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Alliance Française contre les Maladies Parasitaires


  Didier Menard



microscope Malaria Genetics and Resistance Unit 
team Malaria Genetics and Resistance Unit 
location Paris
orcid 0000-0003-1357-4495 
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Scientific interests and projects

After almost twenty years (2000-2017) spent in the Institut Pasteur International Network (IPIN), in Africa (Central African Republic, Madagascar) and in Southeast Asia (Cambodia), I decided to move back to Paris. Since September 2017, I lead a new group named ‘Malaria Genetics and Resistance’ into the Biology of Interactions Host-Parasite unit headed by Artur Scherf at Institut Pasteur, Paris. In 2020, I will head an unit (U5).

Along my different positions in the IPIN, my research program was focused at studying and deciphering Plasmodium falciparum resistance to antimalarial drugs. My major achievements were to elucidate and define the molecular signatures associated to artemisinin resistance (mutations in the propeller domain of a Kelch gene located on chromosome 13, K13) and to piperaquine resistance (amplification of a cluster of genes encoding emoglobin digesting proteases, Plasmepsin 2-3). Following these major breakthroughs, I led in 2015-2016, a worldwide consortium (KARMA project, 41 partners located in 59 endemic countries) which aimed at providing the first global mapping of artemisinin resistance. I was also involved in the first report describing the emergence of indigenous artemisinin resistance in Africa. In parallel, I conducted comparative genomic studies of P. vivax field isolates. First, we observed the frequent duplication of the gene encoding Duffy Binding Protein (PvDBP) in Malagasy P. vivax strains and second, we identified a novel gene encoding a homolog of PvDBP referred to as P. vivax erythrocyte binding protein (PvEBP).

The scientific programme of the ‘Malaria Genetics and Resistance’ Unit will aim at developing new translational projects focused on the scientific questions emerging from the field and covering two main topics: Studying P. falciparum antimalarial drugs resistance & Deciphering P. vivax invasion pathways into human reticulocytes.

I have published 183 peer-review articles in international journals. In 2015, I received the Eloi Collery prize from the National Academy of Medicine (France) and in 2016 the Jean Pierre Lecocq prize from the Sciences Academy (France).