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null Infection and Immunity (INIM) Research Group
Hospital Universitario Joan XXIII de Tarragona


Infection and Immunity (INIM) Research Group (formerly known as AIDS Research Group) is devoted to clinical and translational investigation in HIV infection / AIDS.

INIM was set up in 1995 at the Hospital Universitari de Tarragona Joan XXIII / Universitat Rovira I Virgili under the leadership of Francesc Vidal. We are integrated in Spanish AIDS Research Network (RIS) since 2003 and also participate in several international consortiums involved in epidemiological and clinical research in  HIV such as COHERE (, ART-CC collaboration, HIV-Causal collaboration, SPREAD collaboration and OptTest.

Currently we actively collaborate with several research groups within the RIS but also with some others not located in the RIS. Our main focus of interest and research lines are the following:

  • Host genetics. Since our beginnings we have been involved in searching for genetic factors involved in the vulnerability to HIV infection and disease progression.

  • HIV immunopathogenesis. Two particular subgroups of infected patients have attracted our interest; that of poor recoverers and also elite controllers. Poor recoverers are an interesting subset of infected patients that, despite achieving virological suppression when on ART, do not experience full immune recovery. These individuals have poor prognosis overtime compared with recoverers. In these patients we investigate, through an OMIC science approach (genomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, untargeted and targeted metabolomics), the mechanistic pathways involved ultimately searching for predictive biomarkers and potential drug targets. With respect to elite controllers, which are a model for functional cure, we collaborate with the ECRIS cohort investigating virological, inflammatory and immunological mechanisms involved, also by means of an OMIC science approach.

  • CoRIS cohort and derived sub-cohorts. Our group participates in CoRIS since its beginnings and we provide sequential clinical data and biological samples for the full cohort and for several sub-cohorts (ECRIS, hepatitis, resistances, NADEs). We are particularly interested in several metabolic non AIDS events such as fat redistribution syndromes, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, in which we investigate the role of host genetics, inflammation and microbial translocation.

  • Drug toxicity. From our beginnings, the adverse of antiretroviral drugs have attracted our interest. Lipodystrophy and metabolic derangements associated with NRTIs and PIs use and kidney damage due to NNRTIs;use has been a focus of extensive research by our group.

The research team is made of eleven members with the following distribution: six physicians (Francesc Vidal MD PhD, team leader; Joaquim Peraire MD, PhD; Consuelo Viladés MD, PhD; Sergi Veloso MD, PhD; Miguel López-Dupla MD, PhD; Montserrat Olona MD), two nurses (Montserrat Vargas, Alfonso Castellano), two basic investigators (Esther Rodriguez-Gallego PhD and Anna Rull PhD), and one lab technician (Verónica Alba).  The initial nucleus constructed by Drs. Vidal, Peraire and Viladés has thus expanded to the currently larger group. 

Most of us have both hospital and university affiliations. F. Vidal is senior consultant of the Department of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the Hospital Universitari Joan XXIII and Professor of Medicine at the Universitat Rovira I Virgili, both in Tarragona, Spain. Most of the remaining clinical members are physicians or nurses at the Hospital and associate professors at the University. Finally, the personnel with more basic profile are affiliated to our Health Research Institute.

Our research activity is closely linked with our clinical activity and involves (and turns around to) our HIV day-care facility, our HIV biobank collection, and our general research laboratory. We also use and closely collaborate with the Centre for Omic Sciences (COS) form our University where we perform most of our OMIC science studies.

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Paco Vidal
Verónica Alba
Montserrat Olona
Joaquim Peraire
Anna Rull
Montserrat Vargas
Sergi Veloso
Consuelo Viladés
Jenifer Masip
Anna Martí
Elena Yeregui
Laia Reverté

