The Genomic Research Laboratory is devoted to the investigation of mechanisms underlying Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation, intracellular survival and antibiotic resistance using genomic technologies such as microarrays, high-throughput sequencing, bioinformatics and genetic screens.The Genomic Research Laboratory is also actively involved in the development of methods in metagenomics and their application for medical research and diagnosis.

Our research focuses on Staphylococcus aureus, a micro-organism causing acute and chronic infections in humans. This bacterial pathogen is able to escape our immune defenses by using various mechanisms, such as:

  • Getting encased in a secreted polysaccharidic matrix called biofilm,
  • Getting internalized and thus protected into non-phagocytic human cells,
  • Or, by gaining resistance to antibiotics, such as glycopeptides or methicillin.

Our team tries to elucidate these mechanisms by using a genomic approach (microarrays, genotyping, etc.).

A state-of-the-art genomic platform has been developed. Since no commercial microarrays were available for the study of S. aureus, a collaboration has been made with Agilent Technologies (Palo Alto, CA) to fulfil our goals. This partnership resulted in:

  • The setting-up of a research team dedicated to the genomic of prokaryotes (computer scientists, biologists, physicians, technologists).
  • The design, manufacturing and validation of a genome-wide S.aureus oligoarray.
  • This achievement will provide important synergies between our groups involved in bioinformatics, genomics, genetics and microbial physiology (association with Kelley and Vaudaux laboratories).

The significance of our platform and research group is illustrated by numerous national and international collaborations with entities as diverse as the CHUV (University Hospitals of Vaud canton - Lausanne), the EPFL (Federal Institute of Technologies in Lausanne). Collaborations have been established with the following scientists: in Switzerland (Profs B. Berger-Baechi, T. Calandra, T. Egli, J. Frey, U. Jenal, T. Lasser, P. Linder, Ph. Moreillon, J C. Piffaretti) and in other countries (Prof. D. Mack, Swansea, Wales; Prof. I. Toth, Dundee, Scotland ; Prof. D. Raoult, Marseille, France ; Prof J. Etienne, Lyon, France ; Prof. Y. Le Loir, Rennes, France; Profs S. Engelmann et M. Hecker, Greifswald, Germany ; Prof. M.G. Pinho, Portugal; Prof. A Bayer, Los Angeles, USA; Prof. R Proctor, Madison, USA, Dr L. Louie Toronto, Canada; etc..).

The Genomic Research Laboratory routinely collaborates with various research and diagnostic companies including: Abbott, Agilent, Applied Biosystems, BioMérieux, Bruker, Cepheid, Roche, etc… as well as various start-up companies: Fasteris, BioCartis, Spinomix.

Our research is supported by competitive grants obtained from the Swiss National Science Foundation (projects on S. aureus biofilms; antibiotic resistance; virulence and genome evolution), the program COST (project COST B28) as well as different research programs from the European Community (MagRSA, MOSAR, SATURN).

Related links
  Centre of Excellence in Bacteriology of the University of Geneva

  iGE3, the Institute of Genetics and Genomics of Geneva
  Genomics Platform
  S. aureus
  Phylogenetic Microarray
  High Throughput Sequencing
  qMRSA: Detection of MRSA
  MagRSA: Automated Diagnosis of MRSA
  S. aureus biofilms
  S. aureus Intracellular Survival
  S. aureus Proteomics
  NRP-49 Projects: Antimicrobial Resistance
  GESNOMA: Noma disease
  MLVA: S. aureus Genotyping
  MIF Knock-Out Mouse Macrophages
  Patho-adaptation of S. aureus
  National Centre for Meningococci