About us

Why IMPRINT?

Child

Far too many newborns continue to die in early life, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Many die from infections, some of which could be prevented. During the late stages of pregnancy, antibodies are transferred across the placenta from mother to child, providing protection to the infant in the early weeks of life. However, if the mother has insufficient protection against certain infections, the infant will also not be protected.

Research

Vaccinating women in pregnancy can enhance the level of antibody in the mother, thereby protecting the mother, and increasing the amount of antibody transferred across the placenta - protecting the infant from birth too. This concept has already been successfully established for the prevention of tetanus, influenza and pertussis (whooping cough). Many investigators and stakeholders are interested in using this strategy to protect infants from other serious infections, for example group B streptococcus or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and vaccines against these infections are in development.

However, some fundamental gaps in our understanding remain about the immune response to vaccines in pregnancy and in newborn infants which are essential for us to address in order to accelerate the development of new vaccines. It is also very important that the scientific community tackles how best to implement such vaccine programmes in both high-income countries and LMIC.

Joining forces to improve the health of mothers and newborns

Our unique inter-disciplinary network represents stakeholders from basic science, immunology, vaccinology, social sciences, industry, public health and national and international policy makers who have come together in order to tackle the key challenges in the best use of vaccines in pregnancy and in newborns, and in the long term, improve maternal and newborn health.

Research

Specifically, the IMPRINT network will implement collaborative research projects to answer fundamental biological questions about antibody transfer across the placenta, how to induce the "best" antibody, and its effect on the maturing newborn immune system. We will investigate if maternal vaccines interfere with the way in which the baby responds to vaccines later in infancy and childhood, to ensure that protection is not compromised at any stage. Co-factors such as nutrition or other infections might also change the way in which mothers and infants are protected by vaccines. Hence we need to take them into consideration if we are to ensure optimal protection of vaccines in pregnancy and early life. We will also find out why women decide to receive or not to accept vaccines in different countries in order to optimise the uptake of current and new vaccines. We will endeavour to work out how vaccine safety and effectiveness can be best monitored, given the different health care systems in different countries. Addressing these implementation challenges will enable us to better understand the issues and site-preparedness in the many geographical areas and populations in which IMPRINT investigators work.

IMPRINT focus areas

IMPRINT is organised around the following six thematic challenges which represent the strategic focus of all network and catalyst activities:

  • Challenge 1:Mechanism of production and transfer of maternal antibody via the placenta and breast milk
  • Challenge 2:Effects of maternal immunisation on the subsequent development of immunity in the infant
  • Challenge 3:Impact of globally important co-factors on maternal and neonatal immunity
  • Challenge 4:Vaccine acceptancy and preparedness for maternal immunisation, including in emergencies
  • Challenge 5:Vaccine safety monitoring in LMIC
  • Challenge 6:Development of comparable methodologies for assessing efficacy in clinical trials

IMPRINT Coordination

  • Program director

    Beate Kampmann

    Beate Kampmann MD PhD FRCPCH
    Professor of Paediatric Infection & Immunity
    Director of the Centre for International Child Health (CICH@Imperial)
    Imperial College London
    St. Mary’s Campus
    Wright-Fleming Building 2nd floor, Room 220
    Norfolk Place
    London W2 1PG
    United Kingdom

  • Co-PI

    Chrissie Jones

    Dr Chrissie Jones
    Associate Professor and Honorary Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases
    Clinical and Experimental Sciences
    Room LF102, F Level
    South Academic Block University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation
    Trust Tremona Road
    Southampton SO16 6YD
    United Kingdom

  • Network Manager

    Claudia Schacht

    Dr Claudia Schacht
    Founder & Managing Director, LINQ management GmbH
    Friedbergstr. 35
    14057 Berlin
    Germany

    Email: c.schacht@LINQ-management.com