Pascale Cossart

The New Microbiology Publication date : June 8, 2016

Pascale Cossart, a microbiologist and a cellular biologist, heads a research unit at the Institut Pasteur. For nearly thirty years, her research interest has focused on bacterial infections. Thanks to her pioneering work and to her multidisciplinary approach, based primarily on the techniques of cellular biology, Pascale Cossart created a new discipline known as ‘cellular microbiology’, and revealed the numerous strategies utilised by bacteria in the course of infections. She was recently elected Permanent Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences; she will take office in January 2016.

Bacteria are present everywhere, on land, in the sea, on vegetation, but also in the various parts of the human body, and particularly in the intestinal tract and on the skin. Bacteria live in highly complex communities whose make-up varies depending on nutrition, age, etc.
If most bacteria are beneficial, some of them can cause obesity or diabetes. Others can even trigger the reappearance of serious diseases that had disappeared from industrialised nations and which have become resistant to antibiotics.
What are the consequences of this unprecedented resistance? Are there new ways of combating bacteria? What solutions are now proposed?