Summary of the scientific project:

The homeostasis of the skin, a barrier interface with the external environment, is controlled by interactions between immune cells (resident or recruited from the circulation) and non-immune cells (keratinocytes, melanocytes and dermal cells including fibroblasts, endothelial cells and sensory nerve cells). Recent discoveries over the past two decades about the skin microbiome, which encompasses large communities of bacteria and viruses, have significantly provided a new conceptual framework for studying the mechanisms controlling epithelial barrier integrity and defenses against pathogens. Along these lines, how the responses of skin-resident immune cells and non-immune cells may be shaped by the skin microbiome remains an unresolved question. Also, the existence of some commensal viruses with pathogenic potential raises the question of immunological and environmental factors that may bias these viruses towards pathobionts. In this respect, the case of human papillomaviruses (HPV), which is the virus on which the projects of the team “Immunoregulation, Chemokines and Viral Persistence” focus, is particularly edifying; metagenomics has revealed that this large family of more than 400 viruse types that represent the main commensal viruses of the skin, even though some of them are responsible for ~5% of cancers and constitute important comorbidity factors of various inflammatory diseases. One of the aims of the recruited researcher will be to characterize the dialogue between the skin’s immune sentinels, the skin microenvironment and the virome and how the imbalance on these tripartite interactions can promote a commensal-to-pathogen transition of virome communities and a harmful inflammatory response.

The recruited researcher is expected to develop an original project built on his/her expertise in immunology and, ideally, on the skin environment. Alternatively, we will also consider candidates with expertise in microbiology, given that the team/unit scientists will provide complementary expertise in microbiology or immunology depending the expertise of the candidate. The recruited researcher will consider the implementation of models relevant to the study of the organization and physiopathology of the human skin environment, including the significant potential of skin organoids. These objectives will commit interdisciplinary projects with abroad biologists, chemists, or pharmacochemists, to contribute to the development of therapeutic strategies in the framework of the Henri Moissan scientific strategy.

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