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Frontiers in Microbial Systems

Master in Life Science, ENS
Year : M2
Semester : S1
Course code : BIO-M2-E18-S1
ECTS : 3

Coordinators : Olivier Espéli
Alice Lebreton, Lionel Navarro, & Guy Tran Van Nhieu.

Aims – Introduction to microbial systems and their diversity

Introduction to microbial systems and their diversity. The development of diverse and recent approaches (genome wide studies, single cell imaging, biophysics, modelling) has revealed key aspects of microbial biology and ecology, which will be illustrated throughout this course.

Themes 2020
Bacterial cell cycles and development

This theme will introduce mechanisms controlling bacterial cell structure and cycle, bacterial adaptation, motion, stress responses and differentiation in response to environmental cues. The lectures will highlight single cell imaging, molecular biology and modelling aspects to the study of molecular machines and regulatory networks.

Evolution and ecology of microorganisms

This theme will explore how bacteria adapt and co-evolve with their ecosystems, and how they contribute to the shaping of their niche, either locally or at a global scale. The diversity and functional complexity of microbial communities known as microbiomes will be highlighted, as well as their structure, dynamics, and consequences on host physiology or environmental ecosystems.
Relationship between the animal or plant microbiota and health will be drawn. Lectures will also emphasize how the thorough and functional analysis of microbial –Omics (genomics, but also metagenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, etc.) contribute to a better understanding of bacterial diversity and interactions.

Infectious diseases

This theme will illustrate how pathogenic bacteria interact with their host during infection, thus leading to a perturbation of cell or tissue functions and causing disease. Processes involved in bacterial adherence, injection of effectors, invasion of host cells, intracellular trafficking and spread of bacteria will be covered. Mechanisms of pathogen adaptation to their hosts and avoidance of host defences will be discussed. The most recent approaches allowing high-resolution imaging and dynamic understanding of the progression from infectious agents to disease will be highlighted.


Basic knowledge in molecular and cellular biology (gene regulation, organization of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, signalling, etc.).


This one-week online course is taking place on the week of November 16 to 20 2020. Two conferences per day are scheduled. Lectures are given in English. Slides in .pdf format of each lecture are provided on Intranet.
Due to the specific sanitary context this year, we will not be able to host more than 23 students, and some of the lectures will be given in video format.


Exam on the last day on the course, based on research articles related with the course contents, to read beforehand.
Evaluation will rely not only on this final exam, but also on the student’s active participation during the week (questions during lectures).

Keywords : Bacteria, modelling, bacterial networks and communities, microbiota, adjustment to environmental cues, evolution, ecosystems, infection, host-pathogen interactions, virulence, metagenomics, immunity.
Contact :
PNG - 1.6 ko