Microbiology & Infection
The Microbiology and Infection Research Domain (MIRD) aims to pioneer the identification of prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic targets for the development of personalized medical interventions for infectious diseases. The global burden of infectious diseases, still a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, is magnified by persistent infections, epidemics of new and old infectious diseases, the increasing number of immunocompromised patients and the increased number of hospitals acquired infections. The MIRD tackle these challenges by two main complementary strategies: i) basic research to understand biological mechanisms and to identify novel targets for prognostic/diagnostics and therapy and ii) translational research that explores relevant biological processes in patients.
Research strategies within MIRD range from bioinformatics to molecular and cellular mechanisms, exploring the implemented and consolidated cellular and animal models, and patients, to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating the host-pathogen interaction and defining the immune response to infection. The dissection of the virulence mechanisms and the determinants of drug resistance, as well as the evolutionary properties of the pathogens, and their dynamic relationships with the host and the environment has driven significant advances in our understanding of infection pathogenesis. By incorporating this information within a framework comprising distinct layers of inter-individual human variation (genetic, epigenetic, metabolic, and microbiome profiles), MIRD has developed the capacity to deliver innovative and integrated personalized diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for infectious diseases such as genetic-based patient stratification approaches, and novel strategies for the design of vaccines and immunotherapeutics, both for common and neglected infectious diseases.
The MIRD aggregates a multidisciplinary team including biologists, biochemistries, engineers and medical doctors around the different projects. This flexible structure promotes intramural collaborations and an all-inclusive view on host-pathogen interactions involving a diverse set of pathogens including bacteria (mycobacteria: Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. ulcerans), viruses (HIV), fungi (Paracoccidioides spp; Aspergillus fumigatus) and parasites (Plasmodium spp; Leishmania spp).