National Institute of Research & Development for Microbiology & Immunology “Cantacuzino” (NIRDMI) - EUPHEM

EPIET/ EUPHEM institute
Splaiul Independentei 103
RO - 050096 Bucharest
Romania

Bucharest, Romania EUPHEM site:

Romanian EUPHEM Consortium:

Cantacuzino National Research and Development Institute for Microbiology and Immunology (Cantacuzino NIRDMI),

Romanian National Public Health Institute, and Victor Babes Infectious and Tropical Diseases Hospital Bucharest

 

Contact person:

Irina Codita

Cantacuzino National Institute of Research-Development

for Microbiology and Immunology

Splaiul Independentei 103,
RO - 050096 Bucharest,  Romania
Tel. + 40 21 3069 105
Fax +40 21 3069 307

 

 

 

Description of the consortium

The Cantacuzino Institute was founded in 1921, based on a royal decree, to develop four main activities: production of vaccines and sera, supporting and directing public health centres from Romanian territory for improving their microbiology laboratory performance for infectious diseases surveillance and control, scientific research aiming at increasing the laboratory capacity and training of microbiology and immunology specialists.

 

  • The main objectives of the Institute’s activity have been and still are the consolidation of the professional and institutional capacity as well as improving cooperation for participating in national and international programs of research, surveillance and control of communicable diseases.
  • Since 1991, the Cantacuzino NIRDMI has regain it’s position as a former member of the Pasteur Institute network, a large scientific community comprising 32 public and public health institutions on five continents.
  • The Public Health Microbiology Department in the Cantacuzino NIRDMI is under the coordination of the Scientific Director and is led by a Chief of Department.
  • Starting with 2006 the department is located in the “E” building which was refurbished within a PHARE project (Europe Aid/113121/D/SV/RO 0107.14), co-financed by the Romanian MoH.
  • Funding of public health laboratories activity is coming mainly from national and international research projects, laboratory services and participation in national public health programs.

 

The Public Health Microbiology Department is divided into 10 Laboratories, each of them consisting in one or more reference centres, which are covering microbiology of the main priority infectious diseases. National Laboratories Reference function is stipulated by a Government Decision on the Functioning of Cantacuzino NIRDMI. Every two years a Ministery of Health Order is up-dating national public health programs, including Cantacuzino NIRDMI involvement.

  • Since 2013, laboratory reference function was included by a Government decision as a component of the Cantacuzino NIRDMI national interest position.
  • A number of 108 people are working in the Department, including 37 researchers. A number of 19 public health microbiology experts from our institute are nominated as microbiology contact points for ECDC on specific diseases.

 

The National Centre for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases, functioning in the National Institute of Public Health, which is the national centre responsible for detection, surveillance and control of communicable diseases, is delivering yearly current methodologies for prioritized disease programs, in collaboration with reference laboratories functioning in the Cantacuzino NIRDMI. The National Public Health Institute is covering epidemiology training delivered by the Romanian EUPHEM site.

 

Victor Babes Infectious and Tropical Diseases Hospital Bucharest, one of the best infectious diseases hospitals in Romania, is contributing to theoretical and integrally covering practical training on microbiology of TB and mycoses.

 

Public Health Microbiology Laboratories functioning in Cantacuzino NIRDMI are supporting surveillance and control of infectious diseases by covering the reference functions, as formulated by the “European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Core functions of microbiology reference laboratories for communicable diseases. Stockholm: ECDC; 2010”. Thus, they are playing a central role in detecting epidemics, monitoring prioritized infectious diseases, providing microbiological data for public health response and scientific evidence for infectious diseases prevention and control.

 

Reference public health microbiology laboratories in Cantacuzino NIRDMI are involved in communicable diseases early warning and investigation of infectious diseases outbreaks (e.g. food and water borne diseases, hospital acquired infections, antimicrobial resistant community/hospital infections outbreaks etc.).

Laboratory surveillance of vaccine preventable diseases, sexually and blood transmitted diseases etc. provides serological and/or molecular data for integrated public health action, as introducing new vaccines, new surveillance programs or methods etc.

 

Molecular epidemiology laboratory is developing molecular methods, such as PCR, real time PCR, PFGE, sequencing etc. for the diagnostic and surveillance of communicable diseases. The research activity aims to improve the laboratory capacity to diagnose emergent and re-emergent communicable diseases as well as community/hospital-acquired diseases. Besides well-known pathogens, of special interest are commensal bacteria, as they acquire pathogenity factors by genetic transfer, as well as fastidious and non-cultivable microorganisms.

Reference laboratories are also involved in detecting rare infectious diseases (e.g. haemorrhagic fevers, leptospirosis, legionellosis, diphtheria etc.) and/or bacterial toxinoses (e.g. botulism).

