Dr. Nolwenn Jouvenet is a group leader within the Virology Department of the Pasteur Institute, Paris, France.The interaction between viruses and their hosts is the driving force behind her research since finishing her PhD. During her graduate work at the Institute for Animal Health, UK, she studied the intracellular transport of African swine fever virus, a large DNA arbovirus. Her work led to new insights into how the virus replicates in the cytoplasm, exploits and manipulates the cytoskeleton and its associated motors to move within, and escape from, infected cells.
Her post-doctoral work was carried out at the Rockefeller University, New York, USA. She focused on the mechanisms of assembly and budding of retroviruses, an important family of viruses that include HIV-1. I developed innovative fluorescent imaging approaches to study the dynamics of retrovirus assembly in live cells. She was able to characterize the genesis of individual viruses in real time, from initiation of assembly to release from the host cell. This has never been achieved before for any viruses. Beside this work on retrovirus assembly, she also studied antiviral innate immunity, a topic that she became fascinated by after the discovery of a couple of novel antiviral interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) in the laboratory. She has demonstrated that Tetherin, one of these ISGs, is capable of inhibiting the release of a broad spectrum of retroviruses and filoviruses. She was awarded the EMBO Young investigator prize in 2015.
Since her arrival at the Pasteur Institute, her team is exploring flavivirus-host interactions that govern immunity and infection outcome using biochemical, virological and microscopic assays combined with high-throughput screening methods. More specifically, on going projects focus on establishing mechanisms of flavivirus entry into cells, deciphering mechanisms underlying virus-induced innate immunity and inflammation, and revealing the direct interface between the cell and viral proteins whose functions are poorly defined. By providing a deeper understanding of flavivirus–host cell interactions, she hope to contribute to the development of effective vaccines and therapeutics to combat flavivirus-mediated diseases.