Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS)- EUPHEM

acknowledged by EUPHEM
Viale Regina Elena, 299
00161 Roma

Contact person

Loredana Ingrosso
Tel: + 39 4990 6127
Mobile: + 39 33 7155 2037

Description of 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, 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; it also carries out environmental monitoring to assess the environmental risks for human health. As the official Italian control laboratory for medicines, it performs quality and safety assessment of medicines. The Institute hosts the National Reference Centre for Rare Diseases, the National Transplant Centre and the National Blood Centre.

The Institute collaborates with national institutions performing public health functions such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry for the Environment, regions, local health units, hospitals and scientific institutes. It is also involved in a wide range of international activities including scientific and technical support to the European Commission, to WHO, EFSA, ECDC, 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.
The technical and scientific area of the Institute includes 6 Departments, 18 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, 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 and Flu), Supranational Reference centres (e.g. MDR-TB at WHO) and several ECDC Contact Points. The personnel of the Departments take part in committees and workshops organized by the Ministry of Health and other public health organizations.

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 recent years, the Department has been especially engaged in detecting outbreaks and epidemics (e.g. Chikungunya virus, A/H1N1 pandemic flu) due to emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases and has greatly contributed to their control. After the 2011 emergence of the West Nile virus activities related to diagnosis and control and the organization of a surveillance network have been implemented.

The Department has collaboration and support projects with the Balkan countries, and with developing countries, especially in Africa.

Main areas of activity:

  • AMR and HAI (including MDR-TB)
  • Vaccine-preventable diseases (including Flu)
  • Food & Water-borne diseases (including parasites)
  • Hepatitis
  • Vector-borne diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Immune-response to infection

Training opportunities 

ISS is an acknowledged training site for EPIET and EUPHEM.
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 present 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.

Training supervision

Supervisory team for the EUPHEM program is composed by: Annalisa Pantosti (presently main supervisor), Loredana Ingrosso (will take over in the role in 2020), Roberta Creti, Claudia Lucarelli and Giulietta Venturi. Patrizio Pezzotti is the epidemiology supervisor. A number of experts in different areas will be available for EUPHEM-dedicated projects.

Language requirements

English is largely spoken at ISS, personnel are involved in many international activities and willing to cooperate. In time, however, a little Italian will be appreciated and will make the everyday life a little easier

Training history

ISS was nominated EUPHEM training site in 2012. Two MS-track fellows (cohort 2013 and cohort 2015) trained and graduated at ISS. The site is currently hosting a EU-track fellow (cohort 2017) who will graduate in 2019.