Expand Emerging Science and Technology in Transplantation Through Cooperative Research

Funding News Edition: June 02, 2021
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NIAID invites investigators to participate in a cooperative research group focused on applying novel science and technologies to transplantation immunology in three priority areas: microbiota, intravital imaging, and targeted therapeutic delivery.

Through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) Emerging Science and Technology in Transplantation (U01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed), NIAID will promote a more precise understanding of factors contributing to allograft rejection or tolerance and transplant recipients’ response to therapeutics by developing more specific, targeted treatments.

Research Objectives and Scope

Awardees will stimulate research in transplantation immunology by fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, promoting the exchange of ideas and findings, building on developments in other fields, and facilitating the exchange of reagents and techniques.

Applicants must propose studies that incorporate one or more of the three priority areas listed above and all studies must be in the context of transplantation of an allogeneic solid organ, vascularized composite tissue graft, or pancreatic islets. Nonhuman primate (NHP) studies are permitted, if appropriately justified and within the stated budgetary restrictions.

In each of the following three areas, the FOA describes scientific topics of interest that match NIAID’s priorities, which we’ve listed below. Refer to the FOA for a list of research topics within each area that NIAID considers nonresponsive, meaning we will not review your application if you propose them.

Microbiota and Transplantation

NIAID is especially interested in studies to identify:

  • Molecular pathways by which microbial signals influence alloimmunity
  • Microbial targets for modulation of alloimmune responses
  • Microbiota-associated markers of transplant outcome
  • Effects of donor/recipient microbiota on the allograft
  • Effects of microbiota perturbations, including those associated with diet, antibiotics, or immunosuppressive drugs, on alloimmune or immunoregulatory responses before and after transplantation
  • Effects of microbiota on the efficacy or toxicity of immunosuppressive treatments used to prevent transplant rejection

Intravital Imaging in Transplantation

Below is a list of research topics of interest. Applicants can refer to the FOA linked above for a complete list.

  • Single or multimodal molecular imaging probes and techniques to monitor leukocyte trafficking and infiltration into the graft or sites of immune activation or cellular differentiation (e.g., draining lymph nodes)
  • In vivo, real-time molecular imaging to evaluate rejection or cellular, molecular, structural, or functional changes in the graft
  • In situ molecular imaging to assess graft responses to therapeutic agents or cells (e.g., Treg therapy)
  • Evaluation of novel imaging probes and techniques for monitoring the graft in vivo
  • Comparison and validation of molecular imaging techniques versus biopsies, biomarkers, or other graft assessment techniques

Targeted Therapeutic Delivery in Transplantation

Below is a list of research topics of interest focused on leveraging existing or developing novel targeted delivery methods to:

  • Selectively deploy immunosuppressive therapeutic cargoes (e.g., immunosuppressive drugs, monoclonal antibodies, nucleic acids, peptides) to treat or prevent transplant rejection
  • Induce donor-specific immune tolerance pre- or post-transplantation in a strategic manner (e.g., via nanocarriers that induce tolerogenic antigen presentation or target specific cellular subsets)
  • Direct cellular therapies to sites or cells associated with immune activation and transplant rejection

Steering Committee

After award, program directors/principal investigators funded under this program will form a steering committee, which will serve as the main governing body for the cooperative group. It will identify scientific opportunities, emerging needs, and impediments; ensure timely release of data through publications/public databases; and develop guidelines for publishing collaborative research project results.

Deadline and Contact Information

Application budgets are limited to $250,000 in annual direct costs, with one exception: NHP studies are limited to $300,000 annual direct costs. The project scope must be appropriate to a five-year project period.

The FOA has one receipt date; applications are due on September 3, 2021, by 5 p.m. local time of the applicant organization.

For inquiries about applications on Microbiome and Intravital Imaging, contact NIAID’s scientific/research contact, Dr. Nasrin Nabavi.

For inquiries about applications on Targeted Therapeutic Delivery, contact Dr. Monica Zamisch.

For peer review-related questions, contact Dr. Vanitha Raman.

Contact Us

Email us at deaweb@niaid.nih.gov for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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