Arnaud Marchant 

Coordinator (BE)

Arnaud Marchant is MD/PhD from the Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. His research activities include the study of immune responses to pathogens and vaccines in humans and the ontogeny of the human immune system. He developed a research program in infant immunology during a post-doctoral stay at the Medical Research Council Laboratories, The Gambia, that he pursued at the Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, Oxford. He is currently Research Director at the Fund for Scientific Research, Belgium and he is the director of the Institute for Medical Immunology of the Université libre de Bruxelles. Arnaud teaches medical immunology at the Medical Faculty of the Université libre de Bruxelles.


Research Group Activity


The research activities of the group are primarily focused on immunity to pathogens and vaccines in pregnancy and in early life. Our aim is to understand how maternal immunity controls pathogens during pregnancy and influences the immune system of the newborn infant. Studies of CMV infection during pregnancy suggested several mechanisms by which the virus could escape T and B cell responses and thereby be transmitted to the fetus. Studies of congenital CMV infection indicated that the fetus is able to differentiate effector T cell responses and suggested that functional exhaustion may limit viral control and prevent immunopathology. Studies of maternal HIV infection during pregnancy indicated an increased susceptibility of HIV-exposed but uninfected infants to severe infections. Ongoing work is aiming at identifying maternal and newborn immune markers predicting susceptibility to infectious pathogens.


CYMAF Project


Arnaud Marchant is coordinating the CYMAF consortium and is contributing to the analysis of the antibody response to primary CMV infection during pregnancy and to the identification of correlates of CMV transmission. In collaboration with Galit Alter, Ragon Institute at MGH and Harvard, and Cédric Delporte, Faculty of Pharmacy, Université libre de Bruxelles, the Marchant lab is setting up a systems serology platform to analyze structural and functional characteristics of antibodies induced by CMV infection in pregnant women. Glycosylation profiles are analyzed in parallel with IgG Fc dependent effector functions to: 1) determine the dynamics of the antibody response to primary CMV infection during pregnancy; 2) compare the quality of the antibody response to CMV envelope glycoproteins and tegument proteins; 3) compare the quality of the antibody response to primary infection in pregnant and non-pregnant women; 4) compare the quality of the antibody response to primary and chronic infection. Key features of the antibody response to envelope glycoproteins following primary infection during pregnancy will be identified. These data will form the basis for case control studies of correlates of CMV transmission. Structural and functional antibody features correlating with prevention of transmission will be identified to inform the development of CMV vaccines and antibody-based therapies.



Selected Publications


Marchant A, V Appay, M van der Sande, N Dulphy, C Liesnard, M Kidd, S Kaye, O Ojuola, GMA Gillespie, AL Vargas Cuero, V Cerundolo, M Callan, KPWJ McAdam, SL Rowland-Jones, C Donner, AJ McMichael, H Whittle. Mature CD8+ T lymphocyte response to viral infection during foetal life. 2003 Journal of Clinical Investigation 111:1747-1755.


Vermijlen D, M Brouwer, C Donner, C Liesnard, M Tackoen, M Van Rysselberge, N Twité, M Goldman, A Marchant, F Willems. Human cytomegalovirus elicits fetal gamma delta T cell responses in utero. 2010 Journal of Experimental Medicine 207:807-821.


Epalza C, T Goetghebuer, M Hainaut, F Prayez, P Barlow, A Dediste, A Marchant, J Levy. High Incidence of Invasive Group B Streptococcal Infections in HIV-Exposed Uninfected Infants. 2010 Pediatrics 126:e631-638.


Antoine P, V Olislagers, A Huygens, S Lecomte, C Liesnard, C Donner, A Marchant. Functional exhaustion of CD4+ T lymphocytes during primary CMV infection. 2012 Journal of Immunology 189:2665-2672.


Huygens A, S Lecomte, M Tackoen, V Olislagers, Y Demarcelle, W Burny, M Van Rysselberge, C Liesnard, M Larsen, V Appay, C Donner, A Marchant. Functional exhaustion limits effector CD4 and CD8 T cell responses to congenital CMV infection. 2015 Journal of Infectious Diseases 212:484-494.


Dauby N, D Sartori, C Kummert, S Lecomte, E Haelterman, ML Delforge, C Donner, M Mach, A Marchant. Limited effector memory B cell response to envelope glycoprotein B during primary HCMV infection. 2016. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 213 :1642-1650.


Delforge ML, E Costa, F Brancart, D Goldman, I Montesinos, S Zaytouni, A Marchant, C Donner. Presence of cytomegalovirus in urine and blood of pregnant women might be associated with fetal infection. 2017. Journal of Clinical Virology 90:14-17.


Kollmann TR, B Kampmann, S Mazmanian, A Marchant*, O Levy*. Protecting the newborn and young infant from infectious diseases : lessons from immune ontogeny. 2017. Immunity. 46: 350-363. * : co-senior authorship.


Jennewein MF, B Abu-Raya, Y Jiang, G Alter, A Marchant. Transfer of maternal immunity and programming of the newborn immune system. 2017. Seminars in Immunopathology. 39 :605-613.

CYMAF project members 

The Marchant lab

Véronique Olislagers MSc

Shilpee Sharma