University of Salamanca (USAL)
The University of Salamanca (USAL, founded in 1218) is one of the three oldest universities in Europe, boasting a wide range of Faculties and Research Institutes in Sciences and Arts. Today, USAL offers a wide range of studies to about 26,000 pre-graduate and 2,600 post-graduate students per year. It contracts 3,200 researchers grouped in 64 University Departments, 16 Faculties, 10 University Schools and 12 Research Institutes, including the Institute for Biomedical Research (IBSAL) where basic, clinical and translational biomedical research activities of USAL, the University Hospital of Salamanca and the National Research Council (CSIC) are integrated in a Center of Excellence. USAL is recognized as one of the most outstanding Spanish Universities in both national and international rankings. In 2011, it was awarded the Campus of International Excellence status.
The USAL’s main contribution to the PERISCOPE project will be within WP5 that is clinical trials, biobanking, database management and bioinformatics. The team of Prof. A. Orfao has longstanding experience in the development (invention) of novel diagnostic tools, with a focus on high throughput multicolor flow cytometry and the design of novel software tools for flow cytometric diagnostics, including the development of novel (next generation) flow cytometry, innovative immune monitoring tools, etc. Over the last 8 years, Prof A.Orfao (together with Prof. J.J.M. van Dongen, MD, PhD) has supervised and guided the EuroFlow Consortium, which innovated flow cytometry. The EuroFlow-based innovations form the basis of the B-cell studies in WP5 of this project proposal, allowing for detailed analysis of leukocyte maturation pathways, including the dissection of the peripheral blood B-cell compartment into up to around 50 different B-cell subsets. The team aims to contribute the following: 1) Detailed EuroFlow-based dissection of blood B- and T-cell lymphocyte subsets: Education of the participating centers in the clinical vaccination studies, aiming at fully standardized procedures (including central data management) in all involved centers; 2) EuroFlow-based development of antigen/vaccine-specific B-cell studies: dissection of the vaccine-specific B-cells and their occurrence in the different B-cell subsets in relation to the type of vaccination response; 3) Purification of vaccine-specific B-cells from different B-cell subsets and analysis of their Ig repertoire by single cell analysis and by high throughput sequencing; 4) Vaccine-epitope mapping of serum antibodies, to understand their relation with the response to vaccination.
Prof. Alberto Orfao is Full Professor of Immunology, Principal Researcher and Subdirector of the Cancer Research Center, Subdirector of the "Biomolecular Characterization, Image and Bioinformatics Area” of NUCLEUS, Scientific Director of the Spanish National DNA Bank Carlos III and member of the executive board of the Biomolecular and Bioinformatics Resource Platform Carlos III. The group headed by Prof. Orfao is a translational research group, whose interests are mainly focused on the immune system, particularly in the phenotypic and genetic/molecular characterization of the (immune) microenvironment in several types of tumors and the alterations of the immune system in several pathologic conditions.