Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a major human pathogen and cutaneous S. aureus infections are among the leading causes of hospital emergency department visits. Unfortunately, S. aureus vaccine development is hindered by a lack of known correlates of protection. Three-dimensional organotypic human skin models may represent a valid alternative to an animal infection model.
Indeed, S. aureus expresses several human-specific virulence factors. However, at present such models have rarely been used in the S. aureus research field and, to our knowledge, never with immune-competent models. Therefore, a major aim of this project is to develop a human skin equivalent and integrate key immune components into its epithelial matrix. To accomplish this goal, the project will take advantage of cutting-edge technologies, such as induced pluripotent stem cells to generate macrophages and neutrophils. The model will be used and optimized to meet the following main objectives:
- a better understanding of the human-specific pathogenesis of S. aureus as well as protective mechanisms against the pathogen;
- development of the first immune-competent human skin models for vaccine research;
- identification of the role of bacterial communities on skin infections;
- vdelivery of alternative methods to animal models.
By bringing together the partners’ expertise in Microbiology, Immunology, Biochemistry, Dermatology and Vaccinology and project management, DISSection will create a multidisciplinary environment where four researchers will contribute to the development of human skin models for S. aureus infections. At the same time, they will acquire transferable skills which will equip them to become future leaders of academic or industrial research.
Complementary courses on dermatology, human skin infections, hydrogel scaffolds, mass spectrometry, and induced pluripotent stem technology, will be offered during the fellowship andat the end of the project, the students will receive a Ph.D degree in the areas of Infection and Immunity.
This project is at the leading edge of science and technology and represents a good opportunity for students that are willing to grow both in basic science as well as in innovative and applicative research.
DISSection presents a good opportunity to gain knowledge whilst furthering the development of a vaccine against S. aureus infections, for which no licensed vaccines are currently available. Read more
DISSection is an innovative Doctoral programme that trains 4 young scientists in the areas of Infection and Immunity. The scope of the Project is to develop human skin models. Read more
Together with improved hygiene, housing, nutrition and sanitation, vaccines brought about a public health revolution in the 20th century, saving millions of lives. Read more
Back to top