Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación

Host-Pathogen Interactions

Coordinator: Dra. Juncal Garmendia García


Overcoming respiratory infections through exploitation of pathogen and host-directed novel therapeutics.

Infectious diseases are a major public-health threat, and respiratory infections are leading causes of morbidity and mortality.

Antimicrobial pressure has promoted the appearance and transmission of (multi)drug-resistant bacteria and viruses, and the emergenceel perfil glycolitico of untreatable pathogens. This situation has generated an urgent need for development of innovative, efficient and targeted treatments that ensure a sustainable control and treatment of infections.

Moreover, distinguishing colonization from infection in the respiratory tract and finding appropriate treatments are major challenges.

The present project in the Host-Pathogen Interactions (HPI) line at CIBERES aims to identify, characterize, develop and evaluate novel prophylactic and therapeutic long-lasting antimicrobial drugs, based on the manipulation of the host-pathogen interplay or  on the intervention on virulence factors , pathogen adaptation and pathogen survival.

The present project builds upon knowledge generated previously in this coordinated line, is presented by a multidisciplinary consortium of academic and clinical research groups, joining leading scientists from important institutions in infection biology in Spain and is focused on overcoming respiratory infection by major human pathogens, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Influenza and respiratory-syncytial viruses. 


Our work produces synergies based on:

  • Complementary expertise of partners from different disciplines: microbiology, immunology, cell biology and structural biology.
  • Common use of the established  cell lines including primary, immortalised and knock-out cells, reagents, and platforms.
  • Common reporter cell lines, assays, and read-out systems developed with different pathogens.

The present project will use a common framework based on three innovative and complementary strategies at the forefront of research in infection biology:

  1. Anti-virulence therapeutics;
  2. Host-directed therapeutics;
  3. Novel therapies, prophylaxis and drug delivery systems.

As the panel of pathogens to be tackled includes from opportunistic to highly pathogenic species with various infectious strategies, the specific objectives will be adequately tailored to each pathogen.

The project aims at producing collaborative and multidisciplinary cutting-edge scientific knowledge, to be transferred to academic, clinical and industrial partners, and at training researchers in Clinical, Cellular, Molecular, and Structural Microbiology, as well as Immunology. 


Specific objectives are:

  1. Characterization of pathogen factors essential for adaptation and infection, including bacteria glycoprofiling, microbial virulence and regulatory factors, and patho-adaptive evolutionary traits;
  2. Characterization of host cellular factors involved in pathogen replication, persistence and infection progression, including chromatin dynamics, host lectins, and inflammatory responses;
  3. Development and preclinical validation of novel therapies and drug delivery systems, including antimicrobials based on anti-virulence factors or host target interference, exploitation of aptamers as antivirals, and engineering of novel vaccine candidates and enzybiotics.