Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi, and can be transmitted directly or indirectly from one person to another. Despite medical advances, viral and bacterial infectious diseases remain one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
The Viral and Bacterial Infections programme at ISGlobal comprises 15 research groups working on a wide range of viral and bacterial pathogens and encompasses a large, multidisciplinary and translational research portfolio ranging from basic science to clinical, epidemiological and public health-oriented research. Our main objective is to reduce the burden of major viral and bacterial diseases by providing society with new tools for prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
- To enhance knowledge of the pathophysiology and molecular biology of pathogens.
- To design and develop new tools for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of major viral and bacterial infections.
- To understand the immune response and the role of the microbiota against these infections.
- To conduct implementation science to develop and assess strategies for the delivery of proven effective interventions.
The programme, through the research groups involved, has a strong international presence by belonging to important networks such as B2B2B AMRx, by organising and participating in international seminars, conferences and workshops, and by coordinating and/or participating as partners in relevant projects funded by international agencies such as Horizon Europe (e.g. EChiLiBRiST), NIH, EDCTP (e.g. EXULTANT, Stool4TB), Bill and Belinda Gates (ICARIA), ANTICOV projects.
In addition, most of the programme's PIs collaborate with other ISGlobal programmes to develop projects and ideas, including those that do not have a second affiliation.
Main Lines of Research
The programme spans a range of disciplines that are crucial to advancing our understanding of and response to viral and bacterial infectious diseases. In molecular biology and pathophysiology, we study the intricate ways in which different pathogenic micro-organisms infect our bodies, causing disease, and seek potential targets to develop new drugs. In addition, our work in immunology and microbiome research is unravelling the interactions between the immune response and the gut microbiota, shedding light on how they influence the pathogenesis and virulence of viruses and bacteria. This knowledge is fundamental to understanding natural protection from —or susceptibility to— infection and disease.
Furthermore, drug discovery efforts include the exploration of molecules from both natural and synthetic sources, including small molecules and peptides, while identifying potential targets for novel drug candidates. Through molecular and clinical epidemiology studies, we investigate disease patterns, their causes and impact on populations, and the association between exposures or treatments and health outcomes. This knowledge is the basis for informing strategies to reduce the burden of infection in vulnerable populations and developing clinical practice guidelines.
Our expertise extends to the design, development and validation of diagnostic and screening tools. Our staff are involved in different steps of the value chain, from biomarker discovery to field validation and impact assessment. The programme also plays a key role in the development of treatment and prevention tools. We actively participate in vaccine and drug clinical trials in Europe, Africa and Latin America, depending on the epidemiology of the pathogen and the needs of the population.
Finally, the programme's focus on monitoring and evaluation, implementation science and public health enables us to develop and assess effective strategies for delivering proven interventions.
- Antimicrobial resistance (Jordi Vila, Sara M. Soto and Ignasi Roca)
- Bacterial infections (Jordi Vila, Sara M. Soto and Quique Bassat)
- Health and economic impact assessment (Davide Rasella and Elisa Sicuri)
- Health systems, viral hepatitis, HIV and COVID-19 (Jeffrey Lazzarus)
- HIV (Denise Naniche)
- Immunology (Carlota Dobaño and Gemma Moncunill)
- Maternal and children’s infections (Clara Menéndez and Azucena Bardají)
- Migrants (Ana Requena)
- Mycobacteria (Julià González and Griselda Tudó - Hospital Clinic Group)
- Tropical diseases (Jose Muñoz and Claudio Parolo)
- Tuberculosis (Alberto García-Basteiro)
- Viral infections (Mike Martínez and M. Angeles Marcos)
Sara Soto González Associate Research Professor and Head of the Viral and Bacterial Infections Programme at ISGlobal.
Principal lnvestigators of the Programme
Miriam Jose Álvarez Associated Researcher
Azucena Bardají Associate Research Professor
Quique Bassat ICREA Research Professor, Head of the Malaria Programme
Climent Casals-Pascual Associate Research Professor
Silvia de Sanjosé Associate Researcher
Elizabet Diago Associated Researcher
Carlota Dobaño Research Professor
Alberto García-Basteiro Associate Research Professor
Raquel González Assistant Research Professor
Julià González Associated Researcher
Jeffrey Lazarus Research Professor and Co-director of the Viral and Bacterial Infections Programme
Elisa López Varela Associated Researcher
Mª Ángeles Marcos Associate Researcher
Miguel Martínez Medical Research Fellow
Clara Menéndez Research Professor, Director of the Maternal, Child and Reproductive Health Initiative and Programme
Gemma Moncunill Assistant Research Professor
Jose Muñoz Associate Research Professor
Denise Naniche Scientific Director
Claudio Parolo Assistant Research Professor
Otavio Ranzani Assistant Research Professor
Davide Rasella Associate Research Professor and Head of the Health Impact Assessment Group
Ana Requena Assistant Research Professor
Ignasi Roca Associated Researcher
Elisa Sicuri Associate Research Professor
Griselda Tudó Associated Researcher
Jordi Vila Research Professor, Director of the Antimicrobial Resistance Initiative and Co-Director of the Viral and Bacterial Infections Programme
Anna Vilella Associated Researcher
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