Propose Research Using Mouse Models To Understand Human Immunity

Funding News Edition: November 03, 2021
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Researchers looking to determine the usefulness of mice with diverse microbial exposure (sometimes called “dirty” mice) as research tools to advance understanding of human immune function can apply for funding through the Notice of Special Interest (NOSI): Leveraging Microbial Exposure for Improving Mouse Models of Human Immunity.

Research Objectives

Recent studies comparing “dirty” mice to mice maintained under standard specific pathogen-free (SPF) conditions suggest that SPF mice poorly recapitulate mature human immune responses; instead exhibiting responses similar to that of human infants. In contrast, “dirty” mice have diverse microbial exposure that mimics that of an adult human and respond to immune stimuli in a more human-like fashion. Therefore, these mice could be better research tools to study human immunity. However, “dirty” mice are underutilized by the immunology research community due to the cost associated with housing “dirty” mice in a separate facility from SPF colonies.

NIAID invites applications proposing to characterize immune system development, regulation, and function in “dirty” mice through:

  1. Comparison of mouse lines housed in a “clean” environment with animals housed in a “dirty” facility during homeostasis or in various infectious or immune-mediated disease models
  2. In vitro comparison of immune profiles in primary human cells and primary cells from “dirty” mice

Specific Areas of Interest

NIAID is most interested in the following research topics:

  • Fundamental Immunology—properties, interactions, development, and function of the innate and adaptive components (cells, molecules, etc.) of the immune system during homeostasis, or in response to pathogenic infections or vaccination
  • Allergic Diseases (asthma, rhinitis, and rhinosinusitis, food allergy, and atopic dermatitis)—development and persistence, genetics, identification of targets for new preventive and therapeutic approaches
  • Autoimmunity—immunologic basis of disease
    • Developing a greater understanding of the fundamental immunologic principles underlying disease onset and progression
    • Developing improved animal models of disease and diagnostic tools
    • Identifying and evaluating more effective immune-based treatment and prevention strategies
  • Transplant Immunology—elucidation of immunological mechanisms and pathways that contribute to:
    • Allograft rejection or tolerance in models of pancreatic islet, solid organ, or vascularized composite allograft transplantation
    • Graft-versus-host disease in models of bone marrow/hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Infectious Diseases—basic research on the fundamental mechanisms of factors impacting pathogen replication, immunopathogenesis, infection-associated expression patterns, latency, or persistence
  • Vaccinology—understanding how broad microbial exposure impacts safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of vaccines

Application and Submission Information

The first application due date is February 16, 2022, and thereafter the NOSI follows NIH’s Standard Due Dates.

You can apply for this initiative through the following funding opportunity announcement (FOA) or any reissues of the FOA until the NOSI reaches its expiration date.

When applying, follow the instructions in the SF 424 (R&R) Application Guide as well as the FOA through which you apply. You must include “NOT-AI-21-072” (without quotation marks) in the Agency Routing Identifier field (box 4B) of the SF 424 R&R form. Applications without this information will not be considered for this initiative.

Contact Information

Direct your inquiries to Joy Liu, the NOSI’s scientific contact, at

Contact Us

Email us at for help navigating NIAID’s grant and contract policies and procedures.

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