Research in Evolutionary Ecology of Insect-Microbe Interactions


In recent years, our team developed several projects focused on the evolutionary ecology of interactions between bacteria and host insects. We are interested in how beneficial microbes establish and maintain relationships with invertebrates. To address this issue, we mainly use aphids with a specific interest for free-living strains of the facultative symbiont Serratia symbiotica. We combine genomic and experimental approaches to investigate the forces that shape bacterial mutualism in insects. Our work tackles multiple aspects of symbiosis, including host immune response, dynamics of intra- and interspecific horizontal transfers, and the role of virulence factors during host colonization. We also developed projects that focus on the microbial diversity associated with aphids and psyllids with field works in temperate and semi-arid regions. To conduct these studies, our lab settled technical skills in PCR diagnostic, qPCR, cell culture, confocal microscopy (FISH), proteomics and high-throughput sequencing (Illumina), and works in close collaboration with other research groups.