Leading research experts, donors and key partners came together to celebrate the impact to date of the Cambridge Institute of Therapeutic Immunology and Infectious Disease (CITIID), and to showcase the breadth of its current exciting scientific research at a symposium held on Thursday 13th April.
CITIID is a flagship Research Institute located within the Jeffrey Cheah Biomedical Centre (JCBC), but also includes researchers based in the Molecular Immunity Unit (embedded in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology) and within Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
The institute opened in September 2019, but its conception dates back to 2011 as part of plans for a purpose-built building, which led to a Research Partnership Infrastructure Fund being awarded in 2014. Further funding was provided by the Wolfson Foundation (2015) and Jeffrey Cheah Foundation Gift (2017), with partnerships secured with AstraZeneca, GSK and the Wellcome Trust amongst others. Construction for the JCBC commenced in 2015 and was completed in 2018/19.
The vision of CITIID is to leverage its unique, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities (JCBC houses the largest concentration of containment Level 3 laboratories in any UK academic institution), its positioning on the thriving Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and its world leading expertise in understanding and managing infectious and inflammatory diseases, to centrally coordinate responses to disease areas of future global importance. These broad research areas align to CITIID’s strategic goals: to confront pandemics with a focus on anti-microbial resistance, to develop a platform to improve our ability to perform human translational immunity and strengthen immune-mediated and infectious disease, and to develop our thinking on the links to climate and immunity. CITIID made a major contribution to the University’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic with its scientists and clinicians and a range of collaborators from across the UK and beyond, including the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource. When the pandemic struck in early 2020, just three months after welcoming its staff through its doors, CITIID’s teams rapidly pivoted their numerous research project foci, mobilising point-of-care, rapid diagnostic testing for patients at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) NHS Foundation Trust, as well as developing tests for frontline healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.
“Rather than a diversion, which is what I feared when the pandemic struck, this actually provided the Institute with a really solid foundation, enabling us to forge links with key partners, stimulate our collaborative ethos and make an immediate contribution to infection prevention and patient care.”Prof Ken Smith
As the world emerged from the pandemic, CITIID’s academics turned their focus upon numerous infection and immunology strategic themes and global impact research programmes, showcased throughout the Symposium.
One such theme is the Cambridge Human Immunology Platform, enabling the creation of a large, comparable immune phenotyping data resource, which will enrich subsequent experiments. This will enable CITIID’s researchers to study immunity in patients, allowing a deep exploration of the fundamental biological aspects of immunology and translation.
CITIID’s global collaborative funded programmes are spearheaded by three major partnerships. These are the Centre for Translational Stem Cell Biology in Hong Kong, within the Centre for Life sciences in National University of Singapore (NUS), and an emerging involvement with the International Vaccines Institute (IVI) based in Seoul, South Korea, which runs several programmes in Africa.
The Opening Symposium programme of talks showcased the breadth and ambition of CITIID’S Strategic Aims:
• Ken Smith “CITIID – a new focus for Immunity and Infection”
• Paul Lehner “Post-integration genome immunity”
• Virginia Pedicord “Harnessing the Capabilities of the Gut Microbiome to Modulate Immunity”
• Lalita Ramakrishnan “Tuberculosis: lessons from the zebrafish for human treatment”
• Arthur Kaser “A purely biochemical checkpoint of autoimmunity and auto-inflammation”
• Rona Smith “Vasculitis: ideas to impact”
• Ken Smith “Predicting and reprogramming immune outcomes”
• Majdi Osman “CITIID in Africa: a growing partnership”
• Menna Clatworthy “Tissue Immunity – a systems immunology approach”
• PhD/Early Career Researchers “Fast Talks”
o Bo Meng
o Isobel Ramsay
o Yanci Liu
o Brian Ortmann
Closing the Symposium, Patrick Maxwell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Cambridge, said:
“I’m delighted to be here today to celebrate CITIID’s third year. The Institute is doing fantastically well, demonstrated by the breadth of today’s talks in which we have heard from the most detailed revelation of molecular mechanism, through to really practical interventions in less privileged countries than ourselves that will save lives. I’m delighted to wish CITIID a happy birthday!”
If you would like to view a recording of the full days Talks, please contact: email@example.com