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Nolwenn M. Dheilly

Assistant Professorndheilly

Ph.D. 2010, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Evolution of Host-Parasite Interactions

Dheilly Lab Website

Google Scholar Profile



Research Interests

My research integrates the disciplines of immunology, parasitology, ecology, evolution and genetics to study the underlying principles of host/parasite co-evolution.

I am interested in the evolution and diversification of immune systems in invertebrate model systems. Pathogens and especially specialized parasites impose considerable selective pressures on their hosts. Therefore it is not surprising that animals of different phyla have independently acquired capabilities for diversifying parasite recognition and immune responses. In fact, diversification of genes or gene families of immune factors is now considered a common feature of animal immunity across phylogeny. Highly variable molecules assuming potential immune function may be found in any phylum of invertebrates. Among those, I am interested in the immune role and diversification of 185/333 proteins in sea urchins and Fibrinogen-related proteins (FREPs) in molluscs.

Another important research activity focuses on the role of host and parasite symbionts in resistance or virulence. UnderstandingParasite strategies for evasion, manipulation or exploitation of hosts and Host strategies for resistance or tolerance to parasitism is of interest in many fields, from ecology to medical sciences. Generally, studies have focused on either the host response to parasitosis or the parasite virulence mechanisms. However, host and parasite co-evolve with a myriad of associated microorganisms that could benefit from an improved fitness of their host. The hologenome theory of evolution considers that the holobiont (defined as the host and all its associated microorganisms) is the unit under natural selection in evolution rather than the host itself. I am applying a rigorous integrated analysis of host-parasite interaction, including these associated microorganisms, to obtain a holistic understanding of disease evolution.

Finally, I am interested in the effects of anthropogenic stress conditions on the different partners of the interaction. For example, I have recently been involved in a project monitoring the impact of heat stress and acid stress on coral susceptibility to Vibriosis.

Choice of organisms is based on biological diversity, evolutionary heterogeneity, presence/knowledge of symbionts, economic importance and opportunities to work in the field and interact with the organisms in their natural ecosystems.

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of my research, students with a variety of backgrounds and skills are welcomed, and undergraduate and graduate student research can be incorporated into all aspects of my work. Depending on the student’s interests and time constraints, they can be involved in lab work, parasite characterization, animal husbandry, genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics .



Dheilly NM, Poulin R, Thomas F. 2015 Biological warfare: Microorganisms as drivers of host–parasite interactions. Infections Genetics and Evolution In press DOI: 10.1016/j.meegid.2015.05.027  ISI Impact: 3.335

Cardinaud M, Dheilly NM, Huchette S, Moraga D, Paillard C. 2015 The early stages of the immune response of the European abalone Haliotis tuberculata to a Vibrio harveyi infection. Journal of Developmental and Comparative Immunology 51(2):287-297  ISI Impact: 3.238

Dheilly NM, Maure F, Ravallec M, Galinier R, Doyon J, Duval D, Leger L, Volkoff A-N, Misse D, Nidelet S, Demolomb V, Brodeur J, Gourbal B, Thomas F, Mitta G. 2015 Who is the puppet master? Replication of a parasitic wasp-associated virus correlates with host behavior manipulation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 282(1803)  ISI Impact: 5.808

Dheilly NM, Duval D, Mouahid G, Emans R, Allienne J-F, Genthon C, Dubois E, Du Pasquier L, Adema C, Grunau C, Mitta G, and Gourbal B. 2015 Diverse Immunoglobulin-like domain containing lectins in the snail Biomphalaria glabrata. Journal of Developmental and Comparative Immunology 48(1):234-243 ISI Impact: 3.238


Dheilly NM, Jouaux A, Boudry P, Favrel P, Lelong C. 2014 Comparative transcriptomic profiling of gametogenesis of diploid and triploid Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas: towards an understanding of partial sterility associated with triploidy. Plos One 9(11): e112094 ISI Impact: 3.730

Vidal-Dupiol J, Dheilly NM, Rondon R, Grunau C, Cosseau C, Smith K, Freitag M, Adjeroud M, Mitta G. 2014 Thermal Stress Triggers Broad Pocillopora damicornis Transcriptomic Remodeling, while Vibrio coralliilyticus Infection Induces a More Targeted Immuno-Suppression Response. Plos One 9(9): e107672 ISI Impact: 3.730

Dheilly NM. 2014 Holobiont-holobiont interactions: redefining host-parasite interactions. Plos Path. 10(7): e1004093 ISI Impact: 8.1

Dheilly NM, Adema C, Raftos DA, Gourbal B, Grunau C, Du Pasquier L. 2014 No more non-model species : the promise of Next Generation Sequencing for comparative immunology. Journal of Developmental and Comparative Immunology. 45(1) : 56-66 ISI Impact: 3.238


Fneich S, Dheilly NM, Adema C, Rognon A, Reichelt M, Bulla J, Grunau C, Cosseau C. 2013. 5-methyl-cytosine and 5-hydroxy-methyl-cytosine in the genome of Biomphalaria glabrata, a snail intermediate host of Schistosoma  mansoni. Parasites and Vectors. 6:167 ISI Impact: 3.246

Vidal-Dupiol J, Zoccola D, Tambutté E, Grunau C, Cosseau C, Smith KM, Freitag M, Dheilly NM, Allemand D, TambuttéS. 2013. Genes related to ion-transport and energy production are upregulated in response to CO2-driven pH decrease in corals: new insights from transcriptome analysis. PLoS One. 8(3):e58652 ISI Impact: 3.730

Dheilly NM, Haynes PA, Smith LC, Raftos DA, Nair SV. 2013. Shotgun proteomic analysis of the coelomic fluid of the purple sea urchin,Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Journal of Developmental and Comparative Immunology. 40:35-50   ISI Impact: 3.238


Dheilly NM, Lelong C, Kellner K, Dubos M-P, Riviere G, Huvet A, Boudry P, Favrel P. 2012. Gametogenesis in an alternative hermaphrodite mollusk, the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas: a microarray-based analysis identifies stage and sex specific genes.Plos One 7(5): e36353 ISI Impact: 3.760

Dheilly NM, Haynes PA, Raftos DA, Nair SV. 2012 Time course proteomic profiling of cellular responses to immunological challenge in sea urchins (Heliocidaris erythrogramma). Journal of Developmental and Comparative Immunology 37(2): 243-256   ISI Impact: 3.238


Smith L, Ghosh J, Buckley KM, Clow LA,  Dheilly NM, Haug T, Henson JH, Li C, Lun CM, Majeske AJ, Matranga V, Nair SV, Rast JP, Raftos DA, Roth M, Sacchi S,  Schrankel CC, Stensvåg K.  2011.  Echinoderm Immunity.  Advances in Experimental Medicines and Biology. 708: 260-301. Impact: 1.825

Dheilly NM, Birch D, Nair SV, Raftos DA. 2011. Ultrastructural localization of a highly variable immune response protein (185/333) within coelomocytes of sea urchins. Journal of Immunology and Cell biology. 89: 861-869. ISI Impact: 3.925

Dheilly NM, Lelong C, Huvet A, Favrel P. 2011. Development and application of a 31,952-feature microarray: Identification of reference genes and tissue-enriched expression patterns. BMC Genomics. 12: 468. Impact: 4.397

Dheilly NM, Haynes P, Bove U, Nair SV, Raftos DA. 2011. Comparative proteomic analysis of a sea urchin (H. erythrogramma) antibacterial response revealed the Involvement of Apextrin and Calreticulin. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 106(2): 223-229. ISI Impact: 2.669


Dheilly NM, Nair SV, Smith LC and Raftos DA. 2009. Highly variable immune-response proteins (185/333) from the sea urchin,Strongylocentrotus purpuratus: Proteomics analysis identifies diversity within and between individuals. Journal of Immunology. 182(4): 2203-12. ISI Impact: 5.520


Bowden L, Dheilly NM, Raftos DA and Nair SV. 2007. New Immune Systems: Pathogen-specific host defence, life history strategies and hypervariable immune-response genes of invertebrates. Invertebrate Survival Journal. 4: 127-36.

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