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The Microbiome and Biological Individuality

3 July | 9 h 30 min - 18 h 00 min

The international and interdisciplinary conference ‘The Microbiome and Biological Individuality’ will be held on July 3rd, 2024 at the University of Bordeaux, France, in the historic city center of the vibrant city of Bordeaux (Pey Berland Campus).

It will gather a fantastic line-up of world-leading experts in microbiome research, for an in-depth discussion on the conceptual foundations of this field and its impact on how we conceive of biological individuality.

Attendance is free to all, but registration is mandatory.

This conference is organized by Thomas Pradeu, with the institutional support of the ImmunoConcEpT lab and the PhilInBioMed network, and the financial support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.



Yasmine Belkaid (President of Pasteur Institute, Paris, France; previously Chief of the Metaorganism Immunity Section at the NIH)

Plenary speaker

Benoît Chassaing (Head – Microbiome/Host Interactions, Institut Pasteur, INSERM, Université Paris Cité, Paris, France)
Gérard Eberl (Head – Microenvironment and Immunity, Institut Pasteur, INSERM, Paris, France)
Hannah Kaminski (MD PhD, Associate Professor of Immunology and Nephrology, ImmunoConcEpT, Bordeaux, France)
Rob Knight (Director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation and Professor of Pediatrics, Bioengineering, and Computer Science & Engineering at UC San Diego, USA)

Plenary speaker

Julien Royet (Professor, Head of Team ‘Host Pathogen interaction in the Drosophila model’, IBDM, CNRS  & Aix-Marseille University, France)
Orsolya Vincze (Postdoctoral researcher, ImmunoConcEpT, Bordeaux, France & LIENSs, La Rochelle, France)



Margaret McFall-Ngai, Caltech, CA, USA

Thomas Pradeu, ImmunoConcEpT, CNRS & Univ. Bordeaux, France



9:30-10:30 Rob Knight
10:30-11:15 Orsolya Vincze
11:15-11:45 Coffee break
11:45-12:30 Julien Royet
12:15-14:15 Lunch
Afternoon chair:


Margaret McFall-Ngai

Benoît Chassaing

15:00-16:00 Yasmine Belkaid
16:00-16:30 Coffee break
16:30-17:15 Hannah Kaminski
17:15-18:00 Gérard Eberl


Titles and Abstracts

Yasmine Belkaid, Control of immunity by the metaorganism


Benoît Chassaing, Diet-Microbiota Interaction – A personalized point of view


Gérard Eberl, Microbes, immune system and homeostasis

The microbiota and its host establish a symbiotic relationship that remains unclearly understood in the context of immunology. Can microbes colonize the host because they are ignored, tolerated, not pathogenic, inducing physiologic inflammation or supporting homeostasis? My lab is studying the microbiota-immune system relationship as one of constant interactions that allow for diverse responses by the host, but that have to be controlled by the immune system in order to maintain homeostasis of the host. I will present a formalization and potential consequences of this simple concept.


Hannah Kaminski, Is damage the feature that microbiota and host develop to promote a stable association leading to symbiosis?

The immune response to microbiota has initially been excluded from the general theory of immunity or classified as avoidance, ignorance, or tolerance. In this project, we aim to evaluate, from both conceptual and experimental perspectives, how the microbiota and the immune system interact and contribute to a stable symbiotic relationship. Our claim is that microbiota closely resemble other bacteria considered as pathogens, leading to tissue damage, but with a lower degree of intensity and that this type of response contributes to symbiosis. We explore the work of Polly Matzinger, Ruslan Medzhitov, Yasmine Belkaid, and other authors to understand how microbiota have been described as involved in tissue damage. We will also present an experimental mouse model of the establishment of the microbiota-immune system relationship during the weaning period and adulthood, representing the temporal window in which the relationship between the microbiota and the immune system becomes stable.


Rob Knight, Title TBA


Julien Royet, Larval microbiota primes the adult gustatory response

Animals live in an environment contaminated by microbes that can be deleterious or, on the contrary, beneficial to eukaryotic hosts. Using the Drosophila model, our laboratory is studying the impact of bacteria on host physiology and behavior. We will provide data demonstrating that the detection of bacterial peptidoglycan by the cells of the Drosophila peripheral and central nervous systems impacts their behavior and enables them to adapt to the presence of bacteria. Finally, we will show that the cohabitation of Drosophila with certain microbiota bacterial species during the larval stage is essential to educate the sensory system of the future adults to which they will give birth.


Orsolya Vincze, Evolutionary link between the gut microbiome and cancer risk across mammals
Cancer is a ubiquitous problem of mammals but its prevalence varies widely from species to species, as well as along the phylogeny. Unravelling the source of this cross-species variability promises novel perspectives at the forefront of cancer research, yet our knowledge of the predictors of interspecies cancer resistance remains limited. In recent decades, the gut microbial community has emerged as an important component influencing cancer risk and resistance in both humans and laboratory model organisms. Microbes can both decrease and increase the risk of cancer either directly by producing compounds that promote or inhibit tumour development or indirectly by modulating immune function. During my talk, I’ll showcase the cross-species variability in cancer risk, and present preliminary findings regarding the role of species-specific intestinal microbial profiles in shaping the cross-species prevalence of cancer in mammals. Our analyses explore both the role of overall microbial diversity, as well as of the relative abundance of specific bacterial lineages in shaping cancer risk across taxa. I will discuss the results in light of similar explorations in humans and laboratory model organisms while considering both the direct and indirect effects of microbes on oncogenesis and defence.



Pey Berland, Bordeaux


Organization: Thomas Pradeu

Funding: Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation


3 July
9 h 30 min - 18 h 00 min
Event Categories:


Thomas Pradeu
View Organizer Website


Pôle juridique Pey Berland, Université de Bordeaux
35 place Pey Berland
Bordeaux, France
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