Nalini Rama Rao

Nalini Rama Rao

Directrice de recherche, e-mail:

Dr. Nalini Rama Rao, curriculum vitae brevis

I am the head of the PIMs (Pathogen Interaction with Macrophages) team, constituted to date by 1 DR2, 1 CR1, 1 IR2, 1 TR, 2 Postdocs, 1 PhD Student and 2 master students. I am a cell biologist/microbiologist specialized in host-pathogen interactions. My double education as a Biotechnology Engineer (International biotechnology engineering) and as a researcher (PhD, Max Planck Institute, Germany) ensures the effective implementation of multidisciplinary projects. I gained knowledge on several bacterial systems during her Master/Engineer internship at Connaught Laboratory, Canada (vaccine design against Clamydia), my PhD at the MPI in Tübingen, Germany (patents on H. pylori virulence factors), my Post-doctorat at the Pasteur Institute (S. flexneri pathogenesis) and after my recruitment as a permanent scientist at INRA, Micalis (B. cereus interaction with host cells). My carrier allowed me to gain and appreciate international experiences. I undertook the supervision of 18 people in the last 10 years, including 5 phD thesis. My work led to 34 international publications, 3 patent applications, over 20 international congresses and various national and international collaborations. In 2014, I obtained from INRA a “grant of scientific excellence”.

I have been working on the interaction between B. cereus and host cells for the last 12 years and I am now a recognized expert on B. cereus virulence factors and host-pathogen interaction. I have recently published significant papers dealing with host-pathogen interaction, and specifically with the mechanism of bacterial defence against the host immune cells. I studied the role and the expression of several virulent determinants including hemolysins and proteases, in B. cereus motility, biofilm formation, adhesion to epithelial cells, cytotoxicity, macrophage escape and virulence using cellular and animal models. I developed models to search for markers that could differentiate pathogenic from non pathogenic B. cereus strains (IDEX 2016/2017 from FCS Paris Saclay). I am a WP leader of a European project targeting diagnosis of toxin producing bacteria (EJP-MedVet, 2017-2019)

I am also the leader of a more applied project towards antibiotic development (SATT-Paris Saclay project, 2016-2018). The goal of the project is to characterize new antimicrobials to fight against resistant bacteria, especially those leading to therapeutic impasses.

Finally, I took the opportunity of my moving in 2014 to the Micalis Institute in Jouy en Josas, to develop a new and ambitious project at the forefront of Human health. The goal of this innovative project is to decipher the role of the microbiota in the adaptation of an intestinal pathogen in its niche. This project is financially supported by the Inra Metaprogram MEM (MetaOmics of Microbial Ecosystems).


1996: Master in Cell and Molecular Biology (University of Strasbourg, France)

1996: Engineer Degree (ESBS, France, Germany, Switzerland)

2000: Ph.D. Max Planck Institute (University of Tübingen, Germany)

2010: HDR, Paris 7

2016: DR2, Inra Jouy en Josas

Current position: Since 2014, Team leader, MICALIS Unit (INRA), PIMS team


Previous employment:

1997-2000: PhD student, MPI Tübingen, Germany, T. Meyer/ S. Gray-Owen

2001-2003: Post-doctoral fellow, Institut Pasteur, Paris Unité U389, P. Sansonetti

2003-2014: CR1 INRA, Group leader, MICALIS Unit (INRA)

2014-present: DR2, team leader PIMs (Pathogen Interaction with Macrophages)


Team Management : Supervision of 5 phD students, 5 postdocs, 6 Masters, 6 under-graduates, 4 technicians, 1 Assistant Engineer, 1 research engineer and 1 senior scientist.

Teachning : Masters, Versailles-Saint Quentin university.

Communications :

-Over 20 oral and poster presentations at International Congresses.

-General public : Multi media comics,  Art and Science Project, Fondation Carasso 2016-2017.

 On going funds:

-EJP-Med Vet, Tox Detect (2017-2019, 2M, 200 k€ for PIMs)

-SATT Paris Saclay, NewMed, antimicrobial development (2016-2018, 650 k€).

-Idex Paris Saclay/Inra, IdexBc, diagnostics (2017-2018, 80k€)

-Metaprogramme MEM, MicrobNO (2017-2019, 50 k€)

-Metaprogramme MEM, MetafoldScan (2016-2018, 50 k€)

-Campus Prestige, Pierre and Marie Curie fellowship (2016-2018, post doc fellowship)

-IDI Paris Saclay (2016-2019, PhD fellowship)

-Hubert Curien Procope, Biologie Médecine Santé (2016-2017, 15 k€)

-Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso. Art Citoyen, projet Arts et Sciences (2016-2017, 50 k€).

-IDEX FCS-Paris-Saclay (2015-2016, 80 k€).

 Publications: 36 publications in peer reviewed journals, 3 patents.3 cover illustrations.


5 major papers in last 5 years:

1- Lotte et al (2017) Emerging Infect Dis 23:845-48

2-Glasset, et al (2016) Eurosurveillance 21:48

3-Guillemet, et al. (2016) Scientific Reports, 6:29349

4-Darrigo et al (2016) PLoS One 11: e0163321

5-Ramarao et al (2014) Am J Infect Control, 42: 688-96


Awards: EMBO fellowship 2001-2003 


Nalini Rama Rao

Team leader: INRA-Micalis, PIMs team –

The MICALIS Institute (Microbiology for Food Safety and Health) aims at improving food quality and health control by providing an accurate knowledge on food contaminants.

Date de modification : 14 septembre 2023 | Date de création : 22 février 2016 | Rédaction : NR