Our research projects

Establishment of a preclinical animal model for COVID-19 (DZIF)

In this project, we use humanized mice to model SARS-CoV-2 infection. By transplanting immune-suppressed mice with human hematopoietic stem cells isolated from cord blood, we generate mice with a full human immune system. Infection of these animals with SARS-CoV-2 and its different variants of concern (VOCs), is used to understand the contribution of the human immune system to the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 in humans. This model will serve as a preclinical model to test the efficacy of different anti-viral drugs and anti-bodies against SARS-CoV-2 and its VOCs.

Project partners: Estefanía Rodríguez-Burgos (BNITM), Susanne Krasemann (UKE) 

Equine Polyclonal Antibodies Immunotherapy Against COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2–VOC (EU HORIZON 2021-EPIC-CROWN-2)

The main objective of EPIC-CROWN-2 is to rapidly clinically assess an EMA-authorized safe antiviral therapeutic approach based upon the use of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) clinical batches of potent and broad neutralizing horse anti-SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal F(ab’)2 antibodies in COVID-19 patients infected with either VOC or the historical pandemic coronavirus.

Project partners: Estefanía Rodríguez-Burgos (BNITM), Rafael Delgado (H12O, Spain), Francisco Veas (IRD, France), Caroline Ballet (Fabentech, France), Evangelos Giammarellos (Hellenic Institute, Greece)

Modelling of viral respiratory co-infection dynamics in human epithelium (DFG/ANR-MORIARTY)

The project aims at combining mathematical models with experimental data to determine how respiratory viral co-infections within bronchial epithelium impact disease progression and treatment efficacy. These studies include co-infections between SARS-CoV-2, Influenza, RSV and HRV. Within the proposed research framework, the project focuses on:

  1. Characterizing the spatio-temporal dynamics of respiratory viruses within tissues.
  2. Assessing the dynamics of respiratory viruses in presence of co-infection.
  3. Measuring the impact of co-infections on antiviral strategies against IAV and SARSCoV-2.

   4. Assessing the impact of co-infections and interactions on the ecology of viruses and their transmissibility.

Project partners: Estefanía Rodríguez-Burgos (BNITM),  Frederik Graw (FAU, Germany), Jeremie Gyuedj (INSERM, France), Olivier Terrier (University of Lyon, France), Lulla Opatowski (Pasteur Institute, France)

Improved Vaccination Strategies for Older Adults (EU HORIZON 2020-ISOLDA)

ISOLDA aims at the development of improved vaccines against viral infections for older adults by promoting virus-specific T cell responses in vaccinees above the age of 65 using modulators of T cell immunosenescence and inflammageing. This includes vaccines against Influenza virus, YFV, TBEV and Coronaviruses like SARS-1, MERS and SARS-2.

Project partners: César Muñoz-Fontela/Estefanía Rodríguez-Burgos (BNITM), Albert Osterhaus/Guus Rimmelzwaan (TiHo, Germany), Bart Haagmans (Erasmus MC, Netherland), Luis Enjuanes/Isabel Sola (CNB, Spain), David Escors (Navarrabiomed, Spain), Calogero Caruso/Giuseppina Candore (UNIPA, Italy)

Humanized mice to study the zoonotic potential and pathophysiology of hepatotropic emerging pathogens (SBF Emerging Infections-CRC1648-Project A02)

The main aim of this project is to understand the hepatotropism, pathophysiology and zoonotic potential of distinct emerging viruses (Bat hepatitis viruses, Ebola virus, Lass virus, Yellow fever virus) by using and further developing humanized and chimeric mouse models. These in vivo models will enable to accelerate the evaluation and preclinical testing of (re)-emerging and of yet unknown viruses (e.g. Pathogen ‘X’).

Project partners: Estefanía Rodríguez-Burgos (BNITM), Maura Dandri (UKE)

CEPI Preclinical Animal Models Network

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or CEPI is an organization that aims to promote vaccine development against epidemic and pandemic diseases.

BNITM is now part of the network that will contribute to promote vaccine development by establishing and using different preclinical animal models for emerging infections.

Project partners: Estefanía Rodríguez-Burgos/César Muñoz-Fontela/Lisa Oestereich/ Stephan Günther (BNITM)

Preclinical Models Research Group Rodríguez

  • [Translate to English:] Logo DZIF
  • [Translate to English:] Logo LFF Hamburg
  • [Translate to English:] Logo WHO
  • [Translate to English:] Logo Grafik
  • [Translate to English:] Logo Grafik Isolda
  • [Translate to English:] Logo Epic Crown 2
  • [Translate to English:] Logo DFG