NIH renews $15 million systems vaccinology grant to Emory for improving vaccine success

The National Institutes of Health has awarded an Emory-led research consortium $15 million over five years for renewal of a grant aimed at better understanding and improving human immune responses to vaccination. The grant builds on the pioneering accomplishments of the research team over the past several years in developing ‘systems biology’ methods to accurately predict the efficacy of vaccination in humans, and providing new insights into the molecular mechanisms that drive effective immunity to vaccination.
 
The grant’s principal investigator is IMP faculty member, Bali Pulendran, PhD, whose laboratory is widely credited with launching the field of “systems vaccinology.” Pulendran is Charles Howard Candler Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the Emory Vaccine Center and Yerkes National Primate Research Center.
 
Systems vaccinology combines immunology, genomics and bioinformatics to predict the effectiveness of a vaccine without exposing individuals to infection, and offers a means to probe the molecular mechanisms underlying immunity to vaccination. Researchers already have provided proof of concept of this approach through studies of innate and adaptive human immune responses to vaccines including yellow fever, smallpox, seasonal influenza, meningococcal disease and dengue fever.
 
Co-principal investigator is Rafi Ahmed, PhD, director of the Emory Vaccine Center, a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, and faculty member in the IMP and MMG programs.

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