Instituto Superiore di Sanita - EPIET
Tel. +39 06 49 90 32 81
Tel. +39 06 49 90 43 22
Description of the institute
The Istituto Superiore di Sanità (Italian National Institute of Health - ISS) is the main Italian research Institute in the biomedical and public health fields. It is the technical and scientific body of the Italian National Health Service.
Mission: promotion and protection of national and international public health through research, surveillance, support to decisions and regulation, control, prevention, communication, guidance and training.
Vision: Generate scientific knowledge through research and experimental work in order to promote evidence-based decisions among decision-makers, health professionals and citizens.
Promotion and protection of public health are pursued, through activities carried out in the following areas: neurological, psychiatric, oncological, haematological, genetic, infectious, cardiovascular, endocrine-metabolic, immune-mediated, and ageing-related diseases.
ISS develops tools and strategies for food safety, fighting zoonoses, control vector borne diseases; it also carries out environmental monitoring to assess the environmental risks for human health.
It is the official Italian drug and medical devices control laboratory in charge of quality and safety assessments.
The Institute hosts the National Reference Centre for Rare Diseases, the National Transplant Centre and the National Blood Centre and many reference laboratories.
The Institute collaborates with national institutions performing public health functions such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for the Environment, Regional and local health units authorities, , hospitals and scientific institutes. It is also involved in a wide range of international activities including scientific and technical support to the European Commission, WHO, ECDC, EFSA, IARC, OECD, OIE, UNEP, and other organizations, and to developing countries, and to countries suffering natural emergencies or war situations.
The Institute plans, develops and organises training courses in the field of public health for the personnel of the National Health Service. It also organises conferences, workshops and seminars both at national and international level on relevant public health issues.
It produces a range of scientific publications including: the “Annali”, a quarterly peer-reviewed journal with impact factor, the “Notiziario”, a monthly newsletter on current activities, technical reports and monographs on public health issues, and “Rapporti ISTISAN” a series of technical reports to help to disseminate result from large studies or events.
The technical and scientific area of the Institute includes 6 Departments, 16 National Centres, 2 Reference Centres and 5 Technical-scientific Services.
The Department of Infectious Diseases (DMI) fights diseases due to infectious agents (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites) through the study of the human pathogens, of the host immune response, and of treatment of infections. DMI is involved in all the activities related to diagnosis, surveillance, control, epidemiology and advice in infectious diseases.
Special emphasis is devoted to poverty-related diseases (AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria) and to the emerging threat of antibiotic-resistance.
The Departments includes National Reference centres (e.g. Legionella, Flu, invasive bacterial diseases, antimicrobial resistance), Supranational Reference centres (e.g. MDR-TB at WHO) and several ECDC Contact Points (e.g. VPD, vector borne diseases, invasive bacterial diseases, legionellosis, antimicrobial resistance) . Many experts of the Departments take part in committees, meetings and workshops organized by the Ministry of Health and other public health national or international organizations.
Experts of the Departments contribute to write strategic and operative documents of the Ministry of Health including recent the “National plan to fight antimicrobial resistance”, “the Italian Plan to eliminate Measles and Rubella”, the guidelines to control legionellosis, many technical documents of Ministry of Health regarding vaccination and communicable diseases control.
Training is an important part of the task of the department: graduate students, PhD students and post-docs attend the laboratories in order to prepare their research thesis or to obtain the Microbiology specialty Diploma.
In the recent years, the Department has been especially engaged in detecting outbreaks and epidemics (Chikungunya virus, A/H1N1 pandemic flu) due to emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases and has greatly contributed to their control. During 2011 the emergence of the West Nile virus has required activities related to diagnosis and control and the organization of a surveillance network.
The Department has collaboration and support projects with the Balkan countries, and with developing countries, especially in Africa.
The department is involved in many national and international projects in the area of basic/applied research or public health activities.
Main areas of activity
AMR and HAI (including MDR-TB)
Vaccine-preventable diseases (including Flu)
Food & Water-borne diseases (including parasites)
Vector-borne diseases (including parasites)
Epidemiology of communicable diseases
Immune-response to infection
ISS-DMI is an acknowledged training site for EPIET and EUPHEM. The EPIET fellow will be assigned to the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Mathematical Modeling Unit (EPI)
Fellows will have the opportunity to cover all the training objectives set by ECDC as she/he will be personally involved in the large frame of activities of both surveillance and research carried out in DMI. The added value of DMI is to have both EUPHEM and EPIET fellows at the same department, further promoting strict cooperation. There will be also occasion for collaboration with other relevant Italian institutions, as well as participation to national and international projects. Epidemiological and statistical supports is provided by researchers working at the EPI unit
Dr. Patrizio Pezzotti is the EPIET supervisor and Dr. Flavia Riccardo (an EPIET alumni) is the co-supervisor. A number of experts in different areas will be available for EPIET-dedicated projects.
English is largely spoken at ISS, personnel are involved in many international activities and willing to cooperate. However, in order to conduct active field work, working knowledge of Italian will be necessary; for this reason a basic knowledge of Italian is strongly recommended.
- ISS has a long-standing tradition as EPIET training site - ten EPIET fellows trained at institute since 1995 to 2014
- Two EPIET alumni working at the ISS in 2018. One further EPIET fellow is currently trained at the ISS
- ISS is also a EUPHEM training site since 2012 (one EUPHEM alumni and MS-track fellow currently working at the ISS).