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EIPIC : Eukaryotic Intracellular Parasites : Immunity and Chemoresistance

Head : N. Blanchard


Our research addresses how immunity develops and is modulated by two apicomplexan parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium. Moreover, one group works on the epidemiology and mechanisms of drug resistance of malaria parasites.

Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) and Plasmodium spp. cause toxoplasmosis and malaria respectively. Malaria affects 200 million people worldwide and kills almost half a million people every year. The biggest toll is on children of sub-Saharan Africa who suffer from deadly complications such as cerebral malaria. Toxoplasmosis poses serious risk in fetuses if contracted during pregnancy and T. gondii infection may lead to chorioretinitis or encephalitis in immunocompromised individuals. Toxoplasmosis is also a veterinarian issue with a major economical impact for the sheep industry.

Both these apicomplexan parasites are unicellular eukaryotic microorganisms residing in a vacuole inside infected cells. The relatively simple asexual cycle and genetic amenability of T. gondii has made it a valuable model parasite for the community interested in apicomplexan parasitic diseases.

Our projects are divided into three main topics:

Study antigen presentation to CD8 T cells during chronic toxoplasmosis, with a focus on cerebral tissue (N. Blanchard)


Decipher how malaria blood stage infection modulates immune cell functions, in particular dendritic cells and CD4 T cells (N. Blanchard)


Analyze the spreading pattern and the molecular mechanisms of malaria parasite chemoresistance (A. Berry)


Team EIPIC - May 2017

Last updated June 28, 2017

Centre de physiopathologie de Toulouse Purpan - CHU Purpan - BP 3028 31024 Toulouse Cedex 3
Inserm University of Toulouse Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier