Principal Investigator and Group Leader
In my lab we investigate host-pathogen interactions during bacterial meningitis pathogenesis.
Dr. Federico Iovino has studied Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences, bachelor and master, at the University of Pavia in Italy. After his undergraduate studies, he moved to the University Medical Center of Groningen, The Netherlands, to perform his PhD in Medical Microbiology under the supervision of Prof. Jan Maarten van Dijl and Prof. Grietje Molema studying how Streptococcus pneumoniae interact with endothelial cells causing invasive pneumococcal disease, in particular meningitis. During his PhD in 2010 Federico has been visiting PhD student in the lab of Prof. Carlos Orihuela in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, USA. His PhD studies on pneumococcal meningitis pathogenesis have been published by international microbiology and infectious diseases journals such as Cellular Microbiology, Infection and Immunity and mBio.
After his PhD graduation in November 2013, Dr. Federico Iovino immediately started his postdoc in December 2013 at the Karolinska Institutet in the laboratory of Prof. Birgitta Henriques-Normark where he continued my studies on pneumococcal meningitis. His postdoc studies have been published in leading international journals like The Journal of Clinical Investigation, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, The Journal of Infectious Diseases and Trends in Microbiology.
Dr. Federico Iovino was awarded in November 2018 with the 4-year funding for Assistant Professor position by the Karolinska Institutet Board of Research. Federico has started his own research team within the Unit of Prof. Birgitta Henriques-Normark until December 2020; Federico is one of the 2020 awardee of Starting Grant in Medicine and Health from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), and in January 2021 he started his own lab at the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet, his group conducts research focused on studying how bacterial pathogens after translocation across the blood-brain barrier interact with microglia, the primary immune sentinels of the brain, and neurons, since neuronal damage is linked to many neurological disorders caused by bacterial meningitis.
The Iovino Lab
Alumni (former members)
- Mahebali Tabusi, Undergraduate student (Biomedicine Master Program), and Research assistant
- Maria Lysandrou, Undergraduate student (Biomedicine Bachelor Program)
- Mariana Oliveira, Undergraduate student (Biomedicine Bachelor Program)
- Matas Grabauskas, Undergraduate student (Biomedicine Bachelor Program)
Neurological sequelae caused by meningitis: Interaction between pneumococci and neurons
Neurons are the main cell component of the brain, and mediate many functions controlled by the brain. Neurological sequelae caused by bacterial infection of the brain occur in 50-70% of meningitis survivors and are often related to neuronal damage. Our goal is to study how pneumococci can interact with neurons, invade and kill neuronal cells.
Publications by the Iovino Group:
PLOS Pathogens, 2021
Blockade of pneumococcal interaction with neurons, a novel therapeutic strategy to prevent neuronal damage post-bacterial meningitis
Following up our recent discovery that ß-actin mediates pneumococcal binding to neuronal plasma membrane, we are now investigating novel approaches to block the interaction of S. pneumoniae with neuronal ß-actin to protect neurons during bacterial meningitis pathogenesis.
Study the role of neurons as "helper cells" in brain´s immunity towards bacterial infections
Neurons, as well as other eukaryotic cells, use the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) and autophagy to degrade mis-folded proteins. Brain endothelial cells were previously shown to use the UPS system to kill intracellular pneumococci (https://journals.asm.org/doi/10.1128/mBio.00984-14). We want to investigate how neurons can use the UPS and autophagy to eliminate intracellular pneumococci and protect themselves from bacterial infections during meningitis pathogenesis.
The interplay between pneumococci and microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain
Study the biology of how microglia sense bacterial pathogens and initiate phagocytosis and/or neuroinflammatory process during meningitis pathogenesis; Study how pneumococci in the brain can survive and grow within microglia.
Publications by the Iovino Group:
Frontiers in Microbiology, 2019
Study the pattern of entry of the brain by blood-borne S. pneumoniae
Using our bacteremia-derived meningitis mouse model and whole brain microscopy imaging, we want to identify what are the brain regions/lobes that are mostly affected by pneumococcal invasion upon penetration of the blood-brain barrier.
The relationship between bacterial meningitis and dementia
Many molecular processes, like the injury of neuronal cells and the neuro-inflammation process, are common in both bacterial meningitis and neurodegenerative diseases. We want to investigate to what extent the neuronal damage caused by a bacterial infection of the brain can increase the risk for onset of dementia, such as Parkinson´s disease.
Publications by the Iovino Group:
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 2021
Biomedicine Bachelor Program - Immunology and Microbiology Course
Bacteriology. Role: Course Coordinator and Lecturer
Bacteriology Laboratory. Role: Course Coordinator and Lecturer
Biomedicine Master Program - Frontiers in Biomedicine Course
Role: Examining teacher
Study Program of Medicine - Disease and Illness Course
Medical Microbiology. Role: Laboratory Teacher and Lecturer
Infection Immunology. Role: Seminar teacher
2013 PhD in Medical Microbiology (University of Groningen, The Netherlands).
2008 Master in Experimental and Applied Biology, Class of Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences (University of Pavia, Italy).
2006 Bachelor in Biological Sciences, Class of Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences (University of Pavia, Italy).
Academic honours, awards and prizes
Total number of publications on Pubmed: 23
Total number of last-author and corresponding-author publications: 5
Total number of first-author publications: 15
Total citations: 425 (Google Scholar); H-index: 11 (Google Scholar); Total Impact Points: 138,11
2021: Magnus Bergvall Foundation; Stiftelsen för Gamla Tjänarinnor
2020: Vetenskapsrådet Starting Grant Medicine & Health; Bjarne Ahlström Foundation Award in Clinical Neurology; Karolinska Institutet Research Grant Foundation; Clas Groschinsky Foundation; HKH Kronprinsessan Lovisa Association for Child Care; Magnus Bergvall Foundation; Tore Nilsson Foundation
2019: StratNeuro Start-up grant; Petrus and Augusta Hedlund Foundation; Åke Wiberg Foundation; Clas Groschinsky Foundation; Loo and Hans Osterman; Foundation (Geriatrics); Fredrik and Ingrid Thuring Foundation
2018: Petrus and Augusta Hedlund Foundation; Jeansson Foundation; Åke Wiberg Foundation; HKH Kronprinsessan Lovisa Association for Child Care; Stiftelsen Längmanska Kulturfonden; Karolinska Institutet Research Foundation (Pediatrics); Karolinska Institutet Research Grant Foundation; Fredrik and Ingrid Thuring Foundation
2017: Jeansson Foundation; Åke Wiberg Foundation
2016: Karolinska Institutet for Doctoral Education (KID) Grant (co-applicant)
Awards and Prizes
Bjarne Ahlström Minnesfonds pris 2020 for research in Clinical Neurology
International Journals: mBio; PLOS Pathogens; The International Journal of Medical Microbiology; Microbiology (Microbiology Society); Microbial Pathogenesis; Pathogens and Disease (FEMS); Virulence; Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology; Microorganisms MDPI; Biomedicines MDPI; Pathogens MDPI; Antibiotics MDPI; Infectious Disease Reports MDPI; Biomedicines MDPI; Journal of Innate Immunity; Current Research in Microbial Sciences; Infection and Drug Resistance; Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology; Cell Systems; Journal of Neuroinflammation; Brain Research; Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology; PLOS ONE.
Grant applications: UK Medical Research Council (MRC); CIISA grant call (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal).
Guest Editor at Vaccines MDPI (IF 4.086). Special Issues:
Topic Editor at Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology (IF 4.123). Research Topic:
Editor of the book on the subject Streptococcus pneumoniae, new volume for lab protocol based book series Methods in Molecular Biology, published by Springer.
Published book chapters (available on Pubmed):
Editor of the Section Clinical Infectious Diseases, part of the Encyclopedia of Infection and Immunity, published by Elsevier (scheduled publication September 2021).