Published: 2021-12-17 09:23 | Updated: 2022-02-07 17:26

Georgios Sotiriou receives prestigious Research Environment grant

coins pouring out from a glass vase
Georgios Sotiriou receives SEK 30 million from the Swedish Research Council. Photo: Pixabay: Olya Adamovich

Georgios Sotiriou, researcher at the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology, has received Research Environment grant for interdisciplinary research from the Swedish Research Council. He receives SEK 30 million for the years 2022-2027 for the project "Nanoengineered precision therapies of lower respiratory tract infections".

Georgios Sotiriou, researcher at the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology. Photo: Johannes Frandsen

The grant is a multi-million, multi-year Research Environment grant for interdisciplinary research from the Swedish Research Council. Such grants are awarded to large, ambitious projects with the aim to address a major challenge, and that cannot be performed by a single research group, but rather require the expertise from different disciplines.

"This grant offers the long-term funding that is necessary to form a research environment consisting from different groups with the decisive expertise. I am beyond happy and humbled that I get the opportunity to lead such a project and work closely with excellent researchers from different disciplines towards a common goal," says Georgios Sotiriou, researcher at the Department of Microbiology, Tumour and Cell Biology.

Project with focus on nanoparticle technology

The overall aim for the project to develop nanoparticle-enabled precision therapies of lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) caused by bacterial pathogens. LRTIs caused by gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant strains, kill several million individuals every year. Novel treatment approaches are urgently needed with efficient drug delivery to the lungs. To address this urgent need, we combine four research groups with distinct expertise in nanoparticle technology, (organic chemistry, clinical microbiology and infectious diseases and in advanced data analysis.

"Over the span of six years, we will systematically study the effect of particle properties on their capacity to efficiently deliver novel drugs and study their time-dependent antibacterial activity in vitro and in vivo against gram-positive and gram-negative respiratory pathogens with risk for high antimicrobial resistances. The obtained data will be continuously fed into pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) in silico models to understand and predict the rate and susceptibility of bacterial killing and guide delivery and dosing strategies," Georgios Sotiriou says.

Who is taking part in the study?

The proposed research environment is highly interdisciplinary, including competences from nanoparticle technology and nanomedicine (Georgios Sotiriou research group, KI), organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry and chemical biology (Fredrik Almqvist research group, Umeå University), clinical microbiology, infectious diseases, pathogenesis, transmission of antibiotic resistance and antimicrobial therapy (Birgitta Henriques-Normark research group, KI), and pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and computational modelling (Lena Friberg research group, Uppsala University). 

Which patient groups will benefit from the research and how?

Upon success, our developed precision therapies will offer benefits to patients suffering from LRTIs caused from potentially deadly pathogens.