NOSI Focuses on Impacts of Arthropod Feeding on Host Immune Response

Funding News Edition: September 01, 2021
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NIAID seeks transdisciplinary research projects on the immunomodulatory effects of arthropod saliva on vertebrate hosts through the Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Immune Responses to Arthropod Feeding on Vertebrate Hosts.

The NOSI supports studies to better understand the role of arthropod salivary factors during and following blood feeding in establishing vector-borne pathogen infections, as well as facilitating immune-mediated diseases (e.g., alpha-gal syndrome) and local as well as systemic immune modulation in the vertebrate host. The NOSI also supports the NIH Strategic Plan for Tickborne Disease Research, specifically objectives 1.3.: alpha-gal syndrome and 1.4.: study of tick salivary proteins.

The NOSI’s scientific objectives are threefold:

  • Understand the immunological events in the vertebrate host that occur during and after feeding by hematophagous and ectoparasitic arthropods both locally (at the bite site) and systemically
  • Identify and characterize arthropod salivary components that exhibit immune modulatory properties
  • Determine the factors and mechanisms responsible for immune-mediated disease (allergy such as alpha-gal syndrome or dermatitis) triggered by hematophagous or ectoparasitic arthropod feeding

In addition to addressing the immediate scientific objectives, studies responding to this NOSI will have broader implications. For instance, examining and characterizing novel immunologically active molecules in the saliva of blood-feeding arthropods could lead to identifying new vaccine adjuvants, therapeutic drugs for treating inflammation or autoimmune disease, or new antigenic targets for developing vaccines against arthropod saliva or as biomarkers of exposure to vector bite.

Also, while you plan your application, consider meeting another of the NOSI’s goals: fostering new and/or strengthening existing collaborations between vector biologists and immunologists.

Responsive and Nonresponsive Areas of Research

Examples of responsive research topics include the following (for others, see the Research Objectives section of the NOSI):

  • Analyzing and identifying salivary factors secreted into vertebrate skin during arthropod feeding and their role in immune modulation. Salivary factors include proteins, RNAs, peptides, lipids, nucleosides, and small molecules
  • Examining the immunological mechanisms that underlie galactose-α-1,3-galactose (alpha-gal) allergy (alpha-gal syndrome) in the vertebrate host following a tick bite

Nonresponsive research areas include studies that:

  • Focus solely on the pathogen
  • Do not include an immunological component from the vertebrate host
  • Do not include salivary immunomodulatory component from a hematophagous or ectoparasitic arthropod

Submission and Contact Information

Apply to this opportunity by using either of the following funding opportunity announcements (FOAs):

The NOSI invites applications for due dates on October 5, 2021, and subsequent receipt dates through September 7, 2024.

Remember, applicants must include “NOT-AI-21-059 (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF 424 R&R form to be considered for this initiative. Note that you must follow all instructions in the SF 424 R&R Application Guide and the FOA through which you apply as well.

Direct your inquiries about this initiative to one of NIAID’s scientific/research contacts listed in the Inquiries section of the NOSI:

  • Dr. Qian “Joy” Liu, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation
  • Dr. Adriana Costero Saint-Denis, Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

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