5 Monivong Boulevard, P.O Box. 983, Phnom Penh, Cambodia [email protected]

Since the beginning of my career, I have been fascinated by microorganisms-host interactions. After studying the molecular mechanisms of a bacterium / host symbiotic interaction during my PhD at University of Lyon, it’s a different symbiosis that led me to study mosquito-borne diseases. Indeed I worked several years in Scott O’Neill group in Australia to implement and study a Wolbachia-based strategy to block dengue virus transmission. My work was divided into both field implementation-related questions and basic and mechanistic aspects of the host-symbiont interaction.

The transition in my career to work on malaria began by developing challenging in vitro bioassays targeting the transmission responsible forms of Plasmodium falciparum and implementing exflagellation-blocking bioassays when I joined the Institut Pasteur of French Guiana.

During the last years I have been focusing on Plasmodium vivax after I joined the Institut Pasteur in Cambodia in 2014 where I have been conducting clinical studies as well as molecular work. I initially conducted a therapeutic efficacy study to properly determine if P. vivax was resistant to chloroquine in Cambodia (which is not!). I have also implemented state-of-the-art flow cytometry analysis to study receptor-ligand interactions involved in reticulocyte invasion by P. vivax, developing tools to study in vitro the biology of the parasite. My research questions are currently focusing on those two aspects: developmental biology of the parasite and implementation of operational approaches to control and eliminate P. vivax from Cambodia.



During the last years I have been working on Plasmodium vivax malaria in Cambodia, conducting clinical studies as well as molecular work:

Genomic Analyses Reveal the Common Occurrence and Complexity of Plasmodium vivax Relapses in Cambodia. J Popovici, L Friedrich, S Kim, S Bin, V Run, D Lek, M V.Cannon, D Menard, D Serre. mBio. 2017. In press

Characterization of P. vivax blood stage transcriptomes from field isolates reveals similarities among infections and complex gene isoforms. A Kim, J Popovici, A Vantaux, R Samreth, S Bin, S Kim, C Roesch, L Liang, H Davies, P Felgner, S Herrera, M Arévalo-Herrera, D Menard, D Serre. Scientific Reports. 2017. 7: 7761

Complexity of infection and genetic diversity in Cambodian Plasmodium vivax. L Friedrich, J Popovici, S Kim, D Lek, P Zimmerman, D Menard, D Serre. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2016. 10(3): e0004526

Plasmodium vivax Malaria in Cambodia. S Siv, A Roca-Feltrer, S Babu Vinjamuri, D Mey Bouth, D Lek, M Abdur Rashid, N Peng By, J Popovici, R Huy, D Menard. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. 2016. 95(6): 97-107

National Malaria Prevalence in Cambodia: Microscopy versus Polymerase Chain Reaction estimates. D Lek, J Popovici, F Ariey, S Babu Vinjamuri, S Meek, J Bruce, W RJ Taylor, D Socheat, D Menard, W O. Rogers. American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene. 2016. 95(3):588-594

Challenges in Antimalarial Drug Treatment for Vivax Malaria Control. J Popovici, D Menard. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2015. 21 (12):776-788

Reduced polymorphism in the Kelch Propeller Domain in Plasmodium vivax Isolates from Cambodia. J Popovici, S Kao, L Eal, S Bin, S Kim, D Menard. Antimicrobial Agents Chemotherapy. 2015. 59(1): 730-733

Effects of Mefloquine Use on Plasmodium vivax Multidrug Resistance. N Khim, V Andrianaranjaka, J Popovici, S Kim, A Ratsimbasoa, C Benedet, C Barnadas, R Durand, M Thellier, E Legrand, L Musset, M Menegon, C Severini, B Y. M. Nour, M Tichit, C Bouchier, O Mercereau-Puijalon, D Ménard. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2014. 20(10): 1637-1644

I began my work on malaria by implementing P. falciparum exflagellation-blocking bioassays:

Antiplasmodial activities of dyes against Plasmodium falciparum asexual and sexual stages: contrasted uptakes of triarylmethanes Brilliant green, Green S (E142) Patent Blue V (E131) by erythrocytes.  LJ Leba, J Popovici, Y Estevez, S Pelleau, E Legrand, L Musset, C Duplais. International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance, 2017. 7:314-320.

Use of Plasmodium falciparum culture-adapted field isolates for in vitro exflagellation-blocking assay. LJ Leba, L Musset, S Pelleau, Y Estevez, C Birer, S Briolant, B Witkowski, D Menard, M Delves, E Legrand, C Duplais, J Popovici. Malaria Journal. 2015. 14(1): 234

During my first postdoc, I worked on the implementation and the mechanisms of a Wolbachia-based strategy to reduce dengue transmission:

Modeling the impact on virus transmission of Wolbachia-mediated blocking of dengue virus infection of Aedes aegypti. NM Ferguson, DT Hue Kien, H Clapham, R Aguas, VT Trung, TN Bich Chau, J Popovici, PA Ryan, SL O’Neill, EA McGraw, VT Long, T Dui le, HL Nguyen, NV Vinh Chau, B Wills, CP Simmons. Science Translational Medicine. 2015. 7(279): 279ra37

