From the very beginning (1981), the research projects supervised by Prof. Kaeckenbeeck in which Prof. Mainil was involved as a collaborator had the bacteria Escherichia coli as topic. E. coli has remained the main topic of the research projects supervised by Prof. Mainil since 1993. These research projects have been financed by European, federal and/or regional sources and have dealt with strains belonging to various pathotypes (or virulotypes) isolated from different animal species: enterotoxigenic, verotoxigenic, enteropathogenic, enterohaemorrhagic, necrotoxigenic, uropathogenic and/or septicaemic pathogenic strains of E. coli of cattle, pigs, dogs, cats and poultry.

From 1989, other bacteria were or have been the subject of different research projects: Clostridium perfringens and its beta2 toxin in enterotoxaemia of young calves; Mycoplasma bovis and its adherence properties in respiratory disorders of cattle; Staphylococcus aureus and its virulence properties in mastitis of cows.

In short these research projects aim at understanding the molecular pathogenesis and epidemiology of pathogen bacteria in animals, to derive tools to more precisely identify them at the strain level and to compare animal and human strains at the molecular level.

Antibiotic resistance of bacteria and alternative to antibiotic (Bacteriophages) has more recently also become the subject of some research projects, still with the same purpose of better understanding of the mechanisms of resistance, at the molecular level and of fully comparing animal and human strains.

Federal research projects successively subsidised by the Institute to support Research in Industry and Agriculture (Institut pour l’encouragement de la Recherche dans l’Industrie et l’Agriculture, IRSIA), by the Ministry of Agriculture (MCMA DG VI) and by the Federal Public Services (SPF) “Public Health, Security of the Food Chain and Environment”


Research Projects #5313 and 5432 (coordinated by Prof. A. Kaeckenbeeck) and #5551 (coordinated by Prof. J. Mainil) : Typing of Clostridium perfringens strains isolated from cases of bovine enterotoxaemia in Belgium.


Research Projects #5631, #5740 and #5869 : Detection of bovine Attaching/Effacing Escherichia coli (AEEC) by immunological and genetic assays and vaccine development.


Research Projects #5792, #5940 et #6039 : Bovine respiratory Mycoplasmas - Epidemiology in Belgium, molecular diagnosis and adherence properties.


Research Project #5936 : Virulence factors in calves of necrotoxigenic Escherichia coli (NTEC) strains.


Research Projects #5989 et #6116 (co-financed by the Walloon Region ­ DG Agriculture) : Dynamics of emergence and transfer of resistance to antibiotics in the nasal commensal flora of piglets in relation with the identity and the mode of antibiotic administration (in collaboration with Prof. P. Gustin, Pharmacology).


Research Projects #6011 et #6115 : Bovine enteropathogenic and enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EPEC and EHEC) strains – Specific properties of adherence and of colonisation.


Research Projects #6046 et #6138 : Derivation and immortalisation of bovine enterocyte cell cultures (in collaboration with Prof. G. Dandrifosse, Faculty of Medicine).


Research Projects #6037 et #6135 : Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) - In vivo and in vitro study of the role of F17 and Afa8 adhesins (in collaboration with Dr. Maryvonne Moulin, Avian Pathology Research Centre, National Institute for the Research in Agriculture, Nouzilly, Tours, France).


Research Project #6172 : Identification of host-specific factors of bovine and human enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) belonging to the serogroup O26, by subtractive DNA hybridization.


Partner of the Federal Public Services convention VTEFFECT: "Efficiency and cost / effectiveness of the vaccination of cattle against VTEC O157 using commercial vaccines in Belgian conditions."

Research projects and networks subsidised by the European Commission


Coordinator of the Shared Cost Project FAIR3-CT96-1335 : Necrotoxigenic Escherichia coli (NTEC) in farm animals: epidemiology and pathogenesis, with the INRA-Associated Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Veterinary School, Toulouse, France (Dr. E. Oswald), the Study and Research Group of Infectious Diseases of Pigs, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montreal, St Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada (Prof. J.M. Fairbrother), the Laboratory of Mucosal Pathologies, Pasteur Institute, Paris, France (Dr. C. Le Bouguénec), the Veterinary Department of the Queen's University of Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK (Dr. H.J. Ball), and the Veterinary Medical Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary (Dr B. Nagy).


