New Funding Opportunity Focuses on Immunity in Older Adults

Funding News Edition: November 02, 2022
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If you can develop mechanistic insights into innate and adaptive immune function changes that occur during the aging process, consider applying to the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) Immunity in Older Adults (U01, Clinical Trial Not Allowed). NIAID is one of the participating organizations along with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

The main objective of the Immunity in Older Adults program is to improve our mechanistic understanding of the immunologic processes during aging in humans. This initiative also seeks to expand research addressing basic immune mechanisms associated with oral, dental, and craniofacial health and pathologies in older individuals. As many of the changes evident in older adults (>65 years) and pathogenesis of age-related diseases may begin at younger ages (<50-60 years), comparisons between this latter, younger age group and older adults, or projects studying immune changes emerging in older adults are necessary.

Applicants are encouraged to leverage existing longitudinal cohorts or obtain biospecimens from independently funded clinical trials. Study samples also may be included from repositories such as the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) or other existing repositories. Interested applicants are expected to establish collaborations with investigators responsible for these repositories prior to submitting an application to this FOA.

Your proposed research project should test hypotheses related to the FOA’s objective and must adhere to the following parameters:

  • All studies must be performed using human subjects and/or materials.
  • Relevant and appropriately aged animal models may be included to extend human studies and/or investigate mechanisms using approaches that may not be feasible in human subjects.
  • Studies must include sex/gender and racial/ethnic considerations.

Research areas of interest for NIAID include those listed below. For a full list, see the FOA.

  • Defining mechanisms of dysfunction in the aged innate and mucosal immune systems
  • Determining molecular processes of age-independent immune dysfunction
  • Examining the impact of prior immunity on host responses to vaccination and subsequent infection
  • Elucidating mechanisms by which DNA damage activates the immune response or drives chronic inflammation during the aging process
  • Analyzing vaccines with or without adjuvants for their effects on T cell repertoires in aging individuals
  • Studies on the composition, phenotype, and antigen specificity of immune cells such as B and T cells in the central nervous system during the aging process

Do not propose any of the following; if you do, your application will be considered nonresponsive.

  • Clinical trials; however, clinical research using specimens obtained from human subjects in clinical trials funded through other mechanisms is allowed
  • Projects focused on cancer
  • Genome-wide association studies
  • Projects that do not use human samples
  • Projects focused exclusively on animal studies and/or samples
  • Projects that do not focus on aging
  • Projects focused on behavioral studies
  • Epidemiological studies

Steering Committee

Immunity in Older Adults activities will be coordinated by a Steering Committee composed of the program director(s)/principal investigator(s) of each award. An NIAID, NIDCR, or NIA program officer will be responsible for the scientific and programmatic stewardship of an award and will be named in the award notice. NIAID staff assistance will be provided by project scientists from NIAID's Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation along with other NIH staff.

The Steering Committee will conduct regular meetings by teleconference as well as an annual plenary meeting where all investigators will have an opportunity to formally discuss progress and possibilities for collaboration with the group and staff from NIAID, NIA, and NIDCR.

Funds Available, Budget, Award Information

NIAID and partner components intend to commit an estimated total of $4.42M to fund five to seven awards.

Application budgets are not expected to exceed $400,000 in direct costs per year and should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The project period must be 5 years.


Direct your inquiries to Dr. Mercy PrabhuDas, NIAID’s scientific research contact, at 240-627-3534 or For peer review-related questions, reach out to NIAID’s peer review contact Dr. Vanitha Raman at 240-457-2783 or

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