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How We Raised a Bacterium to the Rank of a Model System: The Listeria Paradigm

The Ernst A. H. Friedheim Memorial Lecture

  • This event already took place in January 2024
  • Caspary Auditorium

Event Details

Friday Lecture Series
Pascale Cossart, Ph.D., professor, department of cell biology and infection, The Pasteur Institute
Speaker bio(s)

In nearly four decades, using several multidisciplinary approaches and cutting edge technologies Dr. Cossart and her team have unveiled a number of sophisticated mechanisms used by the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes to survive in the environment and/or infect mammals. Their results have led to a series of new concepts in infection biology, in fundamental microbiology- in particular RNA mediated regulation-, in cell biology and also in epigenetics, paving the way to the understanding of the basis of many other infections. A historical perspective with most striking findings will be presented.

After studying chemistry in Lille and Washington, D.C., Pascale Cossart arrived in 1971 for her Ph.D. at The Pasteur Institute where she pursued her whole career. She first studied DNA-proteins interactions and their specificity, then undertook in 1986 to study the molecular and cellular basis of host-pathogen interactions, taking as a model the intracellular bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Her research led to multiple discoveries, in particular the molecular and cellular mechanisms allowing bacterial entry into cells, crossing of the intestinal and feto-placental barriers by the bacterium, and also factors mediating bacterial actin-based motility as well as several novel mechanisms of gene regulation, in particular, the discovery of the first thermo-sensor regulating expression of virulence factors and of riboswitches involved in antibiotic resistance. She discovered the regulatory role of cellular mitochondria in infection and unveiled several host post-translational modifications controlling infection, in particular histone modifications, paving the way to new targets against bacterial infections.

Cossart’s contributions were recognized by international prizes e.g. the Robert Koch Prize, the Jeantet Prize or the Balzan Prize. She is a member of NAS and NAM, of the Royal Society, the Leopoldina and the French Academy of sciences for which she was Secrétaire perpétuel from 2016 to 2022. She is at present visitor at EMBL- Heidelberg.

FLS lectures will take place in Caspary Auditorium and virtually via Zoom. We recommend virtual participants log out of VPN prior to logging in to Zoom. Please do not share the link or post on social media. This talk will be recorded for the RU community

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