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  • Phone : 33 4 92 15 77 04
  • Location : Nice, France
Last update 2014-01-30 10:23:59.44

Janet L. Maryanski Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Course and current status

2012-present : Director for Immunology Development, Unité de Thérapie Cellulaire et Génique (UTCG) and URE 004 (ImCelVir), Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Nice, France

2007-2011 : Group leader, INSERM U576, Nice, France

1999-2006 : Group leader, INSERM U503, Lyon, France

1996-1998 : Senior research scientist, UMR 49, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon; Lyon, France

1996 : Appointed "Directeur de Recherche" DR2, INSERM

1995-1996 : Chaire Marcel Mérieux (visiting professor), Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France

1985-1995 : Assistant/Associate Member, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (LICR), Epalinges, Switzerland

1980-1985 : Research scientist, LICR, Brussels, Belgium

1976-1980 : Postdoctoral Fellow, ISREC & LICR, Epalinges, Switzerland

Scientific summary

  Contributions from my early research career helped enable a better understanding of specific antigen recognition by CD8 T lymphocytes in the days before the molecular structures of peptide-MHC complexes or T cell receptors were known. My research group helped to define rules governing specific peptide-MHC interactions required for T cell recognition. Later on, we sequenced alpha-betaTCRs expressed by antigen- specific T cell clones, and performed single-cell PCR analysis to analyze TCR repertoire selection during primary and memory CD8 T cell responses. We took advantage of a dominant TCR Vbeta10 expression to monitor an antigen-specific CD8 T cell response directly ex vivo by flow cytometry, and unexpectedly discovered that an extremely high proportion of circulating CD8 T cells were antigen-specific at the peak of a primary response. This unusual feature of CD8 T cell responses was subsequently confirmed by others using fluorescent pMHC multimers. My group was also the first to demonstrate that a natural structural splice-variant of the murine TCR beta chain can function as a receptor in both immature and mature T cells.

  My expertise in the areas of peptide-MHC interactions and TCR repertoire selection has led to research collaboration with the group of Prof. Jean-François NICOLAS (Inserm U1111) in Lyon. Currently, we have a joint grant from the Agence National de la Recherche (ANR Programme Blanc 2013) for clinical research on a project entitled “CYTOTOXIC LYMPHOCYTES IN CUTANEOUS DRUG ALLERGY”.

  In my current position as the Director for Immunology Development at the Center for Cellular and Gene Therapy (“Unité de Thérapie Cellulaire et Génique”, UTCG) in Nice, France, I’m responsible for immunological developments and immune monitoring for our program on antiviral lymphocyte therapy. This type of adoptive immunotherapy is intended for virus-associated cancers and for serious viral infections that lack more conventional treatments. To promote public awareness of this promising adjunct to antiviral treatments, we published a review entitled “Traitement par lymphothérapie adoptive des infections virales chez les patients transplantés: de réelles raisons d’espérer” (Adoptive lymphocyte therapy in transplantation: a promising option as an antiviral treatment) in the “Revue Francophone des Laboratoires” (2012; 447:83-92).

  As part of the UTCG’s translational research on viral pathologies, we have established a clinical research program in collaboration with our local colleagues in the Faculty of Odontology at the Université Nice Sophia Antipolis. This led to a recent publication in Plos One (2013; doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080336) entitled “EBV Infection Is Common in Gingival Epithelial Cells of the Periodontium and Worsens during Chronic Periodontitis”. A key finding in our paper is that gingival epithelial cells of healthy individuals often display signs of latent infection by EBV. These oral epithelial cells might thus serve as a previously unrecognized oral reservoir for EBV infection and viral shedding.

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