Marcelo Simon Sola: to develop AAV Plateform

Arriving at the Imagine Institute in March 2018, Marcelo Simon Sola is responsible for setting up a platform for the production of AAV vectors for various gene therapy projects at the Institute. Marcelo tells us about his journey, his project at Imagine and explains the role of this new platform to us.

Published on 21.11.2018

Research Acceleration

  • Portrait

What is your background?

A graduate of biomedical sciences in Brazil and specialized in immunotherapy and allergies, I first worked for several years as a manager in a medical laboratory in Brazil. I was then a research assistant in Australia on projects related to immunotherapy and HIV. After having traveled and lived in Australia, Spain and France, I chose to settle in France, where I did a Masters in Molecular and Cellular Biology with a specialization in immunotherapy and bioengineering at the Pierre and Marie Curie University. I joined Genethon and the group of Dr. Federico Mingozzi, developing liver-targeted gene therapies, where I was one of the managers of the AAV platform. I also worked on several projects studying the immune response to different gene transfers and AAV capsids.


Why did you choose Imagine?

When I worked at Genethon, we had the opportunity to complete projects in collaboration with the Imagine Institute, with whom we had several bridges and connections. Imagine is a major player in gene therapy, and the Institute is recognized for its successes and its projects. The chance to fully create a platform to produce AAV (adeno-associated virus) vectors, with a focus on gene therapy and gene transfers is a tremendous opportunity. Finally, the Institute’s location in the heart of Paris is also a huge asset.

What is the AAV platform? Who and what will it be of use to?

The number of clinical trials using viral vectors derived from the Adeno-Associated parvovirus (AAV) for in vivo gene transfers has increased considerably these past few years and shows the high efficiency of these vectors for gene transfer and gene therapy. Indeed, the simplicity of the wild type AAV genome, the non-pathogenic property of the virus and its ability to infect a wide variety of cell types and animal species makes it an excellent vector.

The platform will aim to produce recombinant AAV vectors for various gene therapy projects and for in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies. It can be accessed by all teams at the Imagine Institute with a gene therapy project, as well as the teams integrated in the Gene Therapy Area of Major Interest initiative.