics, genomics, genetics and microbial physiology (association with Kelley and Vaudaux laboratories).
The significance of our platform and research group is illustrated by numerous national and international collaborations with entities as diverse as the CHUV (University Hospitals of Vaud canton - Lausanne), the EPFL (Federal Institute of Technologies in Lausanne). Collaborations have been established with the following scientists:
in Switzerland (Profs B. Berger-Baechi, T. Calandra, T. Egli, J. Frey, U. Jenal, T. Lasser, P. Linder, Ph. Moreillon, J C. Piffaretti) and in other countries (Prof. D. Mack, Swansea, Wales; Prof. I. Toth, Dundee, Scotland ; Prof. D. Raoult, Marseille, France ; Prof J. Etienne, Lyon, France ; Prof. Y. Le Loir, Rennes, France; Profs S. Engelmann et M. Hecker, Greifswald, Germany ; Prof. M.G. Pinho, Portugal; Prof. A Bayer, Los Angeles, USA; Prof. R Proctor, Madison, USA, Dr L. Louie Toronto, Canada; etc..).
The Genomic Research Laboratory routinely collaborates with various research and diagnostic companies including: Abbott, Agilent, Applied Biosystems, BioMérieux, Bruker, Cepheid, Roche, etc… as well as various start-up companies: Fasteris, BioCartis, Spinomix.
Our research is supported by competitive grants obtained from the Swiss National Science Foundation (projects on S. aureus biofilms; antibiotic resistance; virulence and genome evolution), the program COST (project COST B28) as well as different research programs from the European Community (MagRSA, MOSAR, SATURN).