Great time for sharing expertise and exchanging ideas at NaRePI 2019!

For the third year running, the Namur Research Pole in Infectiology (NaRePI) organised a scientific meeting dedicated to cutting-edge research within the field of infectious diseases. The meeting was held on December 18 at the UNamur and attracted over ~70 researchers working in a variety of disciplines, such as molecular bacteriology and virology, animal infectiology, cellular biology,  medicinal chemistry and spatial epidemiology. It was thus a fruitful day allowing for real sharing of expertise and exchanges of ideas. Besides the scientists from the UNamur, many researchers from other Belgian institutions (ULB, UCLouvain, UMons, ULiège, KU Leuven, VUB, Sciensano…) were also present in the audience.

This third edition has offered once again a rich and diverse program, including five keynote talks given by renowned experts (see program). Prof. Jan Michiels (KU Leuven) delivered a remarkable presentation on the mechanisms of persistence in E. Coli and the evolution of antibiotic resistance. Dr. Olivier Espeli (Collège de France, Paris) gave a fascinating talk on how a Crohn’s disease-associated E. coli strain is able to survive, multiply and tolerate antibiotics within macrophages. Dr. Michaël Herfs (ULiège) presented his original research on the association between HPV infection and bacterial vaginosis. Prof. Leen Delang (KU Leuven) highlighted the risk of spread of antiviral drug-resistant arboviruses by its mosquito vectors and underlined that development of antivirals with a high barrier to resistance should be a priority for antiarbovirus therapy. Finally, Prof. Marius Gilbert (ULB) illustrated the rationale of One Health approaches to prevent and control emerging zoonoses and discussed the social, ecological and epidemiological drivers that lead to the emergence of avian influenza epidemics.

In addition, many young researchers also actively contributed to the event, with five short talks, 12 poster flash talks and a dynamic poster session. Aurore Demars (PhD student at UNamur) was awarded the Best Short Talk Award for her communication entitled “Characterization of a new potential effector playing a role in the early control of Brucella infection in mice". The Best Poster prize was assigned to "Biosynthetic adaptations and morphological alterations of Brucella abortus inside host cells” presented Agnès Roba (PhD student at UNamur).

NARILIS would like to thank everyone who was involved in making this meeting a success: our brilliant speakers, poster presenters and all participants, as well as the FNRS and ISME for their financial support. Looking forward to further editions!

Picture of Keynote speakers (from left to right): Prof. Leen Delang (KU Leuven), Dr. Olivier Espéli (Collège de France), Dr. Michaël Herfs (ULiège) and Prof. Marius Gilbert (ULB)