General Description The MAD Lab research team at TLS Foundation started activities in 2018 thanks to a 2.5 million euros ERC Advanced Grant focused on anti-microbial resistance and has grown quickly thanks to various funding sources received for tackling different health challenges (Shigella, Klebsiella pneumoniae and, more recently, coronavirus SARS-CoV-2). The Lab has consolidated skills in the identification and production of monoclonal antibodies that can be tested in vitro against bacteria and viruses.
Research Activities The MAD Lab is focused on different research projects:
ERC vAMRes (Vaccines as a remedy against Anti-Microbial Resistance) Project - "Isolation and screening of human monoclonal antibodies against AMR for therapy and for discovery of novel vaccine antigens" aims, through isolation of natural antibodies and identification of the recognised antigens, at developing vaccines able to defeat Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gonococcus), Streptococcus pneumoniae (Pneumococcus) and Escherichia coli pathogenic strains, thanks to the application of advanced technologies to Reverse Vaccinology developed by Dr. Rino Rappuoli (Principal Investigator of the vAMRes Project) at the end of '90s and now proposed again with a 2.0 approach. ERC EUROPEAN GRANT - Duration: 5 years; Starting date: November 2018; Amount: 2.5 Million Euros.
ShiMabs Project - "Human monoclonal antibodies against Shigella (ShiMabs), for therapy and vaccine acceleration" aims at isolating therapeutic monoclonal antibodies against different strains of Shigella, a bacterium responsible for bowel infections, especially in children in the poorest areas of the world. WELLCOME TRUSTGRANT - Duration: 3 years; Starting date: March 2021; Amount: more than 4 million Euros.
MabCo19 Project, started in collaboration with INMI Spallanzani, is focused on the discovery and development of human monoclonal antibodies against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, from blood of recovering/recovered patients, with the aim of using them for prophylactic/therapeutic purposes and as molecular baits for the discovery of vaccine antigens. The experimental approach followed is called Reverse Vaccinology 2.0, which represents the evolution of the first Reverse Vaccinology strategy optimized by Dr. Rino Rappuoli. FUNDS: started in March 2020, within the C.Re.Me.P. (Regional Centre for Precision Medicine) Project funded by the Tuscany Region and funds from Achilles Vaccines under the EU Malaria Fund
New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase-producing (NDM) Klebsiella pneumoniae.The project deals with the isolation of human monoclonal antibodies from patients who recovered from NDM-producing K. pneumoniae infection and, by using an innovative high-throughput imaging platform and deep learning algorithms for image analysis, characterize thousands of mAbs to find the most potent ones. The overarching goal of this project is to identify broadly protective mAbs against highly virulent K. pneumoniae strains, thus providing a therapeutic solution to NDM K. pneumoniae infections. C.Re.Me.P. Funds (Tuscany Region) - Duration: 2 years; Starting date: December 2019.