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Dr. Romain Pigeault

I defended my Ph.d in december 2015. During these three years I worked on the evolutionary ecology of the host/mosquito/Plasmodium interaction. More precisely I tried to identify sources of heterogeneity of vectors’ infection.
One of the most important parameters for the transmission of Plasmodium is the rate and intensity of the mosquito infection. However, within a single population, a great heterogeneity of mosquito infection levels is often observed: some mosquitoes are not infected, others are only weakly infected, and yet others have extremely high infection intensities. Identifying the sources of variation responsible for this heterogeneity is essential in order to understand the transmission dynamics of Plasmodium. Certain genetic and environmental parameters have already been identified as having an impact on mosquito infection rates. Nevertheless, many factors remain to be explored. Using an experimental system composed of the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium relictum, its natural vector Culex pipiens and one of its vertebrate host Serinus canaria, I have investigated the effect of several seldom investigated parameters on the infection of mosquitoes (transgenerational immune priming, aging, circadian rhythm, effect of vertebrate host). Although my studies were mainly experimental, I also worked with collaborators in order to go further in my research by combining my empirical approach with their theoretical one.

Current research project

My current post-doctoral projects in Lausanne is divided in two parts. Firstly, I continue my research on the sources of heterogeneity of vector’s infection but using a natural system: Plasmodium / Mosquitoes / Great tit. For instance, I will study the effect of seasonality on host's infection rate and its impact on parasite transmission. Secondly, I also work on parasite communities. Indeed, in natural populations of birds many "species" of haemosporidian parasite coexist: some are multi-hosts other on the contrary are more specific. Currently, we don’t understand how so many strains of the same "kind" of parasite coexist and the costs associated to this diversity are misunderstood.

Post-doc in Evolutionary ecology

Christe group
Department of Ecology and Evolution, UNIL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Ph.D. in Evolutionary ecology

MIVEGEC, UMR CNRS 5290 – Université Montpellier II, France
Thesis title: Evolutionary ecology of host/mosquitoes/Plasmodium interactions: Sources of the heterogeneity of infection
Supervisor: A. Rivero (MIVEGEC, UMR CNRS 5290) & S. Gandon (CEFE, UMR 5175)

Master’s degree in Biology-Ecology-Evolution

Faculté des Sciences Fondamentales et Appliquées de Poitiers, France

  • Mater 2 project (6 months): “Modulation of host immunity and reproduction by horizontally acquired Wolbachia”. Laboratoire Ecologie, Biologie des Interactions (UMR CNRS 7267, Poitiers). Supervisors: C. Braquart-Varnier M. Sicard
  • Master 1 project (5 month): “Resitance of morphomogicla and behavioural sexual traits of the palmate newt to bacterial lipopolysaccharide treatment”. Station d’Ecologie Experimentale du CNRS (CNRS USR 2936, Moulis), Supervisor: J.H. Cornuau & Dirk Schmeller

Bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Biology of Organisms

Faculté des Sciences Fondamentales et Appliquées de Poitiers, France

  • Bachelor project (3 months): “Invertebrate immunity: characterisation of Armadilidium vulgare’s haemocyte”. Laboratoire écologie, biologie des interactions (UMR CNRS 7267, France). Supervisor: C. Braquart-Varnier

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Member of Christe group

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