Ludger Johannes, PhD, is head of the Traffic and Signaling Laboratory and Research Director at the French biomedical research institute INSERM. He coordinates a translational research program at the Curie Institute and is cofounder of ShigaMediX, a spin off from the Curie Institute. Dr Johannes' research is aimed at translating insights in molecular membrane biology into innovative therapies against cancer and infectious diseases. His laboratory made chief contributions to the molecular description of a novel intracellular trafficking route between plasma membrane and internal compartments. Based on these studies, two major projects on the development of delivery approaches in the fields of tumor targeting and immunotherapy have been initiated.
While post-doc, Dr Johannes developed an experimental approach that allowed a thorough study of the so-called retrograde transport route. This work validated the B-subunit of Shiga toxin (STxBTM) as a "pathfinder" for bringing therapeutic compounds to defined intracellular locations in antigen presenting cells and tumors. This research is the basis on which a translational research program on tumor delivery has been initiated and a biotech company on immunotherapy has been founded. Dr Johannes recent studies aim at unraveling the fundamental aspects of STxB trafficking across membranes and at integrating the imaging and therapy aspects of the technology.