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About me

Federico Iovino is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology at the Karolinska Institutet focusing on bacterial meningitis. He received his PhD in Medical Microbiology from the University of Groningen (The Netherlands) in 2013 before joining MTC for his postdoc.


Dec.2015 -   Postdoctoral Researcher

Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Dec.2013-Nov.2015  Postdoctoral Fellow (2 years scholarship)

Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology

Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Feb.-May 2010  Visiting PhD student

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (Texas, USA)

Apr.2009-Nov.2013  PhD student

Department of Medical Microbiology

University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands

Oct.2008  Internship as PhD candidate

Department of Virology

Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

PhD position offered which I declined in favor of the PhD position in Groningen


2013  PhD in Medical Microbiology (University of Groningen, The Netherlands).

2008  Master in Experimental and Applied Biology, Class of Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences (University of Pavia, Italy).

2006  Bachelor in Biological Sciences, Class of Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences (University of Pavia, Italy).

Research description

Biology of Streptococcus pneumoniae as cause of bacterial meningitis: Identification and characterization of the virulence factors that enable the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and cause meningitis.

Study of new meningitis therapies: Development of new therapeutic strategies to block the interaction of Streptococcus pneumoniae with the blood-brain barrier preventing the occurrence of meningitis.

Invasive pneumococcal disease vaccine development: Study of the immunogenicity of membrane vesicles released by Streptococcus pneumoniae as new vaccine candidate against invasive pneumococcal disease.

Microglial early sensing of invading pathogens: Study of how microglia, the macrophages of the brain, are able to sense the presence of bacteria when pathogens are still within the blood-brain barrier vasculature and not yet in the brain.

Nanotechnology to study host-pathogen interaction: Study of how flame-derived nanoparticles can be used as fluorescent dye to study bacterial interaction with the host using live-cell imaging (Collaboration with Dr. Georgios Sotiriou, MTC Department, Karolinska Institutet).


Teaching portfolio

Biomedicine Bachelor Programme

Coordinator Lecturer and Teacher of the Bacteriology and Bacteriology Lab Courses (Infection and Immunity).


Medical School

Teacher of Medical Microbiology.


Academic honours, awards and prizes

Research Grants

2018  Petrus and Augusta Hedlund Foundation Grant for Medical Research

           HKK Kronprinsessan Lovisa Association for Child Care

           Stiftelsen Längmanska Kulturfonden Grant in Medicine

           Karolinska Institutet Research Foundation Grant (Pediatrics)

           Karolinska Institutet Research Foundation Grant (Medical Research)

2017  Jeansson Foundation Grant for Medical Research

          Åke Wiberg Foundation Grant in Medicine

2016  Karolinska Institutet for Doctoral Education (KID) Grant


Travel Grants           

2012  European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID)


Fellowships and Awards

2013  Jan Kornelis de Cock-Stichting Research Grant for PhD students

2010  Boehringer Ingelheim Grant

Used as fellowship for the period as visiting PhD student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio during February-May 2010 (San Antonio, Texas, USA).


Academic distinctions

2014  SpotLight of Infection & Immunity (peer-review international journal)

The manuscript “F. Iovino et al., Infection & Immunity. 82: 3555-66 (2014)” selected by the editorial board as article of significant interest.


Immunomodulatory Effects of Pneumococcal Extracellular Vesicles on Cellular and Humoral Host Defenses
Codemo M, Muschiol S, Iovino F, Nannapaneni P, Plant L, Wai Sn, et al
mBio 2018;9(2):-

Receptor Blockade: A Novel Approach to Protect the Brain From Pneumococcal Invasion
Iovino F, Thorsdottir S, Henriques-normark B
The Journal of infectious diseases 2018;218(3):476-484

pIgR and PECAM-1 bind to pneumococcal adhesins RrgA and PspC mediating bacterial brain invasion
Iovino F, Engelen-lee Jy, Brouwer M, Van De Beek D, Van Der Ende A, Valls Seron M, et al
The Journal of experimental medicine 2017;214(6):1619-1630

How Does Streptococcus pneumoniae Invade the Brain?
Iovino F, Seinen J, Henriques-normark B, Van Dijl Jm
Trends in microbiology 2016;24(4):307-315

Pneumococcal meningitis is promoted by single cocci expressing pilus adhesin RrgA
Iovino F, Hammarlof Dl, Garriss G, Brovall S, Nannapaneni P, Henriques-normark B

Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, a putative receptor for the adhesion of Streptococcus pneumoniae to the vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier
Iovino F, Molema G, Bijlsma Jj
Infection and immunity 2014;82(9):3555-66

Streptococcus pneumoniae Interacts with pIgR expressed by the brain microvascular endothelium but does not co-localize with PAF receptor
Iovino F, Molema G, Bijlsma Jj
PloS one 2014;9(5):e97914-

The proteasome-ubiquitin system is required for efficient killing of intracellular Streptococcus pneumoniae by brain endothelial cells
Iovino F, Gradstedt H, Bijlsma Jj
mBio 2014;5(4):e00984-14

Interactions between blood-borne Streptococcus pneumoniae and the blood-brain barrier preceding meningitis
Iovino F, Orihuela Cj, Moorlag He, Molema G, Bijlsma Jj
PloS one 2013;8(7):e68408-

Signalling or binding: the role of the platelet-activating factor receptor in invasive pneumococcal disease
Iovino F, Brouwer Mc, Van De Beek D, Molema G, Bijlsma Jj
Cellular microbiology 2013;15(6):870-81

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