top of page

Milieu Intérieur: defining the boundaries of a healthy immune response for a better understanding

of disease, 24 October 2017

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole is pleased to welcome Darragh Duffy on October 24th, 2017.

Darragh is one of the scientific manager of the LabEx Milieu Interieur project at Institut Pasteur, Paris. The goal of this project is to understand the genetic and environmental determinants of a healthy immune response, and apply these findings to disease settings to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.

Join us and learn more about the Milieu Interieur project by attending Darragh Duffy's seminar.

Darragh DUFFY, Ph.D The Milieu Intérieur Consortium Institut Pasteur, France

Date/Time: 11:30 am, Tuesday, 24th October 2017 Venue: Mrs Chen Yang Foo Oi Telemedicine Centre 2nd Floor, William Mong Block Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine ALL ARE WELCOME


Susceptibility to infections, disease severity, and response to vaccines are highly variable from one individual to another. Medical practices and public health policies typically take a ‘one size fits all’ model for disease management and vaccine development. This approach ignores individual heterogeneity in immune responses that likely impacts the response to therapy or the efficiency and development of side effects secondary to vaccine or treatment administration. Due to the complexity of immune responses at the individual and population level, it has been challenging thus far to define the borders of a healthy immune system as well as the parameters (genetic, epigenetic, and environmental) that drive its naturally-occurring variability. In particular, such assessments require large sample sizes, consensus for defining “healthy”, and standardized protocols for sample recruitment. In this context, the Milieu Intérieur Consortium initiated in September 2012 a cross-sectional healthy population-based study of 1,000 healthy volunteers, split equally by sex (1:1 sex ratio) and stratified across five-decades of life. The overall aim of the Milieu Intérieur study is to assess the factors underlying immunological variance within the general healthy population. The primary objective is to define genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the observed heterogeneity in immune responses. This is being realized through the characterization and integration of (i) lifestyle and medical history (ii) genome-wide SNP genotyping and whole-exome sequencing (iii) metagenomic diversity based on sequence analysis of bacterial, fungal and viral populations in fecal and nasal samples; (iv) induced transcriptional and protein signatures by whole microbes, microbial-associated molecular pattern (MAMP) agonists, medically relevant cytokines, or stimulators of the T cell response; and (v) variability in levels of circulating immune cell populations based on flow cytometry. In parallel a number of disease specific studies lead by consortium members have been initiated. Finally to understand our findings in a global context we have recently initiated a pilot study on healthy donors with Institut Pasteur Senegal, and are planning studies in Asian populations. These results will lay the foundations for a better understanding of immune response variability helping to support new precision vaccination strategies.


bottom of page