Prof. Alain Vanderplasschen
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Prof. Alain Vanderplasschen


PAI project

Alain Vanderplasschen scientific carrier is characterized by the development of both fundamental and applied researches. His group contributed to unravel key fundamental host-pathogen interactions occurring between pathogens (mainly but not exclusively herpesviruses) and their host. These interactions are related to pathogen entry into the host, pathogenesis, immune evasion mechanisms developed by viruses (soluble cytokine receptors, virokines, evasion of complement). The Immunology-Vaccinology laboratory has a strong expertise in Bacterial artifical cloning of herpesviruses and production of recombinant viruses using prokaryotic recombination technologies. Using this expertise, the lab has produced a long list of recombinant viruses for fundamental and applied researches. Recombinant herpesviruses encoding luciferase expression cassette and in vivo bioluminescent system (IVIS) were used to study viral tropism and the potential of virus as vaccine vectors. Recombinants deleted for specific genes were also produced as live attenuated candidate vaccines with predicted biological properties. Some of which are under registration as vaccines. Together with Delphi Genetics, the Immunology-Vaccinology laboratory developed original techniques to produce antibodies using DNA vaccination in rabbit and mice. This collaboration also led to the demonstration that efficacious DNA vaccine can be produced and used without antibiotic resistance gene. This fruitful collaboration is now being extended in new original related projects.

Prof. Jules Hoffmann

Left: Prof. A. Vanderplasschen, right: Prof. Jules Hoffmann (Nobel prize winner, Immunology, 2011).

Inspired by the original work of Prof. Jules Hoffman on drosophila (Winner if the Nobel price 2011), Alain Vanderplasschen decided few year ago to focus part of his research interest on innate immunity taking carp as a model. Carp as all teleost fish have a complete immune system encompassing both innate and adaptive immune responses. Interestingly, while innate immunity is expressed at all temperatures, the adaptive immune response of fish is active only above a threshold (14°C in the case of carp). The group is studying the immune response of carp against Cyprinid herpesvirus 3, the causative agent of an emerging and lethal disease. Our goal is also to unravel the mechanisms developed by CyHV-3 to evade the host innate immune response. Another topic of the lab is the development of news vaccines or immunization methods to be used at first in animals but eventually latter in humans.

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