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You are here: Home / Teams / Cosset FL - EVIR / Presentation of the team

Presentation of the team

History, localization of the EVIR Team

The EVIR team originates from 1995 when FL Cosset, formerly visiting scientist at the Institute of Cancer Research (Chester Beatty laboratory, London), initiated a research group that aimed at combining, back and forth, fundamental research on retroviruses and translational research in vector development and therapeutic gene transfer. Since these very early days, the team has steadily grown up until forming in about 10 years a group of 15-18 persons, including, on average, 8 permanent staff, 2-4 PhD students, 6-8 engineers/technicians, and 3-4 post-doc scientists. The EVIR team was proactive in raising and helping young PIs who have established their own independent research groups outside the EVIR team, at CIRI: M Dreux (VIV team at CIRI) or in other institutes and countries: T Hatziioannou (The Rockefeller University, US), A Ruggieri (University Heidelberg, Germany), V Sandrin (Roche Pharmaceuticals, Switzerland), B Bartosch (CRCL, Lyon, France), VL Dao-Thi (University Heidelberg, Germany), F Douam (University School of Medicine, Boston, US), D Lavillette (Institut Pasteur Shanghai, China), E Verhoeyen (part-time at C3M, Nice, France).

All members of the team are currently hosted at ENS Lyon in a single floor that provides office space, laboratory space for molecular biology and tissue culture (BSL1 and BSL2 levels), and technical rooms. The members also have immediate access to the large BSL3 of ENS Lyon for experiments with live viruses, including real time confocal microscopy, and to several facilities such as the BSL4 on the CIRI site itself and such as level 3 animal facility (A3), imaging and cytometry facilities and genetic analysis facility that are run and developed by SFR Biosciences.

Research areas of the EVIR Team

Viruses use, misuse and abuse their hosts to replicate, escape immune responses and invade new cells or organisms. By comparing virus genus/species, we aim at improving our understanding of how some human viral pathogens can establish persistent versus acute infections, how this is determined by interactions with host pathways, and how they are further transmitted and transgress species-specific barriers.

We focus, on the one hand, on questions regarding the biology of envelope surface glycoproteins of selected viral pathogens, more particularly on the mechanisms that allow their assembly on viral particles and the processes by which they mediate entry into cells through interactions with cell surface receptors and entry routes. We have also initiated projects aiming at unraveling the mechanisms of cross-species transmission and the (re)emergence of zoonotic infectious diseases transmitted by bats and ticks. On the other hand, we aim at understanding some immune mechanisms that restrict infection or, alternatively, that are counteracted, subverted or perverted by pathogens. We expect that the understanding of such mechanisms will facilitate the development of antiviral strategies. Finally, we have invested solid efforts in innovative biotherapies against infectious diseases, by targeting different steps of virus replication. Such applications in gene therapy, vaccinology, or immunotherapy rely on our continuous development of viral engineering technologies and of viral vector platforms.

The Team is able to attract funding on a regular basis at an international level (ERC AdG, H2020) as well as from major national funding agencies, including ANRS and ANR. Through its wide expertise in biotherapy tools (vectors) and models (humanized mice), the EVIR Team is regularly involved in collaborations with Start-up, Biotech and Pharma companies.


Since April 2024, the EVIR team hosts the StruVir (Structural Virology) research group, headed by Dr. Christiane Riedel. It aims at dissecting processes during the viral replication cycle employing functional, dynamic and structural analysis. More about StruVir.