CII’s STROMA ITN project reaches successful conclusion

Posted on 24 December 2015

STROMA ITN, a Marie Curie ITN (Initial Training Network) co-ordinated by Dr Mark Coles and Prof Paul Kaye at the Centre for Immunology and Infection, concludes this month

The STROMA ITN, which ran from January 2012 until December 2015, received €4.3 million under the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme for research and was set up to train young immunologists.  Fourteen Early Stage Researchers and three Experienced Researchers were funded by the STROMA ITN across Europe.

Investigating stromal cells, the infrastructure of the immune system, researchers collaborated with industrial partners to find out their role in cancer, auto-immune diseases and infections. The advancement of therapeutic tools and diagnostics which results from stromal research is a niche field in immunology and is likely to have an important impact on public health.

Research training weeks took place at the Centre for Immunology and Infection in York, and in St Gallen (Switzerland). STROMA’s industrial partners, MedImmune (Cambridge), ProBioGen (Berlin) and Miltenyi Biotec (Cologne) offered young researchers industrial secondments, where they had opportunities to acquire insights into industry and use facilities for their PhD experiments.

The STROMA ITN network held four annual meetings in Rennes, Cambridge, Lisbon and Strasbourg where researchers could present their projects to senior Principal Investigators and receive feedback and input on the progress of their research.

Professor Paul Kaye, STROMA ITN Project Co-ordinator and Professor of Immunology said:"The STROMA ITN has been a fantastic opportunity for students to work together on a common project.”

Professor Burkhard Ludewig, STROMA ITN Project Partner and Head of the Institute of Immunobiology at Kantonsspital St Gallen, Switzerland, said: "STROMA ITN has been vital in raising awareness and putting stromal cell functions at the centre of immunology, and this research will translate into the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools for cancer, autoimmune diseases and infections."

Ana Isabel Pinto, a CII PhD student funded by STROMA ITN, said: "STROMA ITN was a truly life changing opportunity for me! I had the chance to come into contact with an extraordinary group of researchers from whom I have learned so much."

STROMA ITN concludes at the same time as the P4FIFTY ITN (Biology’s other major EU funded project at York). Both projects were funded under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme.

More information on the two projects can be found here