Since our founding, HIP has engaged in and supported a wide range of research to bring us closer to our ultimate goal of decoding and modeling the immune system.
Born Strong Initiative: Science has shown an indelible link between a mother’s immune system and the immune resilience of the baby. We know that by empowering the mother’s immune system before and during pregnancy, we can directly affect the baby’s immune resilience and alter the course of that baby’s health for life. The Born Strong Initiative, a partnership between HIP and the Telethon Kids Institute, is an ambitious series of research projects focused on finding ways to strengthen a mother’s immune system to positively impact the baby’s immune resilience. The initiative leverages advances in systems biology and artificial intelligence to deepen our understanding of maternal-fetal-newborn immunity to optimize immune resilience for both and change the trajectory of newborn health worldwide.
Coronavirus Vaccine Initiative: Coronaviruses are part of an exceptionally diverse family of viruses that represent a profound threat to human health, and viruses more virulent and deadly than COVID-19 may be waiting in the wings. The Human Immunome Project has been at the forefront of advocating for the development of a universal coronavirus vaccine that protects against viruses across the coronavirus family, and that can stop the next pandemic before it starts. HIP and its partners are undertaking some of the most in-depth vaccine studies yet conducted to understand how such vaccines protect, which work best for which populations, and how to improve vaccines to combat the next virus outbreak. In partnership with the Aurum Institute and CEPI, for example, HIP is evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of COVID-19 vaccine boost regimens in HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected adults, assessing whether each regimen adequately stimulates humoral immune responses in HIV-infected individuals.
Human Immunomics Initative: The world is aging at an unprecedented rate and we are not prepared. By 2050, nearly 1.6 billion people will be over the age of 65, creating widespread public health challenges. The aging population will dramatically increase the burden of non-communicable diseases and enhance our vulnerability to infectious disease threats. The Human Immunomics Initiative (HII), a partnership between HIP and the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, seeks to extend healthy lifespans by determining the rules of human immunity central to protecting, treating, and diagnosing disease in aging populations. HII merges large-scale cohort studies with advances in systems biology, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence to determine the rules of engagement for effective immunity within aging populations. It is working to complete foundational human immunity studies on internationally recognized cohorts across three continents.
INCENTIVE: A highly integrated consortium and partnership between European, Indian, and US groups to address the global health and economic challenges posed by influenza infections and reduce the worldwide burden from flu outbreaks. INCENTIVE’s strategic goals are to provide seminal knowledge on the underlