Lab Information

Marcel Behr (MD/MSc)

Senior Scientist
Centre for Translational Biology
Department of Medicine (McGill)

Research Profile

 Fundamental: 100%
 Clinical: 0%
 Epidemiology: 0%
 Evaluation: 0%
 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tuberculosis • molecular epidemiology • bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine • innate immunity • Crohn's disease

Research Interests

  1. Genomic studies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex organisms. We study the genome of the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis, along with that of the live vaccine strain given to prevent tuberculosis. The goal of this research is to exploit the existence of naturally occurring mutants of these organisms in order to understand the pathogenesis of this disease.
  2. Molecular epidemiology of tuberculosis. Using genetic markers, we are able to track clones of Mycobacterium tuberculosis providing an opportunity for refined understanding of its spread among human populations and better application of control strategies.
  3. Genomic studies of Mycobacterium avium. Using the same platforms developed for research activity 1, we are trying to understand the genomic composition of environmental mycobacteria that can cause human disease, with the goal of developing better diagnostic tests and applying these to epidemiologic investigations.
  4. Host recognition of mycobacterial infection. Using a combination of bacterial genetics and synthetic chemistry, we are studying the role of host pattern recognition receptors, especially NOD2, during mycobacterial infection.
  5. Investigation of the potential role of mycobacteria in Crohn's disease. Using our understanding of Mycobacterium avium and our investigations of the processes used by the host for recognition of mycobacterial infection, we aim to determine whether a dysfunctional host-mycobacterial interaction plays a primary or secondary role in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease.

Team Members

Name Position

Latest Publications

  1. Fanti, R. C., Vasconcelos, S. N. S., Catta-Preta, C. M. C., Sullivan, J. R., Riboldi, G. P., Dos Reis, C. V., Ramos, P. Z., Edwards, A. M., Behr, M. A. & Couñago, R. M. (2022). A Target Engagement Assay to Assess Uptake, Potency, and Retention of Antibiotics in Living Bacteria. ACS infectious diseases, vol. 8, p. 1449-1467.
  2. Garcia-Basteiro, A. L., White, R. G., Tait, D., Schmidt, A. C., Rangaka, M. X., Quaife, M., Nemes, E., Mogg, R., Hill, P. C., Harris, R. C., Hanekom, W. A., Frick, M., Fiore-Gartland, A., Evans, T., Dagnew, A. F., Churchyard, G., Cobelens, F., Behr, M. A. & Hatherill, M. (2022). End-point definition and trial design to advance tuberculosis vaccine development. European respiratory review : an official journal of the European Respiratory Society, vol. 31.
  3. Dowdy, D. W. & Behr, M. A. (2022). Are we underestimating the annual risk of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in high-burden settings?. The Lancet. Infectious diseases.
  4. Dubé, J.-Y., McIntosh, F. & Behr, M. A. (2022). Mice Dually Disrupted for Nod2 and Mincle Manifest Early Bacteriological Control but Late Susceptibility During Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection. Frontiers in immunology, vol. 13, p. 862992.
  5. Kaufmann, E., Khan, N., Tran, K. A., Ulndreaj, A., Pernet, E., Fontes, G., Lupien, A., Desmeules, P., McIntosh, F., Abow, A., Moorlag, S. J. C. F. M., Debisarun, P., Mossman, K., Banerjee, A., Karo-Atar, D., Sadeghi, M., Mubareka, S., Vinh, D. C., King, I. L., Robbins, C. S., Behr, M. A., Netea, M. G., Joubert, P. & Divangahi, M. (2022). BCG vaccination provides protection against IAV but not SARS-CoV-2. Cell reports, vol. 38, p. 110502.
  6. Bettencourt, P. J. G., Joosten, S. A., Lindestam Arlehamn, C. S., Behr, M. A., Locht, C. & Neyrolles, O. (2021). 100 years of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine. Vaccine, vol. 39, p. 7221-7222.
  7. Sullivan, J. R., Lupien, A., Kalthoff, E., Hamela, C., Taylor, L., Munro, K. A., Schmeing, T. M., Kremer, L. & Behr, M. A. (2021). Efficacy of epetraborole against Mycobacterium abscessus is increased with norvaline. PLoS pathogens, vol. 17, p. e1009965.
  8. Lange, C., Aaby, P., Behr, M. A., Donald, P. R., Kaufmann, S. H. E., Netea, M. G. & Mandalakas, A. M. (2022). 100 years of Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin. The Lancet. Infectious diseases, vol. 22, p. e2-e12.
  9. Duffy, S. C., Venkatesan, M., Chothe, S., Poojary, I., Verghese, V. P., Kapur, V., Behr, M. A. & Michael, J. S. (2021). Development of a Multiplex Real-Time PCR Assay for Mycobacterium bovis BCG and Validation in a Clinical Laboratory. Microbiology spectrum, vol. 9, p. e0109821.
  10. Adjobimey, M., Behr, M. A. & Menzies, D. (2021). Individualized Treatment Duration in Tuberculosis Treatment: Precision versus Simplicity. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, vol. 204, p. 1013-1014.
More on PubMed 

See also

Card image

See profile
Card image

See profile
Card image

See profile
Card image

See profile
Card image

See profile
Card image

See profile