NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Saint Louis University's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit has landed a five-year, $5.8 million contract with the National Institutes of Health to support a multi-omics research program studying the safety and efficacy of vaccines.
The program will use transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, and metabolomics to explore immune response. Under the terms of the contract, SLU will present original ideas for omics studies as well as conduct omics analysis for other centers tapped by the NIH to study vaccines. The study will be of an investigational vaccine for tularemia, a rare and potentially fatal infectious disease that is passed from infected wild rodents to humans via insect bites or direct contact with a sick animal.
"We're looking at how a host of systems trigger our [body's immune response] to protect us from infectious diseases," Daniel Hoft, director of infectious disease and immunology at SLU, said in a statement. Hoft is the principal investigator for the contract. "Previously we could only measure a few endpoint responses, such as the presence of an antibody or T cell responses to a specific antigen. But through omics studies, we will be able to use sophisticated technologies to determine all responses in the body necessary to marshal the immune system to best recognize and defend against bacteria, viruses, and other harmful substances."
Hoft will lead a study of how RNA mediates the immune response. Professors Yie-Hsaw Chang and David Wood will lead a proteomics study, David Ford will lead the lipidomics study, and James Edwards will lead the metabolomics portion of the program.
SLU's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit is one of two National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-designated sites in the US to conduct multi-omics assessments of vaccines and other infectious disease interventions.