Center of excellence for virus immunology and vaccines (CERVirVac)

Center of Excellence for Virus Immunology and Vaccines (CERVirVac)

Full title: Center of Excellence for Virus Immunology and Vaccines (CERVirVac)

Grantor: Croatian Ministry of Science, Education and Sports (MZOS – MSES)

Grantor's website:

Duration: November 2014 – November 2019

Principal investigator: Stipan Jonjic, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine


University of Rijeka, Faculty of Medicine (coordinating institution)

University of Zagreb, Centre for Research and Knowledge Transfer in Biotechnology

University Hospital for Infectious Diseases Zagreb

University of Rijeka, Department of Biotechnology

Brief description:

The Center of Excellence is focused on establishing a base for further development of viral immunology and vaccinology in Croatia. The project studies the interplay between viruses and the immune system and aims to design effective vaccines and/or vectors for the prevention and treatment of emerging infectious diseases and cancer.

The work packages (WPs) 1 and 2 are dealing with novel immunoregulatory viral genes and their role in viral pathogenesis and immunosurveillance.

In WP3, the focus is put on the study of cytomegalovirus (CMV)-based vaccine vectors for cancer and for several human pathogens.

The proof-of-concept studies of WP4 aim to create, by the use of rational design approach, novel mumps virus mutants that can serve as a vaccine and / or as a vector for vaccines.

WP5 and WP6 are devoted to the study of human immune responses to two important pathogens (hantavirus and hepatitis C virus) and viral mechanisms that regulate the immune response. The emphasis is put on the characterization of memory NK-cell response in hantavirus-infected human subjects.

WP7 is aimed at improving the production and quality of live virus vaccines and vectors, in accordance with the standards declared by regulatory agencies.

In addition to the proposed research, an essential role in this project is given to two horizontal groups of activities: 1) training of young researchers and networking with other excellent institutions in the European Research Area and 2) dissemination and exploitation of the research results generated by the Center.