MiTick (Manager L. SIMO)

MiTick - Microorganisms and ticks

The MiTick team is composed of four research groups: microBiotick, NeuroTick, Ticks & Co and VAMP. Its work focuses on territorial tick species, in particular Ixodes ricinus, and the pathogens they transmit.

The MiTick team's scientific field covers multiple areas of research, including:

  • epidemiology,
  • detection of tick-borne pathogens,
  • vectorial competence,
  • (neuro)physiology,
  • signalling pathways,
  • the pathophysiology of allergy to red meat consumption following a tick bite (alpha-gal syndrome),
  • tick-host-pathogen-microbiota interactions,
  • morphology,
  • tick and tick microbiota vaccines.

The MiTick team uses molecular, immunological and biochemical techniques, as well as eukaryotic and bacterial cell cultures, and provides an excellent working environment for studying the various aspects of research into ticks and tick-borne pathogens.

Routine approaches include:

  • innovative detection tools such as aptamers,
  • real-time microfluidic PCR,
  • infection and co-infection models of ticks and their hosts,
  • geometric morphometry,
  • RNA interference (RNAi),
  • new cell substrates for the culture of tick-borne intracellular bacteria,
  • tick gorging systems,
  • heterologous expression systems,
  • pharmacology,
  • bioinformatics,
  • in situ hybridisation,
  • histology
  • imaging

The team has now established models for studying Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia and tick-borne encephalitis virus.

Researchers at the EnvA work closely with the EnvA's Wildlife Hospital and a number of projects focusing on ticks and tick-borne pathogens are underway. In addition, a "Tickarium", for the mass rearing of I. ricinus colonies, is well established at the ANSES animal house, in association with the MiTick team.

Each year, the MiTick team publishes several dozen articles in specialised international journals with a moderate to high impact factor. MiTick members contribute to the writing of chapters in national and international books that are recognised in the field. In addition, the MiTick team has a high success rate in obtaining major French national grants (ANR, LabEx-IBEID, DIM-1Health) as well as international and national collaborations.

Research groups : 

  • microBiotick (Microbiota and ticks) : Tick microbiota
  • NeuroTick (Neurophysiology and Ticks) : Tick neurophysiology
  • Ticks & Co (Ticks & Co-infections): Molecular epidemiology, co-infections, vector competence, geometric morphometry.
  • VAMP (Vectors and Pathogenic Microbial Agents) : Epidemiological cycles, crossing the species barrier of tick-borne bacteria, aptamers.

Description of the team :

The MiTick team includes 15 permanent members from EnvA, INRAE and ANSES:

  • 1 Professor EnvA
  • 3 Assistant Professors EnvA
  • 1 Research Director (DR2) and 1 Research Associate (CRCN) INRAE
  • 1 Research Director (DR2) ANSES
  • 1 Research Engineer (IR1) ANSES
  • 7 Technicians/Engineers (EnvA, ANSES, INRAE)

The team also welcomes 7 to 10 non permanent staff per year, such as post-doc fellows, PhD and Master students, as well as periodically, several guest researchers from different institutions around the world.

The team currently represents the largest and most diverse tick research group in France.

Modification date : 02 May 2024 | Publication date : 19 January 2017 | Redactor : Sophie Bertrand, Clotilde Rouxel