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Research Groups

Vaccine-preventable diseases

carmen_grup_provisional

Coordinators of the group

  • Carmen Muñoz-Almagro

The human species' first contact with many microorganisms takes place in childhood, when children have not been infected and have not developed the disease. Vaccination in early ages of life has proven to be an effective tool in the fight against infectious diseases. In order to evaluate the best vaccination strategies in a specific population, a good molecular characterisation of the microorganisms circulating in the respective community is essential since microorganisms diversify genetically to adapt themselves as well as possible to a specific environment.

Our research is divided into two lines of action: (1) epidemiologic surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases, and (2) diagnostic innovation.

The general goal of the first line is the molecular epidemiologic surveillance of three pathologies with a significant rate of occurrence among children: pneumococcal disease, whooping cough and meningococcal disease.

  • Evaluation of conjugate vaccines in the prevention of pneumococcal disease.
  • Host-pathogen interaction in the development of invasive diseases produced by pathobionts such as S. pneumoniae.

With respect to the infectious disease diagnostic line, the new isothermal molecular expansion techniques allow the development of molecular devices in point-of-care format without manipulation by the user. These techniques are valuable tools in the optimisation of processes in both the outpatient and inpatient settings, in public healthcare as well as in the care of individual patients. Additionally, photonics-based technology allows the development of high-precision automated optical devices, significantly improving the sensitivity of today's microscopes.

The general goal is to improve the diagnosis and characterisation of paediatric infectious diseases by means of sensitive, specific, rapid, simple and low-cost techniques.