IMMUNOLOGICAL, HAEMATOLOGICAL AND RHEUMATOLOGICAL SCIENCES


The PhD course on Immunological, Haematological and Rheumatological Sciences is aimed at strengthening the connection between areas of basic and clinical research in the fields of immunology, immunopathology, clinical immunology, haematology and rheumatology, and at promoting the transfer of knowledge derived from the bench to clinical applications by using integrated experimental approaches.

Immunology and Immunopathology

Coordinatore: Angela Santoni
telefono: +39 06 44340632

Faculty

Bernardini Giovanni Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Cerboni Cristina Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Cippitelli Marco Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Girelli Gabriella Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Gismondi Angela Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Santoni Angela Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Soriani Alessandra Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Zingoni Alessandra Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Galandrini Ricciarda Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale Pagina personale
Mainiero Fabrizio Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale
Morrone Stefania Dipartimento di Medicina Sperimentale
Ruco Luigi Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Molecolare
Stoppacciano Antonella Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Molecolare
Uccini Stefania Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Molecolare

External Institutions

Carsetti Rita Ospedale Bambino Gesù Roma
Nisticò Paola Istituto Regina Elena ( IFO-IRE) Roma

The activity of Immunology and Immunopathology curriculum is focused on a better understanding of the functions of the different immune cells, on the different signals and mediators underlying the immune response, on the molecular mechanisms regulating the activation and the development of the immune response, as well as on the role of histocompatibility antigens in the control of immune response.

Aims

These topics will be analysed through the study of mediators, receptors, and molecular pathways. In addition, the interactions between the immune system of the host and the mechanism of pathogenesis of infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria and fungi will be also taken into account. In particular, knowledges of natural and adaptive immune responses involved in the recognition and in the defensce mechanisms against the pathogen will be acquired. It will be also addressed tThe study of the major mechanisms of pathogenesis underlying autoimmune and lymphoproliferative diseases, immunodeficiencies and allergic reactions will also be addressed. Particular attention will be devoted to the study of host-tumour interactions based on an analysis of the molecular and genetic aspects that regulate this interaction. The student will acquire knowledge on the major experimental and clinical issues opened up by new therapeutic approaches to cancer (treatment with biological response modifiers such as cytokines or monoclonal antibodies, cell therapy and gene therapy, etc.). Finally, issues related to the experimental manipulation of the immune response will be examined in-depth. These research activities will be carried out within research projects in collaboration with national and international scientific institutions.

Research and study program

The Immunology and Immunopathology curriculum will cover the following topics:
1. Study of the functions of different immune cells, of the soluble mediators involved in the communication and amplification of immune responses as well as of the molecular mechanisms regulating their activation and differentiation. Particular attention will be given to the study of the innate immune lymphocytes (NK cells) and to the mechanisms that regulate leukocyte traffic in the lymphoid organs and in the peripheral tissues.
2. Study of the major pathogenetic mechanisms underlying autoimmune disorders (inflammatory diseases of the intestine, celiac disease, etc), primary immunodeficiencies (Wiskott Aldrich syndrome, hemophagocytic syndrome, WHIM syndrome, etc),and allergic reactions.
3. Study of the tumour-host interactions based on the analysis of the molecular aspects regulating this connection and of the experimental and clinical issues opened up by new immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer (cytokine therapies, monoclonal antibodies, cellular and gene therapies). In particular, attention will be focused on the understanding of the different mechanisms responsible for recognition of toumor cells of hematopoietic origin (myeloma, leukaemia, etc.) by innate immune responses.
4. Study of the interaction between the host immune system and infectious agents. The work will be aimed at investigating the mechanisms involved in the recognition and elimination of infected cells by cells of the innate and adaptive immune system. Immune evasion mechanisms adopted by infectious agents, including cytomegalovirus, HIV, etc. will be studied. Experimental procedures related to the manipulation of anti-viral and anti-tumoral immune responses will be also addressed.

Immunological, Haematological and Rheumatological Sciences - Clinical Immunology

Coordinatore: Massimo Fiorilli
telefono: +39 0649972031
Fax: +39 06 4463877

Faculty

Quinti Isabella Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Duse Marzia Pediatric Department
Fiorilli Massimo Dept. of Clinical Medicine
Mezzaroma Ivano Dept. of Clinical Medicine
Pisarri Simonetta Dept. of Clinical Medicine

External Institutions

Pantosti Annalisa National Institute of Healt (ISS)
Russo Giandomenico Institute of Dermathology “Immacolata” (IDI), Rome

The Clinical Immunology curriculum intends to train students capable of developing their own research line in various fields of Clinical Immunology, taking into account both pathogenic and clinical/therapeutic aspects.