Field evaluation of the establishment potential of wMelpop Wolbachia in Australia and Vietnam for dengue control. T H Nguyen, H. L Nguyen, T Y Nguyen, S N Vu, N D Tran, T. N. Le, Q M Vien, T. C. Bui, H Tho Le, S Kutcher, T P. Hurst, T. T. H. Duong, J A. L. Jeffery, J M. Darbro, B. H. Kay, I Iturbe-Ormaetxe, J Popovici, B L. Montgomery, A P. Turley, F Zigterman, H Cook, P E. Cook, P H. Johnson, P A. Ryan, C J. Paton, S A. Ritchie, C P. Simmons, S L. O’Neill, A A. Hoffmann. Parasites & Vectors. 2015. 8: 563

Discovery of putative small non-coding RNAs from the obligate intracellular bacterium Wolbachia pipientis. M Woolfit, M Algana, J Keith, EA McGraw, J Popovici. PLoS One. 2015. 10(3): e0118595

Limited dengue virus replication in field-collected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia. FD Frentiu, T Zakir, T Walker, J Popovici, AT Pyke, A van den Hurk, EA McGraw, SL O’Neill. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2014. 8(2): e2688

Genomic evolution of the pathogenic Wolbachia strain, wMelPop. M Woolfit, I Iturbe-Ormaetxe, JC Brownlie, T Walker, M Riegler, A Seleznev, J Popovici, BA Wee, E Rances, J Pavlides, MJ Sullivan, SA Beatson, A Lane, CJ McMeniman, M Sidhu, EA McGraw, SL O’Neill. Genome Biology and Evolution. 2013. 5(11): 2189-2204

Assessing Quality of Life-shortening Wolbachia-infected Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes in the Field Based on Capture Rates and Morphometric Assessments. H Lin Yeap, J K. Axford, J Popovici, N M. Endersby, I Iturbe-Ormaetxe, S A. Ritchie, A A. Hoffmann. Parasites & Vectors. 2014. 7:58

The Toll and Imd pathways are not required for Wolbachia mediated dengue virus interference. E Rancès, T Johnson, J Popovici, I Iturbe-Ormaetxe, T Zakir, C Warr, SL O’Neill. Journal of Virology. 2013. 87(21): 11945-11949

Infection with a virulent strain of Wolbachia disrupts genome wide patterns of cytosine methylation in the mosquito Aedes aegypti. Y Ye, M Woolfit, G Huttley, E Rances, E Caragata, J Popovici, SL O’Neill, EA McGraw. PLoS One. 2013 8(6): e66482

Successful establishment of Wolbachia in wild Aedes aegypti populations to suppress dengue transmission. AA Hoffmann, BL Montgomery, J Popovici, I Iturbe-Ormaetxe, PJ Johnson, F Muzzi, M Greenfield, M Durkan, YS Leong, Y Dong, H Cook, JK Axford, AG Callahan, N Kenny, EA McGraw, PA Ryan, S Ritchie, M Turelli, SL O’Neill. Nature. 2011. 476(7361): 454-459

Assessing key safety concerns of a Wolbachia-based strategy to control dengue transmission by Aedes mosquitoes. J Popovici, L Moreira, A Poinsignon, I Iturbe-Ormaetxe, D McNaughton, SL O’Neill. Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 2010. 105(8): 957-964

My early work mainly focused on the study of the molecular dialogue in a plant-bacteria symbiosis

Strain specificity in the Myricaceae-Frankia symbiosis is correlated to plant root phenolics. J Popovici J, V Walker, C Bertrand, F Bellvert, MP Fernandez, G Comte. Functional Plant Biology, 2011. 38(9): 682-689

An allelochemical from Myrica gale with strong phytotoxic activity against highly invasive Fallopia x bohemica taxa. J Popovici, C Bertrand, D Jacquemoud, F Bellvert, MP Fernandez, G Comte, F Piola. Molecules. 2011. 16: 2323-2333

Differential effects of rare specific flavonoids on compatible and incompatible strains in the Myrica gale-Frankia actinorhizal symbiosis. J Popovici, G Comte, E Bagnarol, N Alloisio, P Fournier, F Bellvert, C Bertrand, MP Fernandez. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 2010. 76(8): 2451-2460

Conspicuous coloration of the vocal sac of a nocturnal chorusing treefrog: carotenoid-based? C Richardson, J Popovici, F Bellvert, T Lengagne. Amphibia-Reptilia. 2009. 30 (4): 576-580

Chemical composition of essential oil and headspace-solid microextracts from fruits of Myrica gale L. and antifungal activity. J Popovici, C Bertrand, E Bagnarol, MP Fernandez, G Comte. Natural Product Research. 2008. 22 (12): 1024-1032

Differential Frankia protein patterns induced by phenolic extracts from Myricaceae seeds E Bagnarol, J Popovici, N Alloisio, J Maréchal, P Pujic, P Normand, MP Fernandez. Physiologia Plantarum. 2007. 130 (3) : 380-390