ESCMID Young Investigator Awards 2013

The 2013 awards went to Thomas Bjarnsholt and Vincent Cattoir for their outstanding scientific achievements.

Thomas Bjarnsholt, Copenhagen, Denmark

Thomas is an associate professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen and Head of Laboratory at the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Rigshospitalet, Denmark. He finished his dissertation at the Technical University of Denmark with the title ‘Experimental investigation of quorum sensing and biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in relation to lung infection in cystic fi brosis patients’ in 2005. After his PhD he completed his postdoc with funding from the Lundbeck Foundation and the Carlsberg Foundation to investigate the role of biofi lms in chronic infections. Subsequently, he began his current employment at the University of Copenhagen and Rigshospitalet.

Thomas Bjarnsholt received his award during the ESCMID Young Investigator Awards Session on 30 April 2013. During the session, he presented his paper: ‘When bacteria aggregate – implications for diagnosis and treatment of chronic

Research Interests
In recent years, his research has focused on bacterial biofilms in chronic infections and on both optimised diagnosis and treatment of such infections. The aim of both subjects has been to generate knowledge fundamental to improving the diagnosis and treatment of chronically infected patients. Regarding the role of biofi lms in chronic infection, Thomas has done pioneering work specifi cally identifying and visualising bacterial biofi lms in cystic fibrosis patients, chronic wounds, chronic middle ear infections and infections due to permanent tissue fi llers. He has also investigated this bacterial behaviour in animal and laboratory models to elucidate the role of biofi lm in chronic infections. In particular he has developed animal models of implant and tissue filler-related biofi lm infections. The implant model has provided the first visualisation of the dynamics of the interplay between bacterial biofi lm and the immune system, an interplay which has otherwise only been described in vitro. Based on this work, Thomas has developed the fi rst international online course on bacterial biofilms.

Vincent Cattoir, Paris, France

Vincent is currently associate professor at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie as well as head of the clinical microbiology department at the University Hospital of Caen, France. Succeeding his mentor Prof Roland Leclercq, he is also the director of the Enterococci lab, affi liated with the National Reference Center for Antimicrobial Resistance. After an Internship in Medical Biology in the Paris area (1998 – 2003) and obtaining an MSc in Prof Patrice Courvalin’s lab at the Pasteur Institute (2001 – 2002), he completed his Residency in Clinical Microbiology (2003 – 2008) at the Henri Mondor University Hospital, Créteil, France. From 2006 to 2008, he earned his PhD under the supervision of Prof Patrice Nordmann in the INSERM unit U914, Kremlin-Bicêtre, France. During 2010 – 2012, he was a post-doctoral fellow in the lab headed by Prof Stephen Lory in the Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology at Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.
Vincent Cattoir received his award during the ESCMID Young Investigator Awards Session on 30 April 2013. During the session, he presented his paper: ‘Enterococcus faecium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa: two models of opportunistic pathogens’.

Research Interests
During his training, Vincent Cattoir successively worked on Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacterial species, mainly on the characterisation of new mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance.  Notably, he worked on effl ux-mediated fl uoroquinolone resistance in Listeria monocytogenes and plasmid-mediated quinolone resistance in Enterobacteriacae during his MSc and his PhD, respectively. As leader of a research group in the EA4655 unit at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie, his current research still focuses on antimicrobial resistance in Gram-positives but has expanded to the study of virulence and resistance traits of the opportunistic species Enterococcus faecium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, especially by using new, high throughput sequencing methods (such as comparative genomics and whole transcriptome analysis by RNA-seq) of which he  gained knowledge during his post-doctoral fellowship.