Simon obtained a MSc in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Utrecht (Netherlands) in 2011. During this, he worked as an intern in the labs of Jos Van Strijp (Medical Microbiology, UMC Utrecht) and Guido Silvestri (Emory University, Atlanta, US). He then did his PhD at Institut Pasteur, Paris, France, in the team of Dr. Müller-Trutwin, part of the laboratory of Prof. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi. His PhD research concerned the molecular mechanisms underlying the resolution of immune activation after simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in its natural host: African green monkeys. Specifically, he investigated the role of DNA methylation in immunological and virological control by characterizing the African green monkey methylome during SIV infection. He compared these data to a model of pathogenic SIV infection and integrated them with genome-wide transcriptomic analyses to gain insight in virus-host interplay. In addition, he investigated differences in Type I Interferon responses and plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) function and phenotype between natural hosts of SIV and progressive SIV infections.
Simon is interested in why certain groups of individuals, such as the elderly, influenza-infected individuals, asthmatics, smokers and HIV-infected individuals display increased susceptibility to pneumococcal disease. These risk groups have an inflammatory milieu in the respiratory tract in common, which could underlie their susceptibility to pneumococcus. While an inflammatory response is required for pneumococcal control, previous research has identified associations between excessive inflammation and pneumococcal disease progression. His main research question is therefore whether an altered inflammatory environment predisposes to pneumococcal disease.
Simon has co-supervised a M.Sc student during his PhD in Paris for a two-month period.
Students (Names of students you supervise)
Vincent Guiraud - 2014
Current Projects and Grants
Effect of Live Attenuated and Inactivated Influenza vaccines on Experimental Human Pneumococcal Carriage – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to Dr. Daniela Ferreira