Host defenses, epigenetic, and trained immunity

The innate immune response to an infection is initiated by the sensing of microbial structures through families of receptors collectively called pattern recognition receptors, highlighted by the Toll-like receptors (TLRs). The discovery of the fundamental role of TLR4 in the detection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin) from Gram-negative bacteria, acknowledged by the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was one of the main factors that gave the previously poorly considered innate immune system its credentials.

Exploring the interplay between epigenetic and host defenses, we get interest in the phenomenon of trained immunity which reflects the memory-like property of the innate immune system. Trained immunity is associated with metabolic, epigenetic and functional reprogramming of stromal cells, hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and myeloid cells. Our group has reported the most comprehensive study showing that trained immunity protects against infections. In keeping with Lamarckian mechanisms influencing traits across generations, we have described intergenerational and transgenerational transmission of trained immunity protecting from infection. Using multiomic approaches including transcriptomic, epigenomic, metabolomic, lipidomic and metagenomic, we expand our understanding of the mechanisms governing the establishment, strength, duration and influence by intrinsic and extrinsic conditions of training efficacy. We are confident that therapies directed at trained immunity will offer new treatment options to normalize dysregulated host responses in sterile and infectious pathologies and improve antimicrobial and anticancer defenses.

Selected publications


Principal collaborators

  • Prof. Johan Auwerx, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Prof. Arnaud Didierlaurent, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Prof. Evangelos Giamarellos-Bourboulis, Attikon University Hospital, Athens, Greece
  • PD Dr Sylvain Meylan, CHUV, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Prof. Mihai Netea, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Prof. Dr Andreas Schlitzer, University of Bonn, Bonne, Germany


  • Amal Abbouda, research associate (PhD)
  • Nikolaos Antonakos, research associate (MD, PhD)
  • Eleonora Ciarlo, research associate (PhD)
  • Marta Reverté Royo, research associate (PhD)
  • Charly Gilbert, PhD student
  • Tytti Heinonen, PhD student
  • Jacobus Herderschee, PhD student
  • Jérôme Lugrin, PhD student
  • Charlotte Théroude, PhD student
  • Antoine Chatillon, master student
  • Iva Cantando, master student
  • Isis Dos Santos, master student
  • Geneviève Goy, master student
  • Gaël Grandmaison, master student
  • Tytti Heinonen, master student
  • Laetitia Holzer, master student
  • Nicolas Maillard, master student
  • Marc Pfefferlé, master student
  • Florian Pralong, master student
  • Jean Regina, master student
  • Ersilia Laura Rigoni, master student
  • Raphaël Rovelli, master student
  • Alba Santos, master student
  • Fabien Schaller, master student
  • Berta Shehu, master student
  • Léa Schlatter, bachelor student
  • Antonios Kritikos, medical student, internship
  • Mattéo Mombelli, medical student, internship
  • Constance Legay, medical student, internship
  • Florian Tagini, medical student, internship
  • Beatrice Tyrrell, summer undergraduate research (SUR) student
  • Sarah Lench, SUR student
  • Xiaoyue Zhang, SUR student
  • Laura Limonta, SUR student

Open positions

  • No current position available
 Last updated on 29/04/2024 at 09:14