The seminar will take place, the 7 of April at 9h, at the ENSCBP amphitheater, Building B, allée Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, Pessac.
Dr. Thomas PRADEU
CNRS, Philosophy of Sciences Immunology Unit (Bordeaux) and Institute of History & Philosophy of Sciences & Techniques (Paris)
In this talk, I shall try to better understand the interactions between multicellular organisms and their microbiota, and ask to what extent the microbiota can be considered as an integral part of the host, in particular from a developmental viewpoint.
The scientific understanding of development currently undergoes an important conceptual and experimental revolution. In the last fifteen years, new data, often based on recent technological tools, made it clear that the normal development of organisms is massively dependent on host-symbiont interactions. In organisms as diverse as plants, sponges, cnidarians, arthropods, or mammals, the construction of an organism, indeed sometimes the very first steps of this construction, necessitates the presence and activity of bacterial or viral symbionts. Developmental symbioses, long thought to be rather rare, now appear to be ubiquitous in nature (Gilbert and Epel 2015; Nyholm and McFall-Ngai 2014). Organisms are, from that point of view, complex ecosystems, constituted of entities belonging to different species, and even different kingdoms.
I will try to characterize this scientific revolution, and I will emphasize some of its conceptual consequences by making four main claims:
- Taking into account developmental symbioses impacts significantly our understanding of development;
- Taking into account developmental symbioses impacts significantly our understanding of biological individuality;
- Even though organisms are ecosystems, they are very particular ecosystems as they exhibit an extremely strong degree of unity;
- Across phyla, the immune system plays a decisive role in the unification of the heterogeneous constituents of the organism.
I will conclude by defending a “multidisciplinary“ approach to biological individuality, based on the joint lessons of evolution, development, ecology, microbiology, and immunology.
Pradeu T., Jaeger S., Vivier E. (2013), The Speed of Change: Towards a Discontinuity Theory of Immunity? Nature Reviews Immunology 13, 764–769.
Pradeu T. (2012), The Limits of the Self: Immunology and Biological Identity. New York: Oxford University Press
Pradeu T. (2010), What is an organism? An immunological answer. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32: 247-268.
Pradeu T. & Carosella E.D. (2006), On the definition of a criterion of immunogenicity. PNAS USA, 103(47): 17858-61.
Thomas Pradeu (ImmunoConcept, UMR5164, CNRS & Université de Bordeaux) is a philosopher of science, specialized in immunology and microbiota research, and working in close contact with experimental biologists. He runs the group "Conceptual and theoretical analysis of immune activation and biological boundaries", and is the holder of an ERC-funded project on "Immunity, Development, and the Microbiota: Understanding the Continuous Construction of Biological Identity". His research has been published in scientific and medical journals, including PNAS, Nature Reviews Immunology, and The Lancet.
More information here: http://thomaspradeu.com/
Contact: Véronique TREZEGUET firstname.lastname@example.org