Aurélie Tasiemski is Associate Professor of Organism Biology and Leader of the SPICI team in the Evolution, Ecology & Paleontology unit (CNRS UMR8198) at the University of Lille in France. Her activities at the University include research, student supervision, and lectures in immunology and zoology to graduate and undergraduate students.

Aurélie has defended her PhD in health biology in 2001 and her habilitation in 2008 (Diploma required in France to supervise research projects and PhD students) – both specialized on immunity with a special focus on antibiotics (named AMPs) produced by animals. She has always been fascinated by understanding how animals and microbes interact and evolve together as friends or foes. More concretely, her research activities consist in studying how and what types of antibiotics are selected/used by animals either to (1) kill bacterial pathogens that can be encountered in a novel habitat and/or that have rapidly evolved to escape the immune response, or to (2) maintain beneficial associations with peculiar bacteria (e.g. detoxifying) which provide their host with the ability to face environmental challenges (e.g. toxic compounds). Together with colleagues and students, she identified seven new antibiotics and demonstrated their functions as pathogen-removal or mutualist-maintenance agents, and also evinced the unexpected ability of one of these antibiotics to repair lesioned nerve cords. Because AMPs constitute promising candidates for the development of new antibiotics, three of the AMPs found by Aurélie were patented by the CNRS or the University of Lille for their potential application in medicine.

During this cruise, Aurélie willl determine whether the immune system (and notably the ability to fight a bacterial infection) of Alaskan marine organisms is affected by the microplastic pollution as recently observed for coastal species in the VERMER project (FRB) developed by the members of the SPICI group (PI: A. Tasiemski). To know more about Aurélie’s work, visit her websites and or even better, talk to her on board!