Immune dysregulation from pregnancy to adulthood

Immune dysregulation from pregnancy to adulthood

This research group includes: 

  • Immunologists;
  • Allergologists;
  • Obstetricians;
  • Pediatricians. 

These specialists come from several different hospital and university departments. The main interest is in allergic disease, immunodeficiency and reproductive immunology.

First, understanding the underlying immunological mechanisms of allergic pathologies is paramount to establish new laboratory methods for diagnosis, disease monitoring, prognosis and response to therapy.

Second, the team is also deeply involved in both diagnosis and research projects in Primary Immunodeficiency (PID). Considering the severe implications of PID in infants and adolescents, a precise diagnostic is critical for therapeutic purposes, in order to prevent the morbidity and mortality associated with these diseases.

There are also a group of investigators in the area of reproductive immunology. From these studies, they hope to identify normal profiles that can be applied to the diagnosis and prevention of obstetric pathologies, but also to approach the fetal period. This is a relevant point for the development of the child’s immune system, particularly as a result of the subsequent development of diseases with immune dysregulation, such as allergic asthma or autoimmune diabetes.

In terms of methodology, the detailed characterization of immune populations at the local and systemic level is essential to improve the understanding of the physiological mechanisms of pregnancy, but also to analyze its impact on the pathogenesis of gynecological and obstetric diseases such as endometriosis, implantation failure and recurrent pregnancy loss. To improve our knowledge of the gestational period, arguably with an impact on child development to adulthood, we have been using different technologies such as flow cytometry, complementing the analysis of various biomarkers with functional assays, various types of immunoassays and genetic and molecular analyses.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, obstetricians and immunologists faced new challenges. Translational research, in a collaborative effort, has been studying the impact of SARS-CoV-2 on maternal and fetal outcomes, including the serological response in maternal and umbilical cord blood, and placental evaluation regarding inflammation, presence virus and its receptors. COVID-19 raised other important issues, namely the presence of antibodies in human milk after vaccination in breastfeeding women, which is also the subject of study by the research group.

Our Researchers

Ana Frias

Ana Paula Fernandes

Catarina Madeira

Catarina Martins

Fatima Serrano

Jorge Lima

Luís Miguel Borrego

Maria Chora

Maria Isabel Pires Rosa da Costa Pinto

Maria Otília Zangão

Miguel Angelo-Dias

Nadia Charepe

Rita Payan Carreira