Member of the Concerted Action FAIR6-CT98-3935 : A European study on animal, food, and biomedical aspects of verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli including serotype O157:H7 an emerging pathogen. Coordinator: Dr Géraldine Duffy (Teagasc, National Food Centre, Dublin, Republic of Ireland). Member of the Steering Committee.


Member of the Concerted Action FAIR6-CT98-4361 : Establishment of an European network on wildlife as reservoirs of pathogens including zoonoses. Coordinator: Dr V. Briones (Universidad Complumentese de Madrid, Spain).


Member of the Shared Cost Project FAIR6-CT98-4093 : Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli: virulence properties and public health hazard. Coordinator: Dr Maryvonne Moulin (Avian Pathology Research Centre, National Institute for the Research in Agriculture, Nouzilly, Tours, France).


Member of the Shared Cost Research Project QLK2-2000-00600 : Attaching and effacing Escherichia coli (AEEC) infections : pathogenesis, host response and epidemiology. Coordinator: Dr Eric Oswald (INRA-Associated Laboratory of Molecular Microbiology, National Veterinary School, Toulouse, France). Responsible for the Workpackage : Colonisation, host response and microbial immunity in AEEC infections.


Coordinator of the Concerted Action QLK2-2001-01267 : Pathology and ecology of the genus Clostridium in humans, animals and foodstuffs - Identification, epidemiology and pathogenesis » (29 partners).


Member of the Network of Excellence EADGENE (FOOD-CT-2004-506416) : Genomics of Host-Pathogen interactions in farm animals. Coordinator: Dr M.H. Pinard (UMR Animal Genetics and Diversity, National Institute for the Research in Agriculture, Jouy-en-Josas, France). Co-leader of the working group Escherichia coli (workpackage WP07.1 : Functional genomics).


Member of the Concerted Action PEN (FOOD-CT2006-036256) : Pathogenic Escherichia coli network. Coordinator: Dr D. Bolton (Teagasc, National Food Centre, Dublin, Republic of Ireland).

Research projects subsidised by the Walloon Region


Research Project (coordinators Profs. A. Kaeckenbeeck, till 1993, and J. Mainil, from 1993) : Enterotoxaemia of Belgian Blue calves - Role of Clostridium perfringens.


Research Project # 114694 : Synthesis of TEM/STa chimeric proteins (in collaboration with Profs. J.M. Frère and M. Galleni of the Centre of Protein Engineering).


Member of the Walloon Network AUREA # 415897 : Vaccinal prevention of staphylococcal (Staphylococcus aureus) mastitis in cows. Coordinator : Prof. Moreno Galleni (Centre of Protein Engineering).


Identification of plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance mechanisms amongst Escherichia coli isolated from animals and humans. Financial support of the Research Council of the University of Liège and of the Belgian Antibiotic Policy Coordination Committee.


Promotor of the walloon Research project DGARNE #E'2009-137 : Intracellular survival of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from cows with mastitis : comparison of virulotypes and transposition to the mouse.


Coordinator of one ERA-Net «ON ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE (ANIHWA ERA‐Net)» research project on cattle mastitis-associated methicillin-resistant staphs, with partners from Flanders, Norway and France : «Bacteriophages as alternative to antimicrobial treatments of bovine mastitis caused by methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRS), with emphasis on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)» («MRSA_Bacteriophages»), with the «M-team and Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Unit, Vakgroep Verloskunde, Voortplanting en Bedrijfsdiergeneeskunde, Diergeneeskunde Faculteit, Universiteit Gent» (Belgium), the «Department of Food Safety and Infection Biology, Norwegian University of Life Science» (Norway) and the Viral genomic and Biosafety Unit (UGVB) of the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) (France).


1986, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008, 2009

Financial support of the National Funds for Scientific Research (FNRS - Crédits aux chercheurs).

1987, 1989, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008

Financial support of the Research Council of the University of Liège (Conseil de la Recherche de l'Université de Liège).

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