Lab Information

Dr. Marcel Behr

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

Research Profile

 Fundamental: 100%
 Clinical: 0%
 Epidemiology: 0%
 Evaluation: 0%
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 E03.3358 (modules A, B, C, D) /  #76178
 E03.3366 (modules E, F, G)


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
Danchuk, Sarah Nicole PhD Student
Dube, Jean-Yves PhD Student
Sullivan, Jaryd PhD Student
Kruisselbrink, Jordan MSc Student
Duffy, Shannon PhD Student
Dery Capes, Lynn Administrative Assistant
McIntosh, Fiona Manager (Research)
Lupien, Andréanne Research Associate
Strand Clemmensen, Helena Visiting Scholar
Syed, Beenish Postdoc

Latest Publications

  1. Luo, T., Xu, P., Zhang, Y., Porter, J. L., Ghanem, M., Liu, Q., Jiang, Y., Li, J., Miao, Q., Hu, B., Howden, B. P., Fyfe, J. A. M., Globan, M., He, W., He, P., Wang, Y., Liu, H., Takiff, H. E., Zhao, Y., Chen, X., Pan, Q., Behr, M. A., Stinear, T. P. & Gao, Q. (2021). Population genomics provides insights into the evolution and adaptation to humans of the waterborne pathogen Mycobacterium kansasii. Nature communications, vol. 12, p. 2491.
  2. Clemmensen, H. S., Dube, J.-Y., McIntosh, F., Rosenkrands, I., Jungersen, G., Aagaard, C., Andersen, P., Behr, M. A. & Mortensen, R. (2021). In Vivo Antigen Expression Regulates CD4 T Cell Differentiation and Vaccine Efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis Infection. mBio, vol. 12.
  3. Cheng, B., Behr, M. A., Howden, B. P., Cohen, T. & Lee, R. S. (2021). Reporting practices for genomic epidemiology of tuberculosis: a systematic review of the literature using STROME-ID guidelines as a benchmark. The Lancet. Microbe, vol. 2, p. e115-e129.
  4. Behr, M. A., Kaufmann, E., Duffin, J., Edelstein, P. H. & Ramakrishnan, L. (2021). Latent Tuberculosis: Two Centuries of Confusion. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine.
  5. Clemmensen, H. S., Dube, J.-Y., McIntosh, F., Rosenkrands, I., Jungersen, G., Aagaard, C., Andersen, P., Behr, M. A. & Mortensen, R. (2021). In vivo antigen expression regulates CD4 T cell differentiation and vaccine efficacy against Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. bioRxiv : the preprint server for biology.
  6. Behr, M. A., Divangahi, M. & Schurr, E. (2021). Lessons From Bacille Calmette-Guérin for SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Candidates. The Journal of infectious diseases, vol. 223, p. 189-191.
  7. Rufai, S. B., McIntosh, F., Poojary, I., Chothe, S., Sebastian, A., Albert, I., Praul, C., Venkatesan, M., Mahata, G., Maity, H., Dandapat, P., Michael, J. S., Katani, R., Kapur, V. & Behr, M. A. (2021). Complete Genome Sequence of Mycobacterium orygis Strain 51145. Microbiology resource announcements, vol. 10.
  8. Benea, C., Rendon, L., Papenburg, J., Frenette, C., Imacoudene, A., McDonald, E. G., Nguyen, Q. D., Rajda, E., Tran, E., Vameghestahbanati, M., Benedetti, A., Behr, M. A. & Smith, B. M. (2020). Evaluation of a home-based 7-day infection control strategy for healthcare workers following high-risk exposure to severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2): A cohort study. Infection control and hospital epidemiology, p. 1-4.
  9. Behr, M. A., Divangahi, M. & Schurr, E. (2020). Lessons from BCG for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates. The Journal of infectious diseases.
  10. Khan, N., Downey, J., Sanz, J., Kaufmann, E., Blankenhaus, B., Pacis, A., Pernet, E., Ahmed, E., Cardoso, S., Nijnik, A., Mazer, B., Sassetti, C., Behr, M. A., Soares, M. P., Barreiro, L. B. & Divangahi, M. (2020). M. tuberculosis Reprograms Hematopoietic Stem Cells to Limit Myelopoiesis and Impair Trained Immunity. Cell, vol. 183, p. 752-770.e22.
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