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NIAID to Offer $100M for Immune System Research Centers

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will grant up to $100 million for a five-year program to fund a group of centers that will apply genomics, proteomics, and other approaches to increase knowledge about and profiling of the human immune system.

Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the competitive grants will fund centers that will focus on characterizing the immune system under normal conditions and will study how it changes due to infection or vaccination.

Researchers will use the funds to study a range of the elements of immunity at different phases of health, infection, and recovery. It will entail analyzing samples from well-characterized human cohorts, including people enrolled in clinical trials, children receiving routine vaccinations, and people with naturally acquired infections.

These studies will exploit recent scientific advances in systems biology, integrating information about an organism's genes, proteins, and metabolism with data from the host, NIAID said.

"By helping us understand what constitutes a normal human immune response, this program will assist researchers who are developing vaccines and other interventions for a variety of infectious diseases of public health importance, including influenza, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said in a statement.

"The observations made and the new methodologies developed by investigators within this program will assist clinical research in vaccine development and beyond," NIAID's Director of the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation, Daniel Rotrosen, said. "These research centers are part of NIAID's long-range goal to identify the principles of human immune regulation, and then apply that knowledge to understanding, treating and preventing immune-mediated and infectious diseases."

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