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Present research project

PRINT-AID project, PhD in Drug Research (2017-present)

Supervised by Jari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Kirsi Savijoki and Adyary Fallarero, Faculty of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Anti-infective research group, University of Helsinki, Finland

Title of thesis: Identification, mechanistic characterization and chemical optimization of repurposed anti-biofilms

Description: The doctoral project is part of the PRINT-AID network (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, Innovative Training Networks, H2020-MSCA-ITN-2016) and contributes to the main goal of developing a new generation of personalized anti-infective 3D-printed medical devices. The objectives of the project are to identify new anti-biofilms, characterize their mechanism of action and select at least one lead for structural optimization and integration into a 3D-printed medical device. The discovery of new anti-biofilm candidates has been accomplished by high-throughput screening and follow-up studies are currently under way. One key compound has been selected for integration into a device prototype and testing in vivo. In parallel, structural optimization is in course in order to increase its potency and value as an anti-biofilm lead overall.


- Miniaturization and otpmization of an antimicrobial activity screening platform based on in vitro bacterial biofilms staining to 384-well microplates with two bacterial strains, S. aureus and P. aeruginosa.

- High-throughput evaluation of the preventive and destructive antimicrobial activity of libraries of compounds on bacterial biofilms using the optimized screening platform based on combined resazurin and crystal violet staining

- Characterization of the anti-biofilm activity using various techniques (ATP production, LIVE/DEAD staining and confocal microscopy, CFU count, MIC/MBC/MBIC determination with Calgary Biofilm Device, activity determination on numerous collection and clinical bacterial strains, cytotoxicity, etc)

- Investigation of the mode of action of the selected hits (killing kinetic, quorum sensing inhibition, membrane disruption assay, transcriptomics analysis, etc)


Academic Background

PhD in Drug Research (2017 - Ongoing), University of Helsinki, Finland

MSc in Microbiology-Immunology (2016), Laval University, Quebec City, Canada

BSc in Biomedical sciences (2014), Laval University, Quebec City, Canada

BSc in Biology (2014), Laval University, Quebec City, Canada


Previous Research Experience

MSc in Microbiology-Immunology project (2014-2016)

Supervised by Louis Flamand, Division of Infectious disease and immunity, CHU de Québec Research Center (CHUL), Laval University, Quebec City, Canada

Title of thesis: Study of the chromosomal integration of human herpesvirus 6 and impact of its infection on damages recognition at telomeres

Tasks and accomplishments:

- Analyzed viral and cellular genes expression at the RNA and protein levels in HHV-6 infected cells. Cell culture in laboratory containment level 2 (cell lines U2OS, HeLa, MOLT-3, HSB-2, HUVEC, MCF-7, GM847). Infection kinetics with HHV-6A and HHV-6B. Virus production and titration. Isolation from blood samples, culture and infection of monocytes.

- Demonstrated a difference in the shelterin complex RNA expression (TRF1, TRF2, TPP1) and in the TRF2 protein expression during HHV-6 infection. DNA and RNA extraction, RT-qPCR, Western Blot, ELISA, ChIP. Some experience in multicolor flow cytometry.

- Investigated expression and distribution of DNA damage response proteins (53BP1, yH2AX), TRF2 protein, viral proteins (IE1/2, p41) and telomeric sequences during HHV-6 infection. Molecular cloning. Analysis of RNA, DNA and protein sequences. Expression of recombinant proteins. Transduction (Lentiviruses). Immunofulorescence and FISH. Confical microscopy.

- Tested the effect of a telomerase inhibitor (BRACO-19) on chromosomal integration of HHV-6 in telomeres. Single-cell clones production (HeLa, U2OS, MCF-7). qPCR and ddPCR. Some ecperience with Surface Plasmon Resonance.


Research internship in Biomedical sciences (2014)

Supervised by Louis Flamand, Division of Infectious disease and immunity, CHUL, Quebec city, Canada

- Studied the human herpesvirus 6 pritein U94 and its interaction with telomeric protein TRF2 (DNA and RNA extraction, RT-qPCR, Western Blot, transfection, IF and confocal microscopy).


Research internship in biology (2013)

Supervised by Jean Charron, Centre of Cancer Research, Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, CHUQ, Quebec City, Canada

- Characterized a new animal model of cranio-facio-cutaneous syndrome: genetically modified mice (Mek1 y130c). DNA extraction and genotyping by Southern Blot. Sampling from mice (skull, brain, heart, embryos), fixation, embedding, cutting, staining and analysis of histological samples. (formation in biosecurity, radioprotection and work in an animal facility - mice)


Student assistant in the biobank project IRNPQEO (2012)

Laboratory of Emmanuel Bujold, Centre of perinatal research, CHUQ, Quebec City, Canada

- Participated in the collection, freezing and storing of human biological samples (placenta and umbilical biopsies, blood, etc) to create a biobank of mother-child paired samples.



French (native), English (proficient), Finnish (basic)



Gilbert-Girard, S., Gravel, A., Collin, V., Wight, D., Kaufer, B. B., Lazzerini-Denchi, E. & Flamand, L., Recruitment of TRF2 at viral telomeres prevents DNA-damage response and facilitates human herpesvirus 6A/B chromosomal integration. (submitted to PLOS pathogen, August 2019)

Fedorowicz, J., J. Saczewski, A. Konopacka, K. Waleron, D. Lejnowski, K. Ciura, T. Tomasic, Z. Skok, K. Savijoki, M. Morawska, S. Gilbert-Girard and A. Fallarero (2019). "Synthesis and biological evaluation of hybrid quinolone-based quaternary ammonium antibacterial agents." Eur J Med Chem 179: 576-590.

Gilbert-Girard, S., Savijoki, K., Montoya, L., Fallarero, A. Assess the cellular viability of Staphylococcus aureus biofilms: PrestoBlue HS and alamarBlue HS reagents for microplate viability assays. Bioprobes 79: Journal of Cell Biology Applications, published by Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (http://assets.thermofisher.com/TFS-Assets/BID/Reference-Materials/bioprobes-79-journal.pdf)

Gilbert-Girard, S., Gravel, A., Artusi, S., Richter, S. N., Wallaschek, N., Kaufer, B. B., Flamand, L., Stabilization of Telomere G-Quadruplexes Interferes with Human Herpesvirus 6A Chromosomal Integration. J Virol, 2017. 91(14). DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00402-17

Gravel, A., Dubuc, I., Wallaschek, N., Gilbert-Girard, S., Collin, V., Hall-Sedlak, R., Jerome, K. R., Mori, Y., Carbonneau, J., Boivin, G., Kaufer, B. B., Flamand, L., Cell Culture Systems To Study Human Herpesvirus 6A/B Chromosomal Integration. J Virol, 2017. 91(14). DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00437-17

Trempe, F., Gravel, A., Dubuc, I., Wallaschek, N., Collin, V., Gilbert-Girard, S., Morissette, G., Kaufer, B. B., Flamand, L., 2015. Characterization of human herpesvirus 6A/B U94 as ATPase, helicase, exonuclease and DNA-binding proteins. Nucleic Acids Res 43:6084-6098. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkv503

Utbildning / akademisk kvalifikation

Microbiology-Immunology, Master of Science, Université Laval

1 sep 201431 dec 2016

Tilldelningsdatum: 31 dec 2016


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