The Stephan Angeloff Institute of Microbiology (SAIM), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia (www.microbio.bas.bg) is a non-profit organization founded in 1947 and one of the sixth Institutes within Bulgarian Academy of Sciences with topics in the field “Biomedicine and Quality of life”. SAIM conducts research in general, applied and infectious microbiology, virology and immunology and investigations on problems implicated in public health and biotechnology. Since 2004 the SAIM is a member of the Institute Pasteur International Network. SAIM consists of six departments and a Pasteur Research Center. The Department of Immunology within the SAIM is highly recognized unit performing basic and applied ground-breaking research in immunology. It consists of 3 separate subunits based on the topic and scientific expertise: Laboratory of Infectious Immunology and Inflammation, Laboratory of Experimental Immunotherapy, Laboratory of Experimental Immunology.
The Department of Immunology occupies 5 well-equipped laboratories providing an excellent environment for research based on experimental animal models of diseases (barrier-type SPF animal facility), cell culturing (cell culture room with HEPA clean air filter system and collection of cell lines), flow cytometry, histology and immunohistochemistry, cell signaling and protein purification. The Department of Immunology is included in the Bulgarian National Roadmap for Research Infrastructures (NRRI) and has an official accreditation issued by the National Evaluation and Accreditation Agency to train PhD students.The research expertise in each group is as follows: Laboratory of Infectious Immunology and Inflammation: Evaluation of the biologic effects of a wide variety of plant extracts, small molecules, modified chemical substances, using a broad panel of in vitro molecular and cellular-based tests and experimental mouse models of acute inflammation, infections (Salmonella thyphimurium, Escherichia coli, Candida albicans), sepsis, multiple organ dysfunction, joint inflammatory and bone degenerative diseases. Laboratory of Experimental Immunotherapy: Use of intravenous immunoglobulin (pooled human IgG and IgM) for immunotherapy of experimental autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, experimental sepsis and severe inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS). Topics related to polyspecific antibodies, role of natural and induced intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg), immunogenicity of biopharmaceuticals and tumor immunotherapy.
Laboratory of Experimental Immunology:New approaches for specific suppression of pathological immune cells in autoimmune and allergic diseases through newly designed DNA andprotein molecules, and using humanized mouse models of human diseases (allergies, autoimmune diseases – systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes).
The main research interests of The Laboratory of Experimental Immunology (LEI) are directed to autoimmunity and autoimmune diseases, allergy and immune-modulators development.The work is focused on the development of new approaches for specific suppression of pathological immune cells as well as new vaccine design through genetic engineering and protein molecules. Another topic of interest is the development of humanized mouse models of some of the most affecting human diseases (allergies, autoimmune diseases – systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis). Widely covered in the activity of the team are studies on immunomodulating activity of Black sea gastropods and garden snail proteins as adjuvants for bacterial and viral vaccines, their anti-tumor effects.
The research group leader of the Laboratory is Assoc. Prof. Dr. Andrey Tchorbanov. He has a serious international experience obtained in Utrecht (Nederland), Taipei (Taiwan) and Budapest (Hungary). He is a group leader of projects financed by the National Science Fund of Bulgaria (L1304, TK-317, VU-L-306, VUH – 11, DO 02-312, ТК-Х-1611, DTK 02/19, DTK 02/78, DDVU 02/34), as well as of projects in the framework of bilateral agreements between Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and National Scientific Council (Taiwan), and Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary). Dr. Tchorbanov is an expert in constructing hybrid antibody molecules by protein and genetic engineering, humanized SCID and other murine models and in vitro immunological studies. He holds a patent N108155 “A tool for selective suppression of pathological DNA-specific B cells”. His research team includes two post-docs, three PhD students, two Graduate Students and four students. The team is well trained and highly qualified