Director of Research - Inserm, Institut Pasteur of Lille - France
Alain Baulard is graduated from the University of Louvain, Belgium. He holds an HDR degree from the University of Sciences et Technologies of Lille. He did his doctoral work at the Pasteur Institute of Lille under the supervision of Dr Camille Locht where he created innovating molecular tools for the development of recombinant M. bovis BCG as a multi-vaccine delivery system. In 1996, he joined Pr Patrick Brennan’s team at the Colorado State University where he studied the biogenesis of the cell wall of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. He moved in 1998 to the University of Newcastle, UK with Pr Gurdyal Besra where he studied the mode of action of antibiotics targeting the mycobacterial cell wall. He was recruited in 1997 as “Chargé de Recherche” with the INSERM and as “Directeur de Recherche” in 2009. At Institut Pasteur de Lille, AB demonstrated that M. tuberculosis is able to control its own sensibility to pro-antibiotics through transcriptional mechanisms. With colleagues at U1177, AB developed synthetic compounds that deregulates this control, rendering M. tuberculosis hyper-sensitive to thioamide pro-drugs such as ethionamide, isoxyl and thiacetazone. Importantly, new generation of transcriptional inducers called SMARts have been shown to reprogram ethionamide bioactivation through new biochemical routes, thus reverting classic clinical resistance to ethionamide. Ethionamide-boosters and SMARts have now been licensed to GlaxoSmithKline and Bioversys and will soon enter clinical trials. In 2010, AB created together with Camille Locht and Nathalie Winter the “club francophone de recherche en mycobacteriologie” that is now part of the French Society for Microbiology. He is invited professor at the University of Louvain since 2008.