Prestigious ERC Grant for Mihai Netea

Netea, Mihai

Prof. Mihai Netea (Department of General Internal Medicine) has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant of € 1.5 million. He will use this grant during the next five years for the "SysBioFun" project, aiming to investigate the interaction landscape between microbial colonization and functional genome of the host: a systems biology approach in fungal infections.

Fungi such as Candida albicans are ubiquitous colonizers of the human skin and mucosae. On the one hand, fungal pathogens invade the host when host defence is diminished, and on the other hand, the combination of fungal and microbial colonization modulates mucosal and systemic immune responses. Little is known of the complex interaction between fungal and microbial colonization, and between these two and the host genome and immunity on the other hand. The Hypothesis of this proposal is that the immune response to C. albicans is determined by the interaction between fungal colonization (mycobiome), microbial flora (microbiome), and the genetic background of the host (genome). This interaction is distorted in patients with fungal infections, and the identification of these imbalances will lead to novel therapeutic targets.

The Key Objectives of the projects are: 

1) To map the landscape of interaction between the fungal colonization (mycobiome), microbial flora (microbiome) and the genetic and immunological make-up of the host (functional genome).

2) To assess the dysregulation of these interactions in patients with the two most important Candida infections: recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC) and disseminated candidiasis.
The project  is expected to lead to the validation of these interactions as novel diagnostic and/or therapeutic targets for fungal infections.

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