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French Parasitology Alliance For Health Care



The latest work by Rania Najm, Hiba El Hajj, Maryse Lebrun & colleagues is out now in PNAS. The authors provide important insights into the molecular players of bradyzoite invasion and develop a vaccine strategy targeting both bradyzoite and tachyzoite invasion of Toxoplasma gondii.

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Work published in PNAS : Najm, R., Ruivo, M.T.G., Penarete-Vargas, D.M., Hamie, M., Mouveaux, T., Gissot, M., Boulanger, M.J., El Hajj, H., Lebrun, M., (2023). Invasion of Toxoplasma gondii bradyzoites: Molecular dissection of the moving junction proteins and effective vaccination targets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 120, e2219533120. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2219533120.


May your year 2023 be filled with happiness, health, science and success.

First announcement of the network: the ParaFrap webinars will come in 2023, as in previous years, every second Thursday of the month at 3pm. If you are not yet on the webinar mailing list to receive all the information, sign up now.

Voeux 2023



Gerald Spaeth, head of the unit “Molecular Parasitology and Signaling” was awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Synergy grant for the project ‘DECOLeishRN – Decoding epistatic genome/RNome interactions in eukaryotic fitness gain using Leishmania parasites as a unique model system’. This project is funded with over 9 million euro and will be conducted in collaboration with two Israeli teams led by Shulamit Michaeli (Bar-Ilan University) and Yitzhak Pilpel (Weizmann Institute of Sciences).

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Exploiting the unique biology of the protozoan parasite Leishmania as a model system, the project will generate unprecedented insight into the role of genome instability in eukaryotic adaptation by combining experimental evolution, analyses of the non-coding RNA, network modelling and cutting-edge, single cell sequencing. The project aims to uncover the molecular filter that can mitigate toxic effects of genome instability while promoting beneficial ones, thus resolving a long-standing question in infection and cancer biology.

The six-year project (2023-2029) is poised to reveal complex and dynamic interactions between genomic, epitranscriptomic and phenotypic adaptation of these important parasites, and the role of stress-adapted ribosomes and non-coding RNAs - especially anti-sense regulators - that compensate for detrimental gene dosage changes. The scientists will further examine whether the parasite has the capacity to predict and prepare in advance to changes in environmental conditions and the switch between its hosts. The study of pathogen evolution within a mammalian host will provide an innovative framework for the discovery of complex biomarker candidates linked to Leishmania virulence and drug resistance. Exploiting genome instability for adaptation is common to other diseases-causing microbes and cancer. This ERC Synergy grant will thus deliver a blueprint to study how chaotic genome instability is harnessed for adaptation and to escape unfavorable environmental conditions.




The team of Dr Chetan Chitnis from Institut Pasteur, LabEx ParaFrap partner, studied the blood stage of the parasite Plasmodium falciparum, which causes the severest and most deadly form of malaria, and found a mechanism which could lead to new and efficient drugs against Malaria. The results of this study were highlighted in a communication from the Institut Pasteur

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Work published in Cell Reports : Matthias Paulus Wagner, Pauline Formaglio, Olivier Gorgette, Jerzy Michal Dziekan, Christèle Huon, Isabell Berneburg, Stefan Rahlfs, Jean-Christophe Barale, Sheldon I. Feinstein, Aron B. Fisher, Didier Ménard, Zbynek Bozdech, Rogerio Amino, Lhousseine Touqui, Chetan E. Chitnis (2022) Human peroxiredoxin 6 is essential for malaria parasites and provides a host-based drug target. Cell Reports, Volume 39, Issue 11. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110923.


Dear colleagues,

The EMBO Workshop "New frontiers in host-parasite interactions, from cell to organism", supported by ParaFrap,  is now open for registration. The deadlines for online abstract submission and registration are July 13th 2022. Please register here: 

Information & programme

This workshop will be held from 2-5 October 2022, at the "Île des Embiez", a French island in the Mediterranean Sea (

Parasitic infections remain a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide; they kill millions annually and inflict debilitating injuries on additional millions. The vast majority of parasitic infections in humans and domestic animals can be attributed to protozoan pathogens, including those causing malaria, African sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis, or toxoplasmosis. Parasitism is found throughout the tree of life and parasitic organisms have become model systems for the study of biochemistry and molecular biology. They also represent valuable systems for integrated analyses of host-pathogen interplay.

The workshop will showcase the latest breakthroughs in host-parasite interactions at the cell, tissue and organism levels, including sessions on host manipulation and avoidance strategies, host immune responses  and pathogenesis, parasite cell biology, parasite molecular biology and signaling, parasite reservoirs and niches, vaccination and control strategies. The conference will cover multiple protozoan parasites  (Plasmodium, Toxoplasma, Cryptosporidium, Trypanosoma, Leishmania) and provide an outstanding opportunity to share cutting-edge science. We aim to promote interactions and discussions, especially with junior scientists. The meeting will include poster sessions and turbo talks, providing younger researchers the opportunity to present their work. It will represent a stimulating environment to exchange ideas and envisage novel approaches to deal with pathogenic parasites.

We are looking forward to meeting you at this workshop and hearing about your exciting science.

Olivier SILVIE and Nicolas BLANCHARD
Scientific organizers

ParaFrap manager

Artur SCHERF, Mohamed-Ali HAKIMI, Frederic BRINGAUD, Maria MOTA, Dominique SOLDATI-FAVRE, Elena LEVASHINA

Yasmine Belkaid, NIH, Bethesda, USA
John Boothroyd, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, USA
Michael Boshart, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany
Hernando Del Portillo, Institut de Salut Global, Barcelona, Spain
Abdoulaye Djimde, Malaria Research and Training Center, Bankoumana, Mali
Luisa Figueiredo, Institute for Molecular Medicine, Lisbon, Portugal
Eva Frickel, University of Birmingham, UK
Freddy Frischknecht, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
Mohamed-Ali Hakimi, Institute for Advanced Biosciences, Grenoble, France
Benoit Gamain, French National Institute of Blood Transfusion, Paris, France
Paul Kaye, University of York, UK
Taco Kooij, EMBO Young Investigator, Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands
Maryse Lebrun, University of Montpellier, France
Elena Levashina, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany
Keith Matthews, University of Edinburgh, UK
Annette McLeod, University of Glasgow, UK
Maria Mota, Institute for Molecular Medicine, Lisbon, Portugal
Faith Osier, Imperial College London, UK
Silvia Portugal, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany
Isabel Roditi, University of Bern, Switzerland
David Sacks, NIH, Bethesda, USA
Dominique Soldati-Favre, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Boris Striepen, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, USA
Rick L. Tarleton, University of Georgia, Athens, USA
Hedda Wardemann, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany
Maria Yazdanbakhsh, Leiden University Medical Center, Netherlands