$17 million grant to aid study of immune system

Mark Davis, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology, and his colleagues have received a $17.1 million grant to characterize the human immune system under normal conditions and to learn how it changes following infection and vaccination. The grant was awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of the National Institutes of Health.

The award establishes the Stanford Human Immune Monitoring Research Center, which is one of six participating entities comprising a consortium that will receive $100 million over the next five years. The first year of the consortium’s operation will be funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Participants will pool samples collected from subjects, including people enrolled in clinical trials, children receiving routine vaccinations and patients with naturally acquired infections. They will use these samples to examine various aspects of the immune system, such as white blood cells, antibodies and signaling molecules after exposure to either infectious agents or the components of a vaccine, and will follow immune responses as they return to a resting state.

Davis, who is also director of Stanford’s Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection, is principal investigator on the grant as well as leader of one of its component projects. Additional project leaders include Andrew Fire, PhD; Jorg Goronzy, MD, PhD; Harry Greenberg, MD; Daphne Koller, PhD; and Paul Utz, MD. Davis is also the Burt and Marion Avery Family Professor of Immunology.

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