Jacques Fellay
Host-Pathogen Genomics Group
EPFL, Lausanne
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What do we do?

At the Host-Pathogen Genomics Group we explore the genetic roots of inter-individual differences in response to infections, with a particular focus on the genomic interactions between pathogens and their human hosts. At the crossroads between basic science and the clinical world, we are committed to translational genomic research, aiming at identifying, validating and bringing to clinical use genetic markers of susceptibility to infectious diseases. Host genomics of HIV infection, joint analyses of interactions between human and viral genomes, and exome sequencing on patients with extreme infectious disease phenotypes are some of our important research directions.

Highlights 2016

During the course of 2016, we used a combination of exome/genome and RNA sequencing approaches to search for human genetic determinants of unusual responses to infectious agents. Last year, our team identified rare genetic variants conferring extreme susceptibility to several pediatric infections, including bronchiolitis/pneumonia caused by common respiratory viruses, and severe sepsis due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Joint analyses of host and pathogen genomes are now ongoing on the same samples.
With colleagues from the EPFL School of Computer Sciences, the group is also developing innovative solutions for genomic privacy – an essential trust-building component on the road towards genomic-based medicine.

Main publications 2016

  • Asgari S, McLaren PJ, Peake J, Wong M, Wong R, Francis JR, et al. Exome sequencing reveals primary immunodeficiencies in children with community-acquired pseudomonas aeruginosa sepsis. Frontiers in Immunology 2016; 7:357
  • Rusert P, Kouyos RD, Kadelka C, Ebner H, Schanz M, Huber M, et al. Determinants of HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibody induction. Nature Medicine 2016; 22(11):1260-1267
  • McLaren PJ, Raisaro JL, Aouri M, Rotger M, Ayday E, Bartha I, et al. Privacy-preserving genomic testing in the clinic - a model using HIV treatment. Genetics in Medicine 2016; 18(8):814-22

Our research topics: