Jean-Luc Imler

Jean-Luc Imler is professor of cell biology at the University of Strasbourg, recognized for his pioneering work on innate antiviral immunity in insects. A graduate from AgroParisTech, he obtained his PhD in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Strasbourg in 1988. He then carried out his post-doctoral training at the DNAX Research Institute in Palo Alto in California, renowned for its contributions on the control of immunity by cytokines. Upon his return to France in 1992, he first worked for the biotech Transgene in Strasbourg as a researcher, before joining in 1994 the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMC) of the CNRS, to work on innate immunity in the model organism drosophila.

 First following up on the research themes initiated by Jules Hoffmann and his colleagues, such as the regulation of the expression of Drosophila antimicrobial peptides and the identification and characterization of the family of Toll receptors in Drosophila, Jean-Luc Imler initiated from 2002 a new line of research on antiviral immunity in Drosophila, an area in which his research team made its major contributions. The genetic study of antiviral resistance in Drosophila has highlighted three categories of mechanisms at work: (i) RNA interference, involved in resistance to most viruses; (ii) host cell factors involved in homeostasis of the immune response, viral restriction or diverted from their cellular function in favor of viruses; (iii) inducible immunity involving the transcription of many genes. In the IBMC insectarium, inaugurated in October 2018, Jean-Luc Imler’s work is now also focusing on Aedes mosquitoes, vectors of viruses such as yellow fever, dengue fever, zika or chikungunya. The projects aim to understand the mechanisms of transmission to humans of these emerging or re-emerging viruses.

 Jean-Luc Imler is director of the laboratory Insect Models of Innate Immunity research unit (M3i, CNRS-UPR9022) and director of the CNRS Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology (IBMC). He is a member of the Institut Universitaire de France.