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  • Prediction of long-term outcomes of HIV-infected patients developing non-AIDS events using a multistate approach. 
    Masiá M, Padilla S, Moreno S, Barber X, Iribarren JA, Del Romero J, Gómez-Sirvent JL, Rivero M, Vidal F, Campins AA, Gutiérrez F; Cohorte de la Red de Investigación en Sida (CoRIS).  PLoS One. 2017 Sep 8;12(9):e0184329. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184329. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28886092; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5590896. 
  • A Lower Baseline CD4/CD8 T-Cell Ratio Is Independently Associated with Immunodiscordant Response to Antiretroviral Therapy in HIV-Infected Subjects. 
    Rosado-Sánchez I, Herrero-Fernández I, Álvarez-Ríos AI, Genebat M, Abad-Carrillo MA, Ruiz-Mateos E, Pulido F, González-García J, Montero M, Bernal-Morell E, Vidal F, Leal M, Pacheco YM.  Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2017 Jul 25;61(8). pii: e00605-17. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00605-17. Print 2017 Aug. PubMed PMID: 28559274; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5527653. 
  • High FGF21 levels are associated with altered bone homeostasis in HIV-1-infected patients. 
    Gallego-Escuredo JM, Lamarca MK, Villarroya J, Domingo JC, Mateo MG, Gutierrez MDM, Vidal F, Villarroya F, Domingo P, Giralt M.  Metabolism. 2017 Jun;71:163-170. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.03.014. Epub 2017 Mar 31. PubMed PMID: 28521869. 
  • Higher levels of IL-6, CD4 turnover and Treg frequency are already present before cART in HIV-infected subjects with later low CD4 recovery. 
    Rosado-Sánchez I, Jarrín I, Pozo-Balado MM, de Pablo-Bernal RS, Herrero-Fernández I, Alvarez-Ríos AI, Rodríguez-Gallego E, Genebat M, Vera M, Berenguer J, Martín ML, Bernal E, Vidal F, Blanco J, Leal M, Pacheco YM.  Antiviral Res. 2017 Jun;142:76-82. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2017.03.015. Epub 2017 Mar 24. PubMed PMID: 28343846. 
  • Thymic Function Failure Is Associated With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Disease Progression. 
    Ferrando-Martinez S, De Pablo-Bernal RS, De Luna-Romero M, De Ory SJ, Genebat M, Pacheco YM, Parras FJ, Montero M, Blanco JR, Gutierrez F, Santos J, Vidal F, Koup RA, Muñoz-Fernández MÁ, Leal M, Ruiz-Mateos E.  Clin Infect Dis. 2017 May 1;64(9):1191-1197. doi: 10.1093/cid/cix095. PubMed PMID: 28158588. 
  • Contribution of Oxidative Stress to Non-AIDS Events in HIV-Infected Patients. 
    Masiá M, Padilla S, Fernández M, Barber X, Moreno S, Iribarren JA, Portilla J, Peña A, Vidal F, Gutiérrez F; CoRIS.  Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2017 Jun 1;75(2):e36-e44. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001287. PubMed PMID: 28107228. 
  • HLA-B*57 and IFNL4-related polymorphisms are associated with protection against HIV-1 disease progression in controllers 
    Dominguez-Molina B, Tarancon-Diez L, Hua S, Abad-Molina C, Rodriguez-Gallego E, Machmach K, Vidal F, Tural C, Moreno S, Goñi JM, Ramírez de Arellano E, Del Val M, Gonzalez-Escribano MF, Del Romero J, Rodriguez C, Capa L, Viciana P, Alcamí J, Yu XG, Walker BD, Leal M, Lichterfeld M, Ruiz-Mateos E; ECRIS integrated in the Spanish AIDS Research Network.  Clin Infect Dis. 2017 Mar 1;64(5):621-628. Epub 2016 Dec 16. PubMed PMID: 27986689. 
  • HIV/antiretroviral therapy-related lipodystrophy syndrome (HALS) is associated with higher RBP4 and lower omentin in plasma. 
    Peraire J, López-Dupla M, Alba V, Beltrán-Debón R, Martinez E, Domingo P, Asensi V, Leal M, Viladés C, Inza MI, Escoté X, Arnedo M, Mateo G, Valle-Garay E, Ferrando-Martinez S, Veloso S, Vendrell J, Gatell JM, Vidal F; HIV-1 Lipodystrophy Study Group.  Clin Microbiol Infect. 2015 Jul;21(7):711.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2015.04.002. Epub 2015 Apr 14. PubMed PMID: 25882366. 
  • Involvement of the LPS-LPB-CD14-MD2-TLR4 inflammation pathway in HIV-1/HAART-associated lipodystrophy syndrome (HALS). 
    Viladés C, Escoté X, López-Dupla M, Martinez E, Domingo P, Asensi V, Leal M, Peraire J, Inza MI, Arnedo M, Gutiérrez M, Valle-Garay E, Ferrando-Martinez S, Olona M, Alba V, Sirvent JJ, Gatell JM, Vidal F; HALS Study Group.  J Antimicrob Chemother. 2014 Jun;69(6):1653-9. doi: 10.1093/jac/dku032. Epub 2014 Feb 16. PubMed PMID: 24535275. 
  • Adipogenic/lipid, inflammatory, and mitochondrial parameters in subcutaneous adipose tissue of untreated HIV-1-infected long-term nonprogressors: significant alterations despite low viral burden. 
    Vidal F, Domingo P, Villarroya F, Giralt M, López-Dupla M, Gutiérrez M, Gallego-Escuredo JM, Peraire J, Viladés C, Veloso S, Mateo G, Guallar JP, Richart C.  J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2012 Oct 1;61(2):131-7. PubMed PMID: 22580565. 

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