François Leulier, wins the "National Junior Award"

François Leulier, wins the "National Junior Award"

Tue, 30/01/2018

Honors and awards

Sanofi and Institut Pasteur award five researchers for their major contributions to the health service

François Leulier, Research director at the CNRS, team leader at the Institute of Functional Genomics in Lyon (France)

François Leulier, winner of the National Junior Award in the field of microbiology, has been awarded for his research that has highlighted the positive impact of certain bacteria on growth, in a context of chronic undernutrition.

"Bacterial partners" to fight against undernutrition
Having trained as a geneticist, François Leulier is passionate about interactions between animals and micro-organisms. During his thesis, submitted late 2003, he looked at the genetic bases of innate immune responses using Drosophila as a model animal. From 2004 to 2010, he continued working with Drosophila, studying the immune responses triggered by pathogenic bacteria in the intestine. In 2011, he highlighted the influence of Drosophila intestinal microbiota on their own physiology and how they optimize their growth in food-deficient conditions. In 2012, supported by the FINOVI Foundation and a Fellowship of the European Research Council, he joined the Institute of Functional Genomics (IGFL) in Lyon to develop an ambitious research program to identify the molecular bases of the beneficial effects of intestinal microbiota on animal growth.

In 2016, there was a new breakthrough: François Leulier discovered that these same phenomena also exist in a murine model. Evidence was found that on mammals, these mutually beneficial interactions between intestinal bacteria and their host take on a new dimension: they are probably transposable onto farm animals... or even humans.

Highlighted by the work of François Leulier and his team, these "bacterial partners" could help a subject react to nutritional stress and in particular to chronic undernutrition.

They could also, under certain conditions, promote growth in young individuals. This should be considered in the future to develop better treatments to promote juvenile growth, particularly in countries most affected by undernutrition.