Nicole Bernard

Nicole Bernard, Ph.D.
Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre
1001 Boulevard Décarie
Glen Site Block E, Office EM3.3238
IDIGH Mail Drop Point EM3.3211
Montréal, Québec, Canada H4A 3J1

Office phone: (514) 934 1934 x44584
nicole.bernard [at]



Nicole Bernard did her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at Duke University and postdoctoral fellowships as the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the University of Toronto. She is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University and a member of the Division of Clinical Immunology, Division of Experimental Medicine and the Infectious Disease, Immunology and Global Health Program of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. She directs a research program that aims to understand the host responses that underlie the persistent seronegativity of certain individuals despite high level HIV exposure and the slow disease progression observed in a subset of HIV infected persons. She has played a founding role in establishing the Canadian Cohort of HIV Infected Slow Progressors.  Her current interests involve studying innate responses and the interaction of these with the adaptive arm on the immune response that lead to protective immunity to HIV.

My research focus is the study of the immune correlates of protection against HIV infection in a subset of individuals who remain uninfected despite multiple exposures to this virus. The research program is based on the hypothesis that NK cells play a role in protection from HIV infection. NK cells, as key players in innate immunity, can mediate antiviral functions early after exposure to HIV infected cells and possibly prevent the establishment of a progressive infection. NK anti-viral function is determined by a process called licensing that is dependent of the integration of signals from cell surface activating and inhibitory receptors that sense the presence of ligands on other cells. I am interested in the link between carriage of NK receptor –ligand pairs that are associated with HIV protection and the antiviral functional potential of NK cells from these individuals. We also study correlates of immune protection against disease progression in infected subjects who progress slowly as defined by spontaneously controlling viral load or maintaining high CD4 counts long term.


HIV/AIDS, HIV resistance, NK cells, HLA, Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors, CD8+ T cells, Cytokine Secretion, Cytolysis, Long Term Non Progressors, Elite Controllers.

Selected Publications

Song R, I Lisovsky, B Lebouché, J-P Routy, J Bruneau and NF Bernard. HIV Protective KIR3DL1/HLA-B Genotypes Influence NK Cell Mediated Inhibition of HIV Replication in Autologous CD4 T Cell Targets. PloS Pathogens 2014 Jan;10(1):e1003867

Tallon BJ, J Bruneau, CM Tsoukas, J-P Routy, Z Kiani, XM Tan and NF Bernard, Time to seroconversion in HIV-exposed subjects carrying protective versus non protective KIR3DS1/S1 and HLA-B genotypes. PLos One Oct 17;9(10):e110480. doi: 10.1371, 2014.

Isitman G, I Lisovsky, J Bruneau, NH Shoukry, A Tremblay-Mclean, MS Parsons, MA Wainberg and NF Bernard. The Effect of NK Cell Licensing on Antibody Dependent Cellular Cytoxicity. AIDS 2015, in press..

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