Where Ideas grow


The Immunobiology group mainly studies the immune response elicited by human and veterinary pathogens aiming at developing immune-based approaches to prevent infectious diseases and deleterious consequences of infection. Studied infections include those caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis, Group B Streptococcus, Candida spp., Mycobacteria and Neospora caninum.



The group developed a vaccination strategy to achieve protection against GBS infection that may be also effective in protecting against a wide range of bacterial neonatal infections. This strategy is based on antibody-mediated neutralization of bacterial GAPDH.
Several patents were registered concerning this approach and a spin-off (Immunethep) was started.

By using a different immunization strategy, the group is also working in mucosal vaccination against bovine neosporosis, the disease caused by the protozoan N. caninum. The vaccination approach used N. caninum membrane proteins as target antigens and proved effective in the murine model by protecting against infections established by the intragastric route or systemically.

Over the last years the group has made several contributions concerning the understanding of the host immune response to S. epidermidis biofilm cells and immune evasion mechanisms related to the biofilm mode of growth. The Immunobiology team also developed experimental tools that helped characterize S. epidermidis biofilms and biofilm cells physiology.

Other ongoing studies of the group concern the management/prevention of infections caused by Candida species or its immune-mediated inflammatory consequences. These studies include antibody- and nanoparticle-based approaches aimed at interfering with host-pathogen interactions.

The group continues to dissect mycobacterial immune pathology using a mouse model of Mycobacterium avium infection.

FACS sorted murine B cells (green) in close contact with N. caninum tachyzoites (red)