null Martin Olivier, PhD

Senior Scientist, RI-MUHC, Glen site

Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program

Centre for Translational Biology

Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, MUHC



leishmaniasis • malaria • exosome • innate inflammation • signaling

Research Focus

My research focuses on understanding how pathogens can evade the host immune response by manipulating the biochemical cascades involved in the regulation of phagocyte microbicidal functions. My pathogens of interest are protozoan parasites causing malaria, which causes up to two millions deaths annually, and leishmaniasis, which affects more than 250 million individuals worldwide. I have found that leishmania can tame the innate inflammatory response of the host, using its surface protease that can also be contained in microvesicules rapidly released within the host environment. For Malaria, my research revealed that a crystalline metabolic waste (HZ) of the parasite was responsible for a great number of inflammation-related pathologies encountered during this important infection. My lab's findings may lead to the development of new therapies against those infectious agents, which could be applied to others such as tuberculosis. They might also lead to the development of new diagnostic tools based on exo-biomarkers, and potentially to vaccine development.

Selected Publications

Click on Pubmed to see my current publications list

  • M.A. Gomez, I. Contreras, M. Halle, M.L. Tremblay, R.W. McMaster and M. Olivier. The major surface protease of Leishmania is implicated in the modulation of macrophage protein tyrosine phosphatases. Science Signaling 2 (90), ra58. Pages 1-12 (2009).

  • M.T. Shio, S.C. Eisenbarth, M. Saravia, M.-J. Bellemare, A. Vinet, K.W. Harder, S. Sutterwala, D.S. Bohle, A. Descoteaux, R.A. Flavell and M. Olivier. Malarial pigment-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation depends on Lyn and Syk kinases. PLoS Pathogens E-pub Aug 21; 5(8):e1000559 (2009).

  • M. Olivier. Host-Pathogen Interaction : Culprit within a culprit. Nature 471: 173-174 (2011).

  • M. Jaramillo, M.A. Gomez, O. Larsson, M.T. Shio, I. Toposorovic, I. Contreras, R. Luxenburg, A. Rosenfeld, R. Colina, R.W. McMaster, M. Olivier*, M. Costa-Mattioli* and N. Sonenberg*. Leishmania repression of host translation through mTOR cleavage is required for parasite survival and infection. Cell Host & Microbes 9(4):331-41 (2011). * Equal co-corresponding authors.

  • K. Hassani and M. Olivier. Immunomodulatory impact of Leishmania-induced exosomes: A comparative proteomic and functional analyses. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 7(5): e2185. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0002185 (2013).