FLORENCE NIEDERGANG PhD, HDR, DR2 CNRS, group leader at Institut Cochin

Course and current status

Florence Niedergang studied Biochemistry, Immunology and Cell Biology at the ENS Cachan and Université Paris Diderot (Paris, France). She received a graduate teaching degree (« Agrégation ») in Biochemistry and Biological Engineering in 1993. She obtained her PhD from Université Paris Diderot in 1997 for studies on T lymphocytes antigen receptor activation and intracellular trafficking under the supervision of Andrés Alcover at Institut Pasteur. As an ARC and EMBO post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory of Jean-Pierre Kraehenbuhl at the University of Lausanne, she investigated the differential role of dendritic cells and macrophages in the uptake and survival of bacteria in the gut.

In 2001 she joined the laboratory of Philippe Chavrier at Institut Curie/ CNRS UMR144 as staff researcher with a CNRS position and developed cell biology studies on phagocytosis in macrophages. She obtained her « Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches » in 2005. She joined Institut Cochin (Inserm/ CNRS/ Université Paris Descartes) as a group leader in 2005, funded by Start Programs from the CNRS (ATIP) and from the Ville de Paris. In 2009, she obtained a Research Director (DR2) position at CNRS. Since 2012, she is also co-director of the “Infection, Immunity and Inflammation” department of Institut Cochin. The team « Biology of Phagocytes » obtained the « Equipe FRM » (Team FRM) label from Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale in 2013.

Scientific summary

Biology of phagocytic cells  

Professional phagocytes play a major role in innate and adaptive immune responses. Phagocytosis and degradation of invading microorganisms or debris is crucial for bacterial clearance and resolution of inflammation. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the biology of phagocytic cells.

Our first goal is to dissect the mechanisms of internalisation used by phagocytes, in particular the coordinated activities of signaling pathways, membrane trafficking and cytoskeleton dynamics. Second, we analyze how HIV infection or inflammatory conditions impair the phagocytic and activation functions of macrophages. Finally, we showed that part of the internalized material can be regurgitated by dendritic cells without degradation and captured by B lymphocytes, a process that we aim to characterize further to better understand and manipulate the humoral immune response.

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