Sophie Ugolini
  • E-mail :[email]
  • Phone : +33 4 91 26 94 44
  • Location : Marseille, France
Last update 2018-06-05 14:20:47.63

Sophie Ugolini PhD Immunology, Research director (DR) INSERM

Course and current status

Current position

- Research Director (DR), Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM),

- Head of the lab. "Neural regulation of immunity. Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML),  France



1998:                 PhD in Immunology, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille, France 



1995-1998:        PhD work, laboratory of Quentin Sattentau, Centre d’immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML), France.

1998-2000:        First postdoctoral position, Laboratory of Eric Vivier, CIML, France.  

2000-2001:        Second postdoctoral position, laboratory of Nicolas Glaichenhaus, Institut de Pharmacologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire (IPMC), Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France.

2001-2006:        Junior scientist (CR2, INSERM) in the NK Cells and Innate Immunity Laboratory, CIML, France.

2006:                 Visiting scientist, laboratory of Bruce Beutler, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California, USA.

2006:                 Senior scientist (CR1, INSERM), CIML, France.

2010-2015:        Co-management, with Eric Vivier, of the NK Cells and Innate Immunity Laboratory, CIML.

2012:                 Research Director (DR2, INSERM), CIML, France.

2013:                 Visiting Scientist, laboratory of Jean-Laurent Casanova, The Rockefeller University, New York, USA.

2015:                 Visiting Scientist at the Walter and Elisa Hall Institute (WEHI) and the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melboune, VIC, Australia.

2015-present:   Principal investigator of the ERC consolidator program “Neural Regulation of Immunity”, CIML, Marseille, France 



1995-1998:        Cell biology tutor, Aix-Marseille University.

2002:                 Immunology teaching, Universités du Monde, Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. 

2005-2013:        Immunology teaching for Masters programs (M2), Aix-Marseille University

2007-2011:        Co-organizer of a Masters program (M1) at Marseille Medical School

2013:                 Co-organizer of a Masters program (M2), Aix-Marseille University


Committees and responsibilities

- Member of the scientific advisory board of INSERM (2012-2017)

- Member of the scientific council of the office parlementaire d'évaluation des choix scientifiques et technologiques (OPECST) (2016-present)

- Member of the scientific committee (# 1) of the Association pour la Recherche sur le Cancer (ARC), France (2009-2014)

- Expert for ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche)

- Expert for the FRS-FNRS (Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique), Belgium and for the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

- Organization of internal seminars at CIML (2002-2015)

- Jury member for the Masters 2 course in Development and Immunology, Aix-Marseille University (2009-2010)

- Referee for Nature, Science Translational Medicine, Blood, PNAS, J. Immunol., FASEB J., Eur.J. Immunol, Int. Immunol., Scientific Report…

- Associate Editor, Frontiers in NK Cell Biology

- Editor, Immunology Letters


Selected grants (as a principal investigator)

- European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant (2015-2020)

- Fondation ARC (Programme ARC: 2014-2017)

- Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR programme blanc: 2014-2019)

- Projet exploratoire région PACA (2014-2016)

- Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer, SensorImmune (2014-2016)

- Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR Jeune Chercheur: 2007-2011)

- Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR-ERC starting grant: 2008-2012)


Prizes and Awards

1998:               Thesis award from Aix-Marseille University

2011:               Dandrimont-Bénicourt Award from the Institut de France

2012:               Prix Recherche de l’INSERM 2012 (Research award from INSERM)

2012-present: Prime d’excellence scientifique (Scientific excellence award, INSERM)

2013:               Prix Duquesne (Duquesne Award) from la Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer

2015:  ERC Consolidator grant

2016:               Nomination AcademiaNet – Expert Database of Outstanding Female Academics 


Scientific summary

Sophie Ugolini is a Director of Research (DR-INSERM) at the Centre d'immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML). Her research interests include biology of inflammation, innate immunity, immune responses to pathogens and tumors. She has been studying the innate immune responses from single molecules to the systemic level, using natural killer (NK) cells as a model system. In particular, she has carried out genetic and functional studies based on N-ethyl N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenesis and on the use of infectious and tumoral models. The team is also involved in a clinical trial using NK cells as anti-cancer agents. Her recent major scientific contributions include the following: (i) NK cells and macrophages cooperate in innate responses to pathogens (PNAS, 2005), (ii) NK cells adapt their reactivity to their host through the engagement of inhibitory and activating receptors (Immunity, 2006; Science Signaling, 2011; Science, 2012; Nature Commun. 2014), (iii) blocking inhibitory receptors (KIR) in mouse preclinical models is a promising strategy (PNAS, 2009; Blood, 2014), (iv) Neutrophils are involved in NK cell maturation, function, and homeostasis (J. Exp. Med. 2012), (v) The tuning of NK cell reactivity is involved in the shaping of T-cell immune responses (Science, 2012), (vi) molecular mechanisms involved in NK cell survival and homeostasis (J. Exp. Med. 2017).

More recently, she has been awarded by an ERC consolidator grant to address challenging questions on the role of the nervous system on immunity. Her group has identified a neuroendocrine-immune pathway playing a crucial role for in host protection from immunopathology (J. Exp. Med. 2017).

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