Summary: Osteoimmunology is an emerging supra-disciplinary field of research aiming at understanding the physiological and pathological interactions between the bone and immune systems. The consortium OSTEOIMMUNE is designed to offer structuredtraining for early stage researchers within an established network of leading scientists and clinicians in the fields of immunology, bone biology, rheumatology, molecular biology, genetics and drug development. The consortium’s scientists represent 8 internationally leading academic centres in arthritis research and 3 of the most innovative biotech and pharmaceutical companies. The scientists assembled in the OSTEOIMMUNE consortium have been contributing key concepts to the field and have a continual history of successful collaboration and training of early stage researchers. The OSTEOIMMUNE training programme will include cutting edge technologies from the fields of immunology, bone biology, rheumatology, genetics and epigenetics, molecular biology and drug development for use in murine and human studies. This will enable the young researchers to unravel the molecular details of the destructive and the regulatory interactions between the bone and immune systems and to develop innovative therapeutic approaches.
Current state: Current biomedical research and training is frequently focused on the analysis of a single organ system such as the bone or the immune system. A limitation of this approach is that both researchers and trainees are often unaware of pathogenetically relevant interactions between different organ systems. Thus, although immunology and bone biology are both highly developed and strongly scientifically driven research fields, with well established research and training programmes, interactions with each other are still underdeveloped despite obvious common interests based on pathophysiology and the clinical presentation of diseases. To broaden the intellectual and technical scope of our trainees and boost their employability and career opportunities we propose a joint research training programme, which closes this gap in current biomedical research. OSTEOIMMUNE is a supra-disciplinary programme designed to advance the newly emerging field of research on the mutual interactions between the immune system and the skeleton. A group of outstanding European researchers who have been already collaborating for years and sometimes decades has been assembled to co-operate and to make this programme a success.