The Institute of Microbiology (IMUL) activities are devoted to the study and diagnostics of microbial pathogens of human importance, and to teaching.

About us

The Institute of Microbiology (IMUL) is affiliated with the Lausanne University Hospital of the Canton de Vaud (CHUV). Its activities are devoted to the study and diagnostics of microbial pathogens of human importance, and to teaching.

In this context, the Institute provides diagnostic services for several CHUV departments and for other hospital and private laboratories in Switzerland. The Institute also has lines of basic research in medical microbiology encompassing bacteriology, mycology and virology, as well as research and development mainly in microbial diagnostics. In addition, the Institute of Microbiology is very active in promoting 3R principles and lay communication. Teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels is also an important aspect of the IMUL duties.

The main fields of expertise of IMUL are indicated and described briefly below.


The Institute provides microbial diagnostics for hospitalized patients and for external patients. It serves as a reference center for several intracellular bacteria and for human papillomaviruses, and it is active in the development of new tests.

Our panel of biomedical experts is available for advice.

The diagnostic activity, integrated into the Department of Laboratories of the CHUV, is recognized by Swissmedic (authorization 28411), and is accredited under ISO/CEI 17025 (STS328). It is distributed into 5 functional domains.

  • Microscopy and cultures using mainly classical diagnostic tools as well as MALDI-TOF for the diagnosis of bacteria, fungi and parasites
  • Molecular diagnostics for the diagnosis of the whole spectrum of microbial agents, including viruses, with molecular assays based on the polymerase chain reaction, as well as mycobacteria with non molecular tests
  • Serology for the diagnosis of the humoral immune response to a comprehensive panel of microbial agents
  • Genomics/metagenomics for rapid bacterial whole genome sequencing and annotation for microbe discovery in relation to patients care
  • Rapid tests for critical situations for which very rapid results directly impact decisions for hospitalization, isolation, treatment or investigations.


  • Research in bacteriology is focused on intracellular bacteria, mainly chlamydiae, and their relationship with human diseases
  • Research in mycology is aimed at deciphering the mechanism of antifungal resistance and virulence in fungal pathogens, including Candida albicans, as well as genomics of Pneumocystis jirovecii
  • Research in virology addresses several aspects of basic research in human pathogenic arenaviruses and human immunodeficiency virus, as well as clinical management of transplant patients
  • Research and development aims at setting up state of the art modern methods in microbial diagnostics
  • Additional topics are represented by associate or collaborative research in the fields of nosocomial infections, hepatitis C and E virology, as well as human papillomavirus vaccines and immunotherapy of urogenital cancers


Members of the Institute of Microbiology teach to students of medical or biological orientations, at the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and at Professional schools.

  • The Institute of Microbiology teacheswithin the School of Biology and students are integrated in research groups to complete their master thesis. Positions for doctoral thesis are available within the research groups of the Institute.
  • The Institute of Microbiology teaches within the curriculum of the Medical School.
  • The Institute of Microbiology participates in courses and activities of the Thematic Doctoral Program Microbial Sciences of the Doctoral School of Life Sciences of the Faculty of Biology and Medicine (FBM) of UNIL.
  • In addition to teaching at the academic level, the Institute participates to teaching at Professional Schools, such as the Ecole Supérieure de la Santé of Lausanne.

Lay Communication

The Microbiology Institute has several projects in the field of lay communication :

  • Communication in various media
  • Development of an educational game on microbes
  • Development of a "general public" website in partnership between K. Perron and M. Caine (BiOutils), Geneva and C. Kebbi and G. Greub (IMU)
  • Organization of conferences for the general public
  • Interactions with the "lay communication" section of the Swiss Microbiology Society
  • Children's welcome during the day "Dare all trades" or other occasions.

3R domain

3R principle is aimed at Replace, Reduce, Refine the use of research animals by alternative methods. The Microbiology Institute is very active in this field on different projects and/or services :

  • Quarantine Animal Health
  • Galleria project (Amorim-Vaz et al. Mbio 2015 ; Frontiers microbiol 2015 ; Delarze, virulence 2015)
  • Dicytostelium and Acantamoeba (Tosetti et al Microb Pathog. 2014 ; Kebbi-Beghdadi & Greub. Environ Microbiol Rep. 2014 ; Jacquier et al J Vis Exp. 2013 ; Rusconi et al, in preparation)
  • Zebrafish : collaboration F D’Amati + P Cosson + L Vaughan (Fehr et al, Frontiers Microbiol 2016)
  • Naef 2010 Prize
  • Prize of the Lombard-Odier foundation 2016 (Carlo Fund)
  • Collaborations avec P Cosson (rapid detection of virulence)
  • Application for support to the deanship


The Institute of Microbiology encourages activities to increase the interactions between laboratories of different researchers and diagnostic laboratories. For this purpose, PhD students and post-doctoral students organize various activities such as afterworks or contests.

In 2018, the "Champirus contest" took place. The goal was to cook a cake representing a scientific subject ideally related to microbiology and then enjoy it together. Each cake was evaluated for its taste, appearance and creativity. You will find below the final result as well as the cake that participated in this contest:

Champirus cake contest and results




 Last updated on 29/01/2021 at 08:51