• Preclinical Models


Preclinical models are necessary to evaluate new therapeutic strategies against emerging infections. Besides, they can be used to understand pathogenesis and immune response to these infections. In our lab, we use different small animal models to understand the pathogenesis of emerging viral infections. Our current focus is the recently emerged coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 is the causing agent of COVID19 (COronaVIrus Disease 2019), a severe acute respiratory syndrome responsible for an unprecedent pandemic of the 21st century. 

Through different collaborations, we are also interested in the pathogenesis of Yellow Fever virus, Ebola virus and on understanding the zoonotic potential of hepatotropic viruses.

We mainly work with humanized models engrafted with human immune cells, human tissues (i.e. Liver) or expressing human receptors (i.e. ACE2). These models allow us to study viral pathogenesis and immune response in a human context. Moreover, we study the zoonotic potential of emerging viruses by comparing viral pathogenesis in mice engrafted with bat, swine or human hematopoietic cells.


  • An in vivo model for SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in human immune system mice (DZIF).
  • Avatar mice to investigate correlates of protection and immunity in COVID-19 survivors (WHO).
  • Integrated testing approaches and intensive laboratory training as strategy against SARS-COV-2 spread in the Republic of Congo (EDCTP-ITAIL-COVID19).
  • Humanized mice to study the zoonotic potential and pathophysiology of hepatotropic emerging pathogens (SFB Emerging Infections).
  • Dendritic cell-T cell interactions in viral hemorrhagic fevers (LFF).
  • Preclinical model for post-exposure therapies of Yellow Fever Virus (iPRIME).
  • Improved Vaccination Strategies for Older Adults (EU-HORIZON2020-ISOLDA).


  • DZIF
  • LFF
  • EU-HORIZON2020
  • WHO


Dr. Estefania Rodríguez

E-Mail: estefania.rodriguez@bnitm.de