Virology and Innate Immunity

Group: Virology and Innate Immunity

Acronym: VII

Registry number: C25/0621

School/Centre: PHARMACY


  • NISTAL VILLÁN, ESTANISLAO (Main researcher)
  • Llinares Pinel, Francisco
  • Cruz Varona, Alejandra

Research thematic areas:

1. Virology and oncolytic viruses

2. Innate immunity

3. Bacteria of human pathogenic interest    

UNESCO Code: 2414.91, 2420.08, 2420.95, 2412.87


Interferon, Innate Immunityinnata, Factors of Antiviral Restrictions, Virus, Oncolytic Viruses, Host Virus Interaction, Bacterial Viral Coinfection

Relevant characteristics of the research group (description of the group's activity):

The Virology and Innate Immunity group (VII) is oriented to deepen the knowledge of the mechanisms that govern the innate response to viral infections. In this response, the molecular mechanisms that detect an infection, as well as the signalling cascades that lead to the expression of the genes that encode proteins and activate the defence mechanisms in infected cells, are decisive in the initial control of infections. 

One of the main mechanisms determining such response is the activation of the production cascade of type I interferons (IFNs) such as IFN-β. Despite the knowledge of the canonical mechanisms that control this induction, there are aspects that require a deeper understanding, as well as new ways of inducing this antiviral response that have not been elucidated. With our work we aim to unravel them. In particular, the trained immune response is one of the mechanisms that determine the level of response to second infections. Our group is working to understand how influenza virus infections condition trained immunity to subsequent bacterial superinfections.

Another aspect of our work is aimed at improving cancer immunotherapy by using mechanisms that induce the innate immune response, specifically by using oncolytic viruses. Their use in the treatment of experimental models that are difficult to cure can be used for the direct destruction of cancer cells, as well as for the stimulation of the adaptive immune response that induces an immune strategy in the organism to fight a tumour both where it initially appears and where it establishes a metastasis.