CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

European Initiative for basic research in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Final Report Summary - EIMID ITN (European Initiative for basic research in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases)

The overall objective of EIMID-ITN was to train ten early stage researchers to join the next generation of world experts in the biology of infectious diseases and specifically in the mechanisms of host-pathogen interaction. The project has been carried out within the highly successful European collaboration EIMID (European Initiative for Basic Research in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases) that brings together six top research organisations in Europe active in the field of infectious diseases, including a world renowned industrial research centre:

1. Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics S.r.l. (NVD), Siena, Italy;
2. Imperial College (IC), London, UK;
3. Institut Pasteur (IP), Paris, France;
4. Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm, Sweden;
5. Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB), Berlin, Germany.
6. University of Oxford (UOXF), Oxford, UK.

EIMID aims at reaching a critical mass on research in infectious diseases in Europe, capable of implementing a rapid and effective scientific reaction to emerging infections, and at fostering high level training in a Europe-wide collaborative network that will attract the best talents worldwide. In EIMID-ITN, ten interlinked scientific projects tackled 1. invasive bacterial infections including meningococcal disease; 2. bacterial diarrhoeal diseases; and 3. HIV replication. The common theme throughout was the bidirectional interplay between pathogen and host in immune control vs. disease development.

The research programme consisted of 10 individual PhD projects relating to "Host-pathogen interactions" that have been performed by the 10 EIMID ITN fellows. The urgency of deep studies on this topic is evident not only in the Third World, where infectious diseases exact a heavy toll in particular on very young children, but also in industrialised countries, where new emergencies and re-emerging old diseases pose actual threats to the population health. Thus, as main goal EIMID aimed at developing innovative approaches for the control of bacterial infections of great relevance for both the industrialised and developing world, ideally by generating new vaccines or novel strategies to antagonise infectious mechanisms. The research projects were designed in order to be collaborative with at least one of the other EIMID institutions and to be carried out in parallel in the five EIMID institutes in an integrated fashion, allowing the students to exchange technical experience by frequent visits among the participant laboratories. The individual PhD projects are listed below:
1. Investigation of metabolic antigens expressed by non-typeable Haemophilus influenzae during biofilm formation for vaccine development.
2. Investigation of the biological role of surface proteins in Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis.
3. Replication dynamics of Streptococcus pyogenes.
4. Regulation of Shigella virulence.
5. Deciphering the regulatory mechanisms of transcription of antibacterial factors of the gut epithelium.
6. A new secreted protein involved in the virulence of the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.
7. The role of immune cells in pneumococcal infections.
8. Comparative genomics and functional characterization of pneumococci and interactions with host cells and innate immune responses.
9. The human B cell response to factor H binding protein of Neisseria meningitidis.
10. Identification and analysis of host cell functions essential for viral replication

Apart from project 4, who was interrupted for the fellow’s personal reasons, each of the individual projects is finished and the fellows, all enrolled in Universities to obtain a PhD, are about to get the doctoral title. Each fellow integrated into their respective research groups.
EIMID ITN has been a three-year training pathway encompassing the individual top level scientific projects listed above and: stages in other EIMID labs for collaborative studies, science-related training activities such as participation to seminars, courses and congresses, common scientific meetings and networking (EIMID meeting), and common training courses in complementary and soft skills.
The ten fellows have been actively involved in several local activities, in three joint short scientific courses, in three short transferable skills courses, and participated to three EIMID meetings.

We believe that the expected final goal of forming the leading scientists of tomorrow, possessing knowledge that goes beyond the specific scientific sectors of interest has been reached successfully. Several articles have been published and several others are in preparation.

The logo of the programme is attached and the website is: