Funding News Edition: February 17, 2021 See more articles in this edition
The Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) is a network of human immunology profiling research groups focused on infectious diseases, including HIV. Collectively, its participant institutions and investigators gather data to develop molecular signatures that define immune response profiles and identify biomarkers that correlate with the outcomes of vaccinations, vaccine adjuvants, or natural infections in humans.
Apply to join the Consortium through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) Human Immunology Project Consortium (U19, Clinical Trial Optional) if you’re able to 1) support longitudinal analysis of human immune responses in clinically well-characterized cohorts to determine how these profiles are perturbed and eventually returned to a new homeostatic state after challenge with an antigen or adjuvants; and 2) develop molecular signatures that define immune response profiles and identify biomarkers across the lifespan that correlate with the outcomes of vaccinations, immunotherapy, adjuvants, or natural infections in humans.
Additionally, through the companion FOA Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) Coordinating Center (U01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed), NIAID will establish an HIPC Coordinating Center responsible for data analysis, website management, and research coordination within the Consortium.
Research Interests for U19 Applications
HIPC grantees will employ established and recent advances in immune profiling technologies to study the human immune system 1) before and after vaccination against an infectious pathogen, including HIV; 2) before and after administration of a vaccine adjuvant that selectively targets immune components; and 3) during or following naturally-occurring infection, including HIV.
Examples of specific research interests include:
- Measuring dynamic, longitudinal changes in immune profiles following vaccination, adjuvant administration, or natural infection with a pathogen that correlate with clinical outcome
- Identifying immune profiles that correlate with vaccine efficacy or surrogates of efficacy
- Examining the role of the human microbiome in modifying immune responses to vaccinations or natural infections
Those three scientific objectives are taken from a much longer list provided in the FOA; refer there to see additional HIPC research interests.
For studies focused on HIV specifically, propose a coherent set of interrelated research aims with a clear overall focus on the use of immune profiling to advance research progress toward a safe and efficacious HIV vaccine. In that context, you may also propose work with non-HIV immunogens to address specific knowledge gaps about HIV vaccine design by obtaining comparative information from immune responses to HIV and non-HIV immunogens.
Regardless of the study, your application must include unbiased, data-gathering, quantitative experimental approaches in systems biology with human samples and correlate results with outcomes of infection or vaccination. To enable studies of dynamic changes and biomarker identification, applicants should prioritize frequent, prospective, and longitudinal sampling linked with deep clinical phenotyping.
Research cohorts should include vulnerable populations such as older adults, children, pregnant women, underrepresented minorities, and individuals with immune-mediated conditions (e.g., autoimmune diseases, atopic diseases) or who have received tissue/organ transplants.
Administrative Details for U19 Applications
HIPC promotes rapid public access to HIPC-supported data and meta-data through public portals such as ImmPort. Therefore, all HIPC investigators must share their HIPC-supported data and meta-data publicly through ImmPort, data analysis, and visualization portals offered by the HIPC Coordinating Center, or other public portals designated by NIAID. Privacy of participants must be safeguarded and confidential, and proprietary information must be protected.
A principal investigator from each U19 award will participate on the HIPC steering committee, which will serve an advisory role for the entire HIPC collaborative research program and promote scientific collaboration. NIAID will also convene an external advisory board to review, evaluate, and prioritize the scientific progress of the individual HIPC awardees and the Consortium as a whole.
Individual HIPC applications should propose the following structure: an administrative core, a data management and analysis core, and a clinical core all in service of two or three research projects, as well as up to three optional service cores. The research projects must be multidisciplinary, synergistic projects organized around a central scientific theme focused on human immunology profiling and immune signature or biomarker discovery. The service cores are limited to providing standard assays, reagents, technologies, repositories, or other available services to investigators.
Your application budget is capped at $1.5 million in annual direct costs, excluding third-party facilities and administrative costs. The maximum project period is five years.
Applications for the U19 FOA are due June 4, 2021. Send research questions to Dr. Alison Deckhut Augustine, Dr. Alkis Togias, Dr. Annie Mo, or, for HIV-related inquiries, Dr. Patricia D’Souza.
Additional Information for U01 Applications
NIAID will make one U01 award to establish an HIPC Coordinating Center to do the following:
- Develop and maintain a public HIPC website and knowledgebase—NIAID encourages approaches that integrate elements of the current HIPC website and ImmuneSpace
- Collaborate with staff from ImmPort and other related organizations to further develop data standards, controlled vocabularies, and ontologies
- Form and operate HIPC subcommittees to facilitate cross-collaborative activities and help provide sophisticated bioinformatics or computational tools to manage, analyze, and visualize HIPC data sets
- Support cross-HIPC projects by managing the HIPC infrastructure and opportunity fund to harness and integrate data, findings, and tools generated by individual projects
- Work closely with NIAID staff to develop strategies to promote the HIPC program domestically and internationally
See the FOA linked above for additional details about the anticipated website, knowledgebase, infrastructure and opportunity fund, and more.
The Coordinating Center’s director will serve as a voting member on the HIPC steering committee.
Your application budget for the U01 FOA is limited to $1.2 million in annual direct costs, and NIAID will reserve an additional $600,000 for the infrastructure and opportunity fund. The project period is five years.
Applications are due June 4, 2021. Contact Dr. Alison Deckhut Augustine or Dr. Alkis Togias if you have any questions about the U01 FOA.