28 scientific teams from the Czech Academy of Sciences (including 2 teams from IMG) and several universities will form a robust research network – the newly established National Institute of Virology and Bacteriology (NIVB).
NIVB research will focus on three main areas. The first is the study of interactions between viruses or bacteria and their hosts, for example, understanding the mechanisms by which viruses and bacteria multiply in infected organisms and cause disease. The second area is the study of the immune response of the infected organism, innate and acquired immunity against pathogens. The third area is the research and development of new diagnostic tools and drugs against infectious diseases.
The first involved IMG team is Ondřej Štěpánek’s team, which will study the role of T-lymphocytes in immunity against viral and bacterial infections and the diversity of memory cells, which play an important role in reinfection and can be targeted in vaccine development.
The second IMG team involved will be Jiří Hejnar’s team, which will focus on the issue of virus-host cell interactions as well as mechanisms of natural antiviral immunity in birds, especially poultry, in which a number of genes previously thought to be evolutionarily lost have been discovered.
The project, which is funded by CZK 1.3 billion from EU funds, will involve groups not only from the Czech Academy of Sciences, but also from Charles University, Masaryk University, the University of Chemistry and Technology in Prague and Palacký University in Olomouc.
Scientific contact: Jiří Hejnar, Ph.D.
Source and complete press release (in Czech) at the website of the Czech Academy of Sciences.