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Ecology and evolution of zoonoses

Organizers: Nathalie Charbonnel & Guillaume Castel

The aim of our researches is to study zoonoses (animal-derived infectious diseases) vectored or tanked by wildlife animals, and to understand the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms which lead to the emergence of these diseases in man.

Beyond the fundamental questions, these researches aim at identifying and characterizing ecosystems favorable to the emergence phenomena, to develop predictive models and risk maps, supplying decision-making tools for public health policy.

We approach this theme by various scientific domains and different approaches:

  1. Molecular epidemiology of zoonoses: characterization, with molecular tools, of the various "compartments" involved in the zoonoses of interest, among which:
    • host/reservoir micro-mammals,
    • vectors (fleas, ticks, etc.),
    • zoonoses agents (viruses, bacteria, protozoa).
  2. Interactions between zoonoses hosts and agents: identification of the individual, populational and extrinsic/intrinsic factors which influence the interactions between hosts and agents of zoonoses. We favor three directions:
    • the genetic architecture of the tolerance, resistance and sensibility traits at the host, and the virulence at the agents of zoonoses,
    • the influence of coinfections and intestinal flora on the risk of infection by zoonoses agents and on their pathogenicity,
    • the influence of landscape, broad-sense environmental parameters, pattern and population dynamics (demographic cycles, biological invasions) on the host/zoonose agent interactions.
  3. Prediction and impact: integration of the previous scientific questioning in diverse predictive perspectives:
    • the understanding of the geographical distributions of zoonoses agents and their hosts, reservoirs and associated vectors,
    • the analysis of the risk of emergence.
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