The Laboratory of Vaccinology and Mucosal Immunity (LoVMI) group of the Faculty of Medicine of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, focuses on a better comprehension of the immune response following either Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Bordetella pertussis infection in children as well as in adults and in immunocompetent as well as immunocompromised individuals. This work includes the characterization of innate and adaptive immune responses, including both humoral and cellular immune responses to the infectious agents or corresponding vaccine antigens with the aim of developing new strategies for better vaccine protection and the identification of new biomarkers of protection and/or disease. Since these pathogens most often infect humans by the mucosal route, we characterize the immune responses both in the blood and at the site of the infection. Our transdisciplinary laboratory comprises medical doctors, scientists and technicians.
Under the direction of Prof Dr Françoise Mascart, the research group has over 15 years of experience in the field of pertussis and TB immunology. Using state-of-the-art technologies, the LoVMI group has since been at the cutting edge of biomarker discovery within the tuberculosis field. Prof Dr Françoise Mascart is the head of the LoVMI as well as of the Immunobiology laboratory at the Hôpital Erasme of the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Prof Dr Françoise Mascart has always tackled clinic-related questions, using fundamental research techniques to analyse clinical samples from well-characterised cohorts, available thanks to excellent collaborations with clinicians at the Hôpital Erasme but also at other hospitals in Brussels. Prof Dr Françoise Mascart has so far supervised 15 PhD students and 5 post-doctoral fellows, all of which have led to multiple peer-reviewed publications.
Latest R&D activities
Biomarker discovery in the field of tuberculosis lead to the development of a new diagnostic test for latent tuberculosis and a patent was obtained.
Recent Key Publications
- Dirix V. et al: Added value of long-term cytokine release assays to detect M. tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected subjects in Uganda.
J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2016 Mar 3.
- Smits K, et al. Immunological Signatures Identifying Different Stages of Latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection and Discriminating Latent from Active Tuberculosis in Humans. J Clin Cell Immunol 2015, 6:4
- Mascart F, Locht C. Integrating knowledge of Mycobacterium tuberculosis pathogenesis for the design of better vaccines. Expert Review of Vaccines 2015, in press
- Smith SG, et al. Intracellular Cytokine Staining and Flow Cytometry: Considerations for Application in Clinical Trials of Novel Tuberculosis Vaccines. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 14;10(9):e0138042.
- Wyndham-Thomas C, et al. Implementation of latent tuberculosis screening in HIV care centres: evaluation in a low tuberculosis incidence setting. Epidemiol Infect. 2015 Jul 27:1-9.
- Wyndham-Thomas C, et al. Contribution of a heparin-binding haemagglutinin interferon-gamma release assay to the detection of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in HIV-infected patients: comparison with the tuberculin skin test and the QuantiFERON-TB Gold In-tube. BMC Infect Dis.2015 Feb 14;15:59.
- Schepers K, et al. Early cellular immune response to a new candidate mycobacterial vaccine antigen in childhood tuberculosis. Vaccine. 2015 Feb 18;33(8):1077-83.
- van Els CA, et al. Toward Understanding the Essence of Post-Translational Modifications for the Mycobacterium tuberculosis Immunoproteome. Front Immunol. 2014 Aug 11;5:361
- Wyndham-Thomas C, et al. Key role of effector memory CD4+ T lymphocytes in a short-incubation heparin-binding hemagglutinin gamma interferon release assay for the detection of latent tuberculosis. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Mar;21(3):321-8.
- Schepers K, et al. Long-incubation-time gamma interferon release assays in response to purified protein derivative, ESAT-6, and/or CFP-10 for the diagnosis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in children. Clin Vaccine Immunol. 2014 Feb;21(2):111-8.
- Schepers K, et al. IL-12Rβ1 deficiency and disseminated Mycobacterium tilburgii disease. J Clin Immunol. 2013 Nov;33(8):1285-8.
- Dessein R, et al. Heparin-binding haemagglutinin, a new tool for the detection of latent Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection in hemodialysis patients. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 5;8(8):e71088.
There are currently no open positions in the LoVMI group. However, unsolicited applications from excellent candidates are always welcome and can be addressed to:
Prof Dr Françoise Mascart, Dr Laetitia Aerts, Dr Véronique Corbière, Dr Violette Dirix.
The LoVMI group is not actively looking for new collaboration opportunities, yet propositions for new collaborations in the field of Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Bordetella pertussis infection are also welcome and can be addressed to: Prof Dr Françoise Mascart, Dr Laetitia Aerts, Dr Véronique Corbière, Dr Violette Dirix.