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NIAID funds $51M contract to create comprehensive model of immune responses
Date:10/23/2007

A team of scientists is expanding efforts to develop a detailed picture of immune system function with a new $51 million, five-year contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health. The research builds on a project originally funded by NIAID in 2003, and will continue to be led by Richard Ulevitch, Ph.D., of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif. The contract will also involve scientists from the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle; Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif.; and the Australian National University, Canberra.

The collaborators on this project have previously made significant contributions to our understanding of innate immunity, the bodys first line of defense against infection, says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. They are well-positioned to generate knowledge that will advance the development of new treatments, diagnostics and vaccines for infectious diseases that occur naturally or are deliberately introduced into a population.

According to Dr. Ulevitch, the researchers will use a systems biology approach to build a comprehensive model of the immune systems response to several disease-causing agents. Systems biology melds established life sciences with informatics, computer modeling and new techniques of gene and protein analysis to generate a wide-angle view of entire biological systems. To date, the team focused on developing an encyclopedic account of innate immunity. Now, the projects scope will broaden to encompass components of adaptive immunity, which includes antibodies and a diverse class of immune system cells called T cells. Dr. Ulevitch and his collaborators will create mutant mice and then screen them to find defects in the animals innate and adaptive immune reactions to viruses, including influenza, mousepox and mouse cytomegalovirus, and to several bacteria, including Salmonella and Listeria. Next, the group will
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Contact: Anne A. Oplinger
aoplinger@niaid.nih.gov
301-402-1663
NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

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