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Infectious Diseases Unit

Description of Research Activity 

This unit covers different research fields, including microbiology, immunology, and epidemiology. Cellular and molecular biology methods are used to characterize animal pathogens, including zoonotic ones, and to investigate interactions between pathogens, their hosts and vectors. On the other hand, recombinant technology is used to develop diagnostic tests, especially ELISA tests, for the surveillance and the characterization of animal diseases. Moreover, epidemiological techniques, mathematical modeling, as well as computational and molecular epidemiology approaches are used to better understand diseases’ dynamics and risk factors at the population level.

In details, we are currently involved in projects regarding:

  • Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of pathogenic and commensal E. coli, with particular reference to virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance.
  • Occurrence and dissemination of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL)-producing E. coli, focusing on new emerging epidemiological clones (e.g. ST131).
  • Antibacterial activity of composites (e.g. chitosan-silver) and honey-based biomaterials against representative Gram positive and Gram negative strains.
  • Development of biomolecular methods for the identification of causal agent of Proventricular Dilatation Disease of psittacines.
  • Genetic and pathogenic analysis of beak and feather disease virus (BFDV) isolated in Italy from African grey parrots.
  • Molecular detection and genotyping of BFDV, Herpes-virus, Chlamydia psittaci in free-living wild birds from South America.
  • Genetic and antigenic characterization of Small Ruminant Lentivirus strains and evaluation of hosts’ innate immunity mechanisms.
  • Identification and characterization of immunodominant proteins of ruminants herpesviruses (Caprine, Bovine and Bubaline herpesvirus), pestivirus (Bovine Viral Diarrhea virus 1, 2 and 3), flaviviruses (Tick-borne Encephalitis, West Nile and USUTU viruses) and Mycoplasma agalactiae and M. meleagridis.
  • Development of recombinant antigens for serological diagnostic in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems.
  • Development and application of phylogenetic methods for describing and understanding RNA viruses evolution.
  • Analyses of New Generation Sequencing data from both eukaryotic and prokaryotic genomes
  • Tropical animal health and production, and public health in the less developed countries of the (sub-) tropics, with special reference to Africa.
  • Study of the transmission cycles and of the spatial and temporal trends of vector-borne diseases, with particular reference to tick-borne infections (Lyme borreliosis, Rickettsiosis).
  • Application of mathematical modeling and network sciences to the eco-epidemiology of animal and zoonotic pathogens.
  • Application of GIS approaches and spatial statistic to the epidemiology of infectious diseases.
  • Use of social science techniques/approach in infectious disease research (i.e. zoonoses and avian influenza)


Staff of the Unit

Susanna CERRUTI SOLA Full Professor susanna.cerruti@unito.it
Sergio ROSATI Full Professor sergio.rosati@unito.it
Luigi BERTOLOTTI Associate Professor luigi.bertolotti@unito.it
Alessandro MANNELLI  Associate Professor alessandro.mannelli@unito.it
Patrizia NEBBIA Associate Professor  patrizia.nebbia@unito.it
Daniele DE MENEGHI Assistant Professor danieledemeneghi@unito.it
Elena GREGO Assistant Professor elena.grego@unito.it
Patrizia ROBINO Assistant Professor patrizia.robino@unito.it
Laura TOMASSONE Assistant Professor laura.tomassone@unito.it
Margherita PROFITI Technician margherita.profiti@unito.it
Maria Cristina STELLA Technician mariacristina.stella@unito.it


Last update: 07/08/2015 10:36
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