Aims

Knowledge on interactions between immune system and infectious agents will be acquired, mainly using as a model primary immunodeficiencies diseases. To this end, the study of the genetic and immunological characteristics of primary immunodeficiencies , with particular emphasis on the common variable immunodeficiency (CVID) will be associated with the analysis of susceptibility to infection by different microorganisms. Doctoral students will have the opportunity to study the mechanisms by which some viruses, such as HCV and HIV, lead to an immune response dysregulation, inducing lymphoproliferative disorders or suppression of immune responses. With regard to lymphoproliferative disorders, particular attention will be given to the study of the pathogenic mechanisms and molecular characteristics of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma secondary to HCV infection and the Sézary syndrome. Finally, the role of B cells in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases will be also addressed.
Students will be able to acquire scientific knowledge and innovative technologies, developing their own original and independent research activity. The research will be performed in part on a basis of cooperation with Italian and foreign research centres.

Research and study program

The Clinical Immunology curriculum will cover the following areas of research:
1. Study of the cellular and genetic basis of primary immunodeficiencies, with particular attention given to the CVID. The immunological (B and T cell immunophenotyping, according to a pan European study), genetic (mutations of TACI and of other genes involved in CVID) and clinical characteristics (susceptibility to infections and presence of extra-infective pathologies) of patients, will be analyzed.
2. Study of innate CD21low B cells in HCV and HIV infections. The functional (anergy to proliferative stimuli), cellular (telomere-dependent replicative senescence) and molecular (expression of anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic genes) characteristics will be studied in a peculiar CD21low B cell population present in large amount in patients affected by HCV- or HIV -related mixed cryoglobulinemia.
3. Study of the pathogenetic molecular mechanisms of HCV-related lymphoma and Sézary syndrome. In particular, the role of genome modifications (analysis of single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs) and of gene expression in the evolution from a benign lymphoproliferation to a malignant lymphoma will be analyzed.
4. Study of the pathogenetic molecular mechanisms of the autoimmune diseases, with particular attention given to the regulation of the autoreactive innate B cells.
During the PhD course the opportunity to manage standard and advanced cellular technologies [i.e. cell cultures, immunocytofluorescence, cytofluorimetric analysis of nucleic acid hybridization (flow-FISH)] and molecular technologies [i.e. purification of nucleic acid, real-time PCR, microarray analysis, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)] biology will be offered.

Immunological, Haematological and Rheumatological Sciences -Haematology

Coordinatore: Roberto Foà
telefono: +39 06 85795753
Fax: +39 06 85795792

Faculty

Guarini Anna Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare
Alimena Giuliana Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Chiaretti Sabina Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Del Giudice Ilaria Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Foà Roberto Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Martelli Maurizio Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Mazzucconi Maria Gabriella Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Tafuri Agostino Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology
Testi Anna Maria Dept. of Cellular Biotechnologies and Haematology

The Haematology curriculum will be focused on the study of the different biological mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of acute and chronic haematological diseases of children and adults, and at the design of innovative therapeutic strategies

Aims

Essential to the student’s learning process will be the acquisition of the theoretical basis for the implementation of laboratory methods necessary for a modern characterization of the different haematological diseases. This is a prerequisite for the accomplishment of biological and clinical research programs in various fields of neoplastic and non-neoplastic haematology. The educational purpose to be achieved will be primarily directed towards a better characterization of both acute and chronic haematological malignancies (leukaemias, lymphomas, myelomas), and to a more precise diagnosis through the combined use of different and complementary technologies. This will result in the potential identification of markers of disease that have a predictive value of clinical response to therapy and, ultimately, a prognostic impact in order to design individualized treatment protocols based on identified biologically prognostic parameters. The integrated biological approach has already helped to set up a great bank of biological material (living cells, DNA, RNA, sera, protein extracts) for various haematologic malignancies at the Centre for Haematology of Rome. This allows to plan further scientific studies on selected and properly characterized patients, including: identification of new molecular-cytogenetic abnormalities, analysis of specific genes, expression of molecules involved in the mechanisms of immune-mediated tumour recognition, definition of genes as possible targets of therapeutic strategies, next-generation sequencing, etc.. The use of increasingly innovative drugs able to act selectively on specific molecular targets has opened new frontiers of targeted therapy that have already impacted on the natural history of several haematological disorders. New technologies open up additional scenarios of translational research as a synthesis between basic research and clinical applications. In this context, particular emphasis will be given to the design and implementation of innovative therapeutical protocols for patients with neoplastic and non-neoplastic haematological diseases. The primary goal of the PhD is to develop more advanced scientific projects in translational research aimed at an optimizedal and progressively more personalized management of patients with haematological disorders, including the progressive use of targeted therapies. The laboratories of phenotypic and functional Immunology, conventional and molecular cytogenetic, molecular biology, gene profiling, gene sequencing, cell culture, cell kinetics and apoptosis, signal transduction, genomics, haemostasis and thrombosis, etc. - and their tight integration with clinical care facilities ensure skillsthe necessaryinfrastructure and skills necessary to accomplish the objectives. Much research activities will be carried out in collaboration with various national and international research centres.

