Experimental techniques of manipulation of innate immune signaling.

A one-week on-site advance practical workshop will be organized in Dublin to instruct trainees in different techniques useful to determine whether a given pathogen manipulates innate immune signaling cascades at the intracellular level. Trainees will receive practical training on the following state-of-the-art approaches:

• Bioinformatics complemented by biochemical approaches coupled to mass spectrometry to identify pathogen molecules that antagonise host receptors sensing infections (PRRs)
• Generation of stable cell models (epithelial and macrophage-like) which express PRRs or shRNA targeting PRRs and their signalling pathways, which will be suitable to test innate responses to pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites)
• Development of efficient transfection protocols for primary immune cells including dendritic cells, macrophages and bone marrow derived macrophages.

Advanced topics in innate immune signalling

Innate immune signalling pathways underpin the intersection between immunology, microbiology and cell biology, yet often researchers within these three areas have an impoverished understanding of how these pathways operate, especially because there has been rapid developments in this field over the past five years. This workshop is a unique opportunity to provide an up to date, short and focused course to network participants which will address this shortcoming and give confidence to early stage researchers in approaching and investigating these pathways.

Training Objectives:

-Become competent in understanding innate immune signalling pathways that underpin host-pathogen interactions
-Develop an understanding of the methods employed in signalling analysis
-Develop poster and oral presentation skills.
-Develop confidence and ability in communicating research topics to the general public.

Animal models in inflammation, animal care and animal imaging.

The main objective of this unit will be to provide trainees competence on animal techniques and experimental models useful for inflammatory and infectious diseases. Major part of the unit will be laboratory animal care course (category B, according to FELASA) with final exam providing the participants with a GV-SOLAS certificate (equivalent to FELASA certificate).

The course will take place in Vienna. The certificate allows (in the European law) the owner to perform standard experiments (e.g. infection studies) involving small laboratory animals (i.e. mice). The course will be organized by MPFL in collaboration with the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna who is certified for such training.

The fellows will also receive practical training in imaging of small animals including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and positron electron tomography (PET) in the Central Support Facilities at the Campus Vienna Biocenter. Trainees will learn how to apply these techniques to understand in vivo inflammatory responses upon infection.

Animal models in inflammation and infection.

Inflammatory and infectious diseases, arising usually from either insufficient or exacerbated immune responses, have been in recent years increasingly studied using animal models that employ gene-targeted mice. Without doubt, this approach has improved our understanding of human disorders. However, in order to obtain a more comprehensive knowledge about the human diseases that may at some point result in novel treatments a more integrative approach is needed. The phenotype of animals used in infectious and inflammatory disease models should be examined by using both targeted experiments as well as high throughput and systems biology methods. Such an integrative research is still underdeveloped and there is clearly a need to facilitate its further expansion. The workshop will address all these issues by presenting experimental models for inflammatory and infectious diseases, regulatory mechanisms controlling gene expression (including epigenetics and regulatory RNAs), and high throughput and system biology approaches covering gene expression profiling, posttranslational modifications and the metabolome.

Training Objectives:

- Become acquainted with the complexity of infection and inflammation.
- Learn to design broad range experimental solutions addressing infectious diseases.
- Develop abilities to extract the essentials from complex experimental analyses.

Identification and functional characterization of innate immune cells in mucosal tissues.

To gain insight into the mechanisms that mediate health and disease in mucosal tissues, such as the lung and intestine, it is important to be able to directly identify and analyze tissues and their cellular components cells in situ and ex vivo. The complex interactions between various cell types and the environment in mucosal tissues cannot be modelled effectively in vitro, thus in vivo animal models are required.

However the techniques required to extract cells from mucosal tissues are both laborious and often require extensive optimization by the investigator, often dissuading trainees from attacking such work. To circumvent such issues an advanced unit (10 days) will be organized in Lausanne by the academic partner EPFL and the industrial partner Preclin on the analysis of mucosal innate immune responses. The focus will be on in vivo and ex vivo analysis using animal models and will therefore complement the unit on animal models.

The TU will also include a theoretical component providing an overview of the key cell types, and their functions, found in mucosal tissues.

Mucosal immunology Ecoles polytechniques fédérales de Lausane.

To gain insight into the mechanisms that mediate health and disease in mucosal tissues, and to discuss cutting edge questions, and appropriate techniques/tools for addressing these questions. The course will also provide valuable know how as to the technical approaches and problems associated with investigating mucosal infections and immune responses By the end of the workshop the trainees should have a theoretical overview and practical experience on in vivo mucosal immunology for both lung and intestinal tissues under steady state or inflammatory conditions.

Training Objectives:

-Understand the specific nature of innate immune responses at mucosal surfaces
-Acquire knowledge in cutting edge technical approaches used In the analysis of mucosal immune responses
-Develop confidence in forming novel scientific theories and discussing opinions in an open forum

Know-how transfer and entrepreneurship.

Creating a biotech company is one of the options for the professional development of highly qualified scientists in Europe. Biotechnology is one of the most dynamic sectors in terms of job creation and possibilities of entrepreneurship, specially taking into account the limited capacity of academia to absorb all the skilled researchers that each year complete their training programmes. The main objective of this unit is to provide trainees with general knowledge of the process of company creation in the European biotechnology sector.

A 3-day network workshop organized by the associated industrial partner ParcBit in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) will instruct INBIONET fellows on company creation, development of a business plan and capturing investors attention. This course will also include a practical demonstration of how to use specific resources for SME at European level for partner search and Technological exchange.

A workshop on managing biotechnological companies.

This workshop will address the main aspects related to creating a biotechnolgy company, from the legal to the financial, to the business models, and negotiations of contracts with large corporations. Besides, different innovation policies and agencies across Europe will be detailed to orientate researchers in their first steps. A specific hands-on session on how to write effective grant application to get funding for a biotech company will take place during the workshop.

Training objectives:

- Acquire knowledge of the process of company creation in the European biotechnology sector
- Develop competence in company creation, development of a business plan and capturing investors attention.
- Become competent in writing project proposals.
- Acquire skills on writing patent applications.
- Become competent in negotiating contracts with larger companies.