Microbial and parasitic infections, as well as inflammatory diseases are today still the causes of high rates of morbidity and mortality world-wide. The most recent World Health Report estimates that among the 50 to 60 million annual human deaths roughly 1/3 succumb to infection. This represents only the tip of the iceberg, in that the morbidity and the long-term impact of infections on additional life-threatening diseases, including chronic inflammatory disorders, are likely to surpass by far this proportion. The understanding of infection and immunity, including non-infectious immune-dysregulation, obviously requires a multidisciplinary and integrated approach. Deciphering the natural history of disease and the underlying mechanisms of immune homeostasis and host defence may ultimately lead to novel approaches for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment and prevention by vaccines and/or immunomodulators.

The objectives of the Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille (CIIL) lie precisely within this context. The CIIL is part of the Pasteur Institute of Lille and is composed of 11 research teams and 1 service facility on Transcriptomics and Genomics, organized in three major research areas: (i) Biology of the Pathogen, (ii) Strategies of Infection, and (iii) Host Response and Inflammatory Processes. It gathers complementary expertise, covering a wide range of disciplines from epidemiology, over molecular and cellular virology, bacteriology and parasitology, to the immunological basis of infectious and non-infectious diseases and translation into clinical applications.

The targeted diseases include some of the major infections world-wide, such as hepatitis C, tuberculosis and malaria. However, other diseases of increasing public health concern are also addressed, including plague, whooping cough, schistosomiasis, toxoplasmosis, various other parasitic, fungal, respiratory and gastro-intestinal infections. Furthermore, deciphering the dialogue with the symbiotic microbiota might provide novel clues in our understanding of chronic inflammatory diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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