Research and study program

The Haematology curriculum will include the following research topics:
1. Biological characterization integrated with techniques of immunology, cytogenetics, molecular biology, DNA sequencing, gene profiling, minimal residual disease monitoring for a better diagnostic and prognostic characterization of acute and chronic haematological diseases, and to design individualized clinical follow-up.
2. Development of new immunotherapeutic approaches in onco-haematology.
3. Design of therapeutic strategies based on the progress of biological knowledge.
4. Translational research in haematology for a more personalised management of patients. In this context, particular emphasis will be given to the design of clinical trials within the GIMEMA (Gruppo Italiano Malattie EMatologiche dell’Adulto) network.
5. Use of techniques of whole genome sequencing to identify new genetic mutations in several acute and chronic haematological diseases, and in different stages of the disease.

Immunological, Haematological and Rheumatological Sciences - Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology

Coordinatore: Guido Valesini

Faculty

Alessandri Cristiano Dept. of Internal Medicine and Medical specialities
Di Franco Manuela Dept. of Internal Medicine and Medical specialities
Iagnocco Annamaria Dept. of Internal Medicine and Medical specialities
Misasi Roberta Dept. Experimental Medicine
Riccieri Valeria Dept. of Clinical and Medical applied therapy
valesini guido Dept. of Internal Medicine and Medical specialities

The Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology curriculum will be focused on the study of the different aspects of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of both systemic and local (joint, muscle, skin, etc.) rheumatic diseases

Aims

Essential in the education process of the student will be the acquisition of the theoretical basis for the implementation of laboratory methods needed to carry out research programs aimed at studying patients peripheral blood cells, serum, synovial membrane, synovial fluid, the cartilage and subchondral bone.

The student will also acquire knowledges on the relationship between the mechanisms of pathogenesis and the clinical signs of rheumatic diseases, linking the results of basic research with major clinical features of these diseases also through the use of appropriate instrumental methods (X-ray techniques, MRI, ultrasound, capillaroscopy, etc..) employed in Rheumatology.
It will be also of primary importance the therapeutic application of recent acquisitions on the pathogenesis of rheumatic diseases. Finally, the recent introduction into clinical practice of innovative drugs able to act selectively on different molecular targets has opened new frontiers in the field of pharmacology applied to rheumatology with many pharmacogenetic and pharmacoeconomic implications. These issues represent a further opportunity for integrating basic and translational research

Research and study program

The Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology curriculum will include the following research topics:

1. Study of cellular and molecular features of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including the analysis of the different cellular components (T and B lymphocytes, dendritic cells, NK cells, etc.) and mediators (cytokines, chemokines, growth factors and adhesion molecules) involved. Pathogenetic mechanisms concerning immune tolerance, clonal selection, immunoregulatory systems, production of autoantibodies, mechanisms of apoptosis and tissue damage will be investigated.
2. Study of anatomy and physiology of skeletal-muscle apparatus, of different imaging techniques used in Rheumatology, and of main biological markers of rheumatic diseases, including inflammatory indices, circulating autoantibodies, evaluation of metabolic parameters, synovial fluid analysis.
3. Evaluation of different clinical aspects of rheumatic diseases, diagnostic methodology and therapy, including innovative therapies. Particular emphasis will be given to the design and organization of controlled clinical trials, biometrics and social aspects of rheumatic diseases.