Skip to main content

Acteria Doctoral Prize in Allergology

Dr. Coraline Radermecker

Coraline RADERMACKER, BIS, for her PhD thesis on the role of neutrophils and “Neutrophil Extracellular Traps” in allergic asthma onset

Coraline Radermecker, 34, graduated in 2012 as a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Liege, Belgium. She began her PhD as a Research fellow of the F.R.S.-FNRS under the supervision of Pr. Fabrice Bureau and then pursued her doctoral studies in the Immunophysiology laboratory of Pr. Thomas Marichal. During her thesis, she was interested in the biology of lung myeloid cells, their responses to environmental triggers in the context of allergic asthma and more recently their contribution to COVID-19 physiopathology. She is author of 10 original research articles, among others in Nature Immunology, Immunity and The Journal of Experimental Medicine, one review article and a book chapter (all first-authored). Her doctoral work has been rewarded in 2019 by the GSK Awards in Pneumology, in 2020 by the Paul Capel Prize and in 2021 by the McKinsey and Company Prize.

In the first part of her PhD, she was implicated, together with Catherine Sabatel, in a project aiming to investigate how exposure to bacterial-derived products, like LPS or CpG-rich DNA (CpG), protects the host against allergic asthma. They discovered that particular lung macrophages secreting IL-10, the interstitial macrophages (IM), massively expanded in the lung upon CpG exposure from lung and splenic CCR2-independent monocytes. By performing adoptive transfer experiments, they demonstrated that IM were sufficient to mediate the protective effects of CpG in their model.

In the second part of her thesis, she aimed to understand how distinct pro-allergic environmental conditions, such as an excess of hygiene, respiratory viral infections and air pollutants, could promote susceptibility to allergic asthma by modulating the host immune response. In murine models of allergic asthma promoted by these three pro-allergic factors, she demonstrated that each pro-allergic environment was associated with an important recruitment of neutrophils in the lungs. By performing single cell RNA sequencing analyses, she discovered that neutrophils recruited to the lung after exposure to the three pro-allergic environments shared some unique phenotypic and functional characteristics, such as the release of Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs). She next demonstrated that NETs triggered the activation of CD11b+Ly-6C+ dendritic cells and promoted their uptake of house dust mite (HDM), an essential step to allow allergic sensitization. Finally, she demonstrated that NETs represented key players in asthma onset by inhibiting them in the three models. In this study, for the first time, Coraline and her colleagues identified a common determinant induced by unrelated pro-allergic environments to promote asthma onset.

Finally, during the COVID lockdown, she collaborated with the service of anatomopathology of Professor Philippe Delvenne who provided her with lung biopsies of deceased severe COVID-19 patients in order to investigate the presence of NETs in lungs of these patients. She detected NETs in the lungs of COVID-19 patients, described their anatomic localization (vascular, interstitial, bronchial and alveolar) and characterized the lesions associated with NETs-rich areas. NETs were found in the four distinct anatomic compartments of the lung and vascular NETs were associated to microthrombi, arguing for an implication of NETs in pathological events associated to the disease.

Dr Radermecker is now “Chargé de recherche” of the F.R.S.-FNRS in the laboratory of Immunophysiology of Pr Marichal where she is investigating the role of neutrophils in lung homeostasis, with a special focus on their long-term control of lung endothelial cell stemness, identity and function.