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In Europe, as in developing countries, and despite considerable recent progress, infectious diseases remain a major challenge to public health. Global changes in the environment (climate, society, etc...) further prompt the emergence of new pathogens.

MIVEGEC (Infectious Diseases and Vectors : Ecology, Genetics, Evolution and Control) is a research group focusing on the ecology, genetics, evolution and control of infectious diseases and vectors. Its members come from the Universities of Montpellier 1 and 2, the IRD and the CNRS. With strengths in research, expert evaluation and teaching, the group's mission is to take an integrative approach to understanding the reproduction and transmission of infectious organisms, so as to improve their control through the development of new tools and strategies. Its objectives are to describe, understand and explain the proximal mechanisms for pathogen maintenance and transmission as well as their underlying genetic and non-genetic bases, to accurately predict the evolution of infectious systems.

MIVEGEC groups together more than 90 full-time scientists (55 IRD, 22 CNRS, 17 Universités de Montpellier and CHU) and 80 non-permanent staff including PhD and postdocs. It produces over 150 peer-reviewed research articles each year and has a consolidated running budget of c.a. 3M€/year. Because of the focus of its research geared towards infectious systems and their control, MIVEGEC has developed strong collaborative ties with researchers and research institutions throughout the world, with around 25% of its permanent staff being stationed in disease endemic countries : in 2013, 22 staff researchers and assistants are positioned in partner’s labs in Bolivia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Thailand, Vietnam and French oversea departments (ie, in La Réunion island and New Caledonia). The collaboration network also encompasses a number of research groups in France, in Europe and in the USA.

Research is developed at various temporal and spatial scales, including :

  • the ecosystem, including physical, biological and socio-economic parameters,
  • populations of hosts (vertebrate or invertebrate) and their pathogens (viral, bacterial, parasitic), with their phenotypic, genotypic, evolutionary characters and life-history traits,
  • individual pathogens (their genetics and cellular biology), and
  • genomic relationships involved in host-pathogen interactions.

This is done through the integrative and comparative study of several model systems including sandflies/Leishmania, Anopheles/Plasmodium, Trypanosoma/Triatoma, Arboviruses/Aedes-Culex, Borrelia-Babesia/Ixodidae, insect pathogens, Buruli, Toxoplasmosis, Mycobacterium and TB, cholera, meningitis, Ebola and Influenza viruses.

MIVEGEC hosts a number of reference collections including the most important collection in France of arthropods of medical importance. It further hosts several national and international reference expertise centers including a shared bioinformatics platform, the National Reference Centre for Leishmaniasis (CNR Leishmanioses), the Centre National d’Expertise sur les Vecteurs (CNEV) and a World Health Organization reference centre for insect vector control (LIN).

The group is directly involved and actively contributes to different national and regional French networks of excellence, including :

  • the Montpellier research center on infection, MIVEGEC represents c.a. 20% of the 500 scientists working in this center of excellence.
  • the research network RTRS (Réseau Thématique de Recherche et de Soins) of the Fondation Infectiopole Sud ;
  • the IMMI (Institute of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) and its role in the national alliance of the life and health sciences.
  • four LABEX : CeMEB, CEBA, Parafrap and EpigenMed.

Scientists in the Unit contribute expertise and guidance to different scientific and advisory boards, and journal editorial boards. MIVEGEC currently manages of portfolio with 16 patents.

The research unit also massively contributes to teaching and training in France and abroad, with more than 1.500 hours of teaching per year in different curricula (License, Master, Doctoral Schools) in Montpellier, in France and in developping countries. Scientists are also involved in curricula management and have produced a number of reference texbooks in ecology and evolution of infectious diseases and their vectors.

With its research programs ongoing on all continents, MIVEGEC is at the heart of a large collaborative network :