 

Different image capture systems and bioinformatic tools are used for storage and interpretation of laboratory results.

 

All reference laboratories are participating in international external quality schemes, thus improving their capacity to provide high quality, credible, comparable and transportable laboratory data for microbial identification and microbiological markers to trace infectious events.

Several laboratories are involved in administering national quality control schemes by sending panels of EQA samples (e.g. Influenza National Centre, STD laboratory, Nosocomial Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance Laboratory) or by confirming microbial identification and/or other field laboratory results.

 

Two laboratories, i.e. Viral Respiratory Infections Laboratory (influenza, rubella, measles etc) and Viral Enteric Infections Laboratory are yearly checked and certified as reference centres by WHO.

 

Several laboratories are participating in global, WHO and ECDC disease specific networks and/or are collaborating with Pasteur network institutes, CDC and other international laboratories.

 

The main public health programs are:

 

  • Influenza Like Illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness
  • Food and Water Borne Diseases
  • Vector Borne Diseases and Medical Entomology
  • Vaccine Preventable Diseases (Eupert-labnet, EU-IBD, EDSN)
  • Healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance
  • Sexually and blood transmitted diseases
  • Polio eradication
  • Legionellosis
  • Malaria etc.

 

In the spirit of institute’s mission, the objectives of scientific research and microbiological surveillance of communicable diseases focused on the following topics:

  • Studies regarding the circulation of pathogens and their virulence patterns; 
  • Emergent resistance to antimicrobials and studies for the development of new compounds with antimicrobial activity;
  • New diagnostic methods, immunology and epidemiology of infectious diseases; 
  • Biotechnology and vaccine development; 
  • Infection mechanisms and anti-infectious response; 
  • Environmental changes and vector-borne diseases; 
  • Genomics and proteomics; 
  • Immune diseases mechanism and adequate therapies; 
  • Enforcement of the capacity of technological transfer in vaccine production

Most graduated staff working in Cantacuzino NIRDMI are members of the Romanian Society of Immunology and the Romanian Society of Microbiology, being involved in organizing the annual conferences of these societies.

 

Through the library of Pasteur Institute, the staff has free access to an important number of on-line publications.

 

The Cantacuzino NIRDMI review, Romanian Archives of Microbiology and Immunology, edited quarterly since 1928, is now indexed CNCSIS B+, in Medline/PubMed (Print ISSN: 1222-3891, OCLC: 25545262).

 

A number of 9 experts working in the Cantacuzino NIRDMI reference laboratories are also teaching medical microbiology for under-graduate and post-graduate students, and all reference laboratories are organizing courses for laboratory medicine specialists, biologists and/or biochemists working in medical laboratories.

 

The Jacques Monod International Training Centre, set-up with Pasteur Institute and EU support in 1994, is sheltering a conference hall and a very well organized wet laboratory facility with 20 work places.

 

From the very beginning of its existence, the training centre hosted an important number of courses, workshops and conferences. Invited lectors from Pasteur Institute Paris, from other prestigious international research institutes and universities presented here conferences in the field of our activity. PhD thesis defences, conferences of the Romanian Society of Microbiology and the Romanian Society of Immunology are organized in the “Jacques Monod” Centre as well as kick off or progress meetings, workshops and trainings. In the last year, the centre had an important agenda of training courses for microbiologists and resident physicians and organized a succession of conferences within the “Cantacuzino summer school”.

 

The workshop “Microorganism-Host Interaction in Infectious Diseases Pathogenesis” organized in 2012 within the national conference “Diaspora in Romanian Scientific Research and Education” took advantage of the existence of this centre.

 

Training opportunities

There are opportunities for field investigation of communicable diseases prioritized at national and EU level, as TB, FWBD, VPD, measles, West Nile etc.

The EUPHEM fellow will have opportunities to participate in all the main activities carried out by the EUPHEM Romanian consortium, pending on the fellow's experience and interest, in order to accomplish his/her training according to the EUPHEM core competencies. There are opportunities to work together with the EPIET fellows and other medical and scientific trainees within Cantacuzino NIRDMI and National Public Health Institute, located in Bucharest, Romania.
Training supervision The EUPHEM fellow will be supervised, for the entire interval of his/her training, by the main EUPHEM site coordinator together with the co-supervisors based in Cantacuzino NIRDMIC and NIPH, under the coordination of the ECDC assigned supervisor. For specific tasks and assignments, the fellow will be supervised by the appropriate scientist/consultant for any particular project.

 

Language requirements

English, Romanian (for MS track)

 

Training history

Number of EUPHEM fellows trained at institute: one MS-track (Cohort 5; 2013-2014). The fellow from Cohort 5 will graduate later this year. Her training programme/portfolio will be featured on the ECDC website.