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
Duffy, Shannon PhD Student
Dery Capes, Lynn Administrative Assistant
McIntosh, Fiona Manager (Research)
Lupien, Andréanne Research Associate
Syed, Beenish Postdoc
Belhocine, Sihem Research Assistant
Solomon, Ori PhD Student
Yao, Jacqueline Junior Assistant

Latest Publications

  1. Lange, C., Aaby, P., Behr, M. A., Donald, P. R., Kaufmann, S. H. E., Netea, M. G. & Mandalakas, A. M. (2021). 100 years of Mycobacterium bovis bacille Calmette-Guérin. The Lancet. Infectious diseases.
  2. 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, p. e0109821.
  3. Adjobimey, M., Behr, M. A. & Menzies, D. (2021). Individualized Treatment Duration in TB Treatment - Precision vs Simplicity. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine.
  4. Veyrier, F. J. & Behr, M. A. (2021). Emergence of persistent tubercle bacilli. Nature microbiology, vol. 6, p. 977-978.
  5. Dubé, J.-Y., Fava, V. M., Schurr, E. & Behr, M. A. (2021). Underwhelming or Misunderstood? Genetic Variability of Pattern Recognition Receptors in Immune Responses and Resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Frontiers in immunology, vol. 12, p. 714808.
  6. Camargo, C., Lupien, A., McIntosh, F., Menzies, D., Behr, M. A. & Sagan, S. M. (2021). Effectiveness of germicidal ultraviolet light to inactivate coronaviruses on personal protective equipment to reduce nosocomial transmission. Infection control and hospital epidemiology, p. 1-6.
  7. Duncan, D., Lupien, A., Behr, M. A. & Auclair, K. (2021). Effect of pH on the antimicrobial activity of the macrophage metabolite itaconate. Microbiology (Reading, England), vol. 167.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
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