Apply To Form an Analysis and Bioinformatics Center for SUNBEAM

Funding News Edition: October 20, 2021
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To support the birth cohort study Systems Biology of Early Atopy (SUNBEAM), NIAID seeks applications to establish an “omics” analysis center through the new funding opportunity announcement (FOA) SUNBEAM-Analysis and Bioinformatics Center (ABC) (UM1, Clinical Trial Not Allowed).

Given the complex requirements for an application, we encourage you to read the FOA for complete details. We provide here brief overviews of both SUNBEAM and SUNBEAM-ABC.


SUNBEAM is a general population birth cohort study supported by several NIAID-funded consortia in which pregnant women (at any stage of pregnancy), the offspring’s biologic father, and the offspring are enrolled at 12 study sites in the United States.

One objective of SUNBEAM is to study the role and interrelationships of novel and established clinical, environmental, biological, and genetic early-life factors in the development of allergic diseases through the age of three years, with an emphasis on food allergy and atopic dermatitis (AD). Another objective: collect, process, and assay or store environmental and biological samples for current and future use.

SUNBEAM began recruiting in March 2021, and enrollment will continue for another two years. 

The goal is to have at least 2,500 pregnant women who agree to enroll their offspring at birth. During the study, biological and environmental samples and questionnaire information will be collected from the parents and children, and the children will be assessed for allergic diseases at clinic visits at ages 2, 5, 12, 24, and 36 months.


SUNBEAM-ABC will support the SUNBEAM birth cohort study by providing analytic infrastructure to comprehensively understand molecular and cellular pathways that contribute to atopic disease development and to identify early predictive biomarkers. SUNBEAM-ABC is designed to use only SUNBEAM samples.

Composed of an Administrative Group, Research Projects Group, and Bioinformatics and Data Integration Group, SUNBEAM-ABC will create a discovery infrastructure that will explore SUNBEAM biologic samples and conduct systems level analyses in order to contribute to the goals of the SUNBEAM cohort.

Applications responding to this FOA are required to include whole blood transcriptomics and high parameter cytometry analysis of fixed blood cells at a minimum. Other potential analyses of interest include, but are not limited to, serum/plasma proteomics, plasma metabolomics, and cellular studies using frozen viable peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Proposed analyses need to use established and validated laboratory assay methods and procedures.

Applications that propose any of the following topics will be considered nonresponsive and will not be reviewed.

  • Animal research
  • Assay development
  • Skin tape strip transcriptomics
  • HIV/AIDS research

Award Info, Due Date, Contact, and More

NIAID intends to commit an estimated total of $3.0 million in fiscal year 2023 to fund one award.

Application budgets are limited to $1.8 million direct costs and need to reflect the actual needs of the proposed project, the scope of which should determine the project period. The maximum is five years.

The application deadline is February 15, 2022, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization.

For clarification, additional information, and answers to questions, reach out to the scientific/research contact Dr. Gang Dong at or 240-627-3508. Direct inquiries about peer review to Dr. Louis Rosenthal at or 240-669-5070.

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