I have studied Biological Sciences, bachelor and master, at the University of Pavia in Italy. After my undergraduate studies, I moved to the University Medical Center of Groningen, The Netherlands, to perform my PhD in Medical Microbiology under the supervision of Prof. Jan Maarten van Dijl and Prof. Grietje Molema studying how Streptococcus pneumoniae interact with endothelial cells causing invasive pneumococcal disease, in particular meningitis. During my PhD in 2010 I have been visiting PhD student in the lab of Prof. Carlos Orihuela in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, USA.
After my PhD graduation in November 2013, I immediately started my postdoc in December 2013 at the Karolinska Institutet in the laboratory of Prof. Birgitta Henriques-Normark where I continued my studies on pneumococcal meningitis. My postdoc studies have been published in leading international journals like The Journal of Clinical Investigation, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, The Journal of Infectious Diseases and Trends in Microbiology.
I am currently Assistant Professor at the Karolinska Institutet. My team conducts research focused on studying how bacterial pathogens after translocation across the blood-brain barrier interact with the different cell types of the brain, in particular astrocytes, pericytes, neurons and microglia.
The Bacterial Meningitis Research Team
Federico Iovino, Assistant Professor
Sigrún Thórsdóttir, PhD student
Tabusi Mahebali, Research Assistant, Undergraduate student (Biomedicine Master Programme)
Mariana Oliveira, Undergraduate student (Biomedicine Bachelor Programme)
IVIS-SpectrumCT In Vivo Imaging Core Laboratory
I am also the manager of the new IVIS-SpectrumCT In Vivo Imaging Core Laboratory in the BSL2 area of KMB Animal Facility. For more information please visit the website below:
2013-2018 Postdoc, group of Prof. Birgitta Henriques-Normark (MTC Department, Karolinska Institutet)
2013 PhD degree Medical Microbiology (University of Groningen, Netherlands).
2008 Master degree Experimental and Applied Biology, Class of Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences (University of Pavia, Italy).
2006 Bachelor degree Biological Sciences, Class of Human Biology and Biomedical Sciences (University of Pavia, Italy).
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.
The Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2016
The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 2017
Development of new meningitis therapies to protect the brain towards bacterial invasion
Development of new therapeutic strategies to block the interaction of Streptococcus pneumoniae with the blood-brain barrier preventing the occurrence of meningitis in hosts without underlying diseases and in immunocompromised hosts (brain cancer models).
The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2018
The interplay between pneumococci and microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain
Study the biology of how microglia sense bacterial pathogens and initiate phagocytosis and/or neuroinflammatory process during meningitis pathogenesis; Study how pneumococci in the brain can survive and grow within microglia.
Frontiers in Microbiology, 2019
Neurological sequelae caused by meningitis: Interaction between pneumococci and neurons
Neurons are the main cell component of the brain, and mediate many functions controlled by the brain. Neurological sequelae caused by bacterial infection of the brain occur in 50-70% of meningitis survivors and are often related to neuronal damage. Our goal is to study how pneumococci can interact with neurons, invade and kill neuronal cells.
Role of astrocytes and pericytes in the passage of bacteria from the blood-brain barrier endothelium to the brain tissue
Astrocytes and pericytes are in close contact with the BBB endothelium. Our preliminary data show that bacteria exiting from the blood vessels are in close contact with astrocytes and pericytes, suggesting that these two cell types can function as a bridge for the bacteria to reach the brain tissue.
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).
Biomedicine Bachelor Programme
Coordinator Lecturer and Teacher of the Bacteriology and Bacteriology Lab Courses (Infection and Immunity).
Teacher of Medical Microbiology.
Academic honours, awards and prizes
2019 Petrus and Augusta Hedlund Foundation Grant for Medical Research
2018 Petrus and Augusta Hedlund Foundation Grant for Medical Research
Jeansson Foundation Grant for Medical Research
Åke Wiberg Foundation Grant in Medicine
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)
Fredrik and Ingrid Thuring Foundation
2017 Jeansson Foundation Grant for Medical Research
Åke Wiberg Foundation Grant in Medicine
2016 Karolinska Institutet for Doctoral Education (KID) Grant
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.
The International Journal of Medical Microbiology; Microbiology (Microbiology Society); Microbial Pathogenesis; Pathogens and Disease (FEMS); Virulence; Cell Systems; Journal of Neuroinflammation; Brain Research; Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology; Infection and Drug Resistance; PLOS ONE.
Invited editor of the book on the subject Streptococcus pneumoniae, new volume for lab protocol based book series Methods in Molecular Biology, published by Springer Nature.
Published book chapters (available on Pubmed):
Pneumococcal meningitis is promoted by single cocci expressing pilus adhesin RrgA
JOURNAL OF CLINICAL INVESTIGATION 2016;126(8):2821-6
Platelet endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1, a putative receptor for the adhesion of Streptococcus pneumoniae to the vascular endothelium of the blood-brain barrier
Infection and immunity 2014;82(9):3555-66
Signalling or binding: the role of the platelet-activating factor receptor in invasive pneumococcal disease
Cellular microbiology 2013;15(6):870-81