Awa Diop

Awa Diop

Postdoctoral Fellow

(336) 256-2590
323 Eberhart Building


Ph.D., Universite de Aix-Marseille, France


My PhD research topic was the use of genome sequences from the taxonomic description of new human-associated bacteria. I notably developed new genome-based criteria for the delineation and description of Rickettsia species. I also demonstrated that these strictly intracellular bacteria are undergoing a specific evolution in which their ongoing genome reduction is associated to increased virulence. I performed also genomic analyses including genome sequence assembly, finishing step, ORFing, annotation as well as genomic comparison with closely related species and built phylogenetic and phylogenomic trees for the description of new bacterial isolates. As a postdoc, I am continuing my work on microbial evolution and Genomics at Dr. Louis-Marie Bobay’s lab, particularly on microbial speciation and recombination. I am studying bacterial genome to define species boundaries based on the Biological species concept. I am using bioinformatic tools to measure gene flow between and within species in order to identify species based on genetic exchange. For this I am quantifying sites and rates of recombination mainly focusing on the core genome, estimating the frequency of homologous and non-homologous exchange between subpopulation within and between species.

Recent Publications:

Diop A, Raoult D and Fournier PE. Paradoxical evolution of rickettsial genomes. Ticks Tick-Borne Dis. Epub ahead of print 12 November 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2018.11.007.

Diop A, Bretelle F, Tomei E, Armstrong N, Raoult D, et al. Khoudiadiopia massiliensis gen. nov., sp. nov. Strain Marseille-P2746T, a New Gram-Stain-Positive Anaerobic Coccus Member of the Family Peptoniphilaceae, Isolated from the Human Vagina. EC Microbiol 2018;14: 781-795

Diop A, Barker SC, Eberhard M, Dayana B, Nguyen TT, et al. Rickettsia fournieri sp. nov. strain AUS118T, a novel spotted fever group rickettsia first isolated from Argas lagenoplastis ticks in Australia. Int J Syst  Evol Microbiol. Epub ahead of print 11 October 2018. DOI: 10.1099/ijsem.0.003057

Diop A, Seck E hadji, Dubourg G, Armstrong N, Blanc-Tailleur C, et al. Genome sequence and description of Gracilibacillus timonensis sp. nov. strain Marseille-P2481T , a moderate halophilic bacterium isolated from the human gut microflora. MicrobiologyOpen 2018;e00638.

Diop A, Diop K, Tomei E, Raoult D, Fenollar F, et al. Draft Genome Sequence of Ezakiella peruensis Strain M6.X2, a Human Gut Gram-Positive Anaerobic Coccus. Genome Announc 2018;6:e01487–17.

Togo AH, Diop A, Bittar F, Maraninchi M, Valero R, et al. Description of Mediterraneibacter massiliensis, gen. nov., sp. nov., a new genus isolated from the gut microbiota of an obese patient and reclassification of Ruminococcus faecis, Ruminococcus lactaris, Ruminococcus torques, Ruminococcus gnavus and Clostridium glycyrrhizinilyticum as Mediterraneibacter faecis comb. nov., Mediterraneibacter lactaris comb. nov., Mediterraneibacter torques comb. nov., Mediterraneibacter gnavus comb. nov. and Mediterraneibacter glycyrrhizinilyticus comb. nov. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. Epub ahead of print 31 May 2018. DOI: 10.1007/s10482-018-1104-y.

Togo AH, Diop A, Million M, Maraninchi M, Lagier J-C, et al. Draft Genome and Description of Eisenbergiella massiliensis Strain AT11T: A New Species Isolated from Human Feces After Bariatric Surgery. Curr Microbiol. Epub ahead of print 1 June 2018. DOI: 10.1007/s00284-018-1520-2

Diop K, Diop A, Khelaifia S, Robert C, Pinto FD, et al. Characterization of a novel Gram-stain-positive anaerobic coccus isolated from the female genital tract: Genome sequence and description of Murdochiella vaginalis sp. nov. MicrobiologyOpen 2018;e00570.

Seck EH, Diop A, Armstrong N, Delerce J, Fournier P-E, et al. Microbial culturomics to isolate halophilic bacteria from table salt: genome sequence and description of the moderately halophilic bacterium Bacillus salis sp. nov. New Microbes New Infect 2018;23:28–38.

Diop K, Diop A, Levasseur A, Mediannikov O, Robert C, et al. Microbial Culturomics Broadens Human Vaginal Flora Diversity: Genome Sequence and Description of Prevotella lascolaii sp. nov. Isolated from a Patient with Bacterial Vaginosis. OMICS J Integr Biol 2018;22:210–222.

Maaloum M, Diop A, Ndongo S, Nguyen T-T, Cadoret F, et al. Draft Genome Sequence of Megamonas funiformis Strain Marseille-P3344, Isolated from a Human Fecal Microbiota. Genome Announc 2018;6:e01459–17.

Dahmani M, Diatta G, Labas N, Diop A, Bassene H, et al. Non-contiguous finished genome sequence and description of Bartonella mastomydis sp. nov. New Microbes New Infect 2018;25:60–70.

Diop A, Raoult D, Fournier P-E. Rickettsial genomics and the paradigm of genome reduction associated with increased virulence. Microbes Infect. Epub ahead of print December 2017. DOI: 10.1016/j.micinf.2017.11.009.

Diop K, Diop A, Bretelle F, Cadoret F, Michelle C, et al. Olegusella massiliensis gen. nov., sp. nov., strain KHD7 T , a new bacterial genus isolated from the female genital tract of a patient with bacterial vaginosis. Anaerobe 2017;44:87–95.

Abdallah RA, Beye M, Diop A, Bakour S, Raoult D, et al. The impact of culturomics on taxonomy in clinical microbiology. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 2017;110:1327–1337.

Diop A, Khelaifia S, Armstrong N, Labas N, Fournier P-E, et al. Microbial culturomics unravels the halophilic microbiota repertoire of table salt: description of Gracilibacillus massiliensis sp. nov. Microb Ecol Health Dis;27. Epub ahead of print 18 October 2016. DOI: 10.3402/mehd.v27.32049.

Togo AH, Diop A, Dubourg G, Nguyen TT, Andrieu C, et al. Butyricimonas phoceensis sp. nov., a new anaerobic species isolated from the human gut microbiota of a French morbidly obese patient. New Microbes New Infect 2016;14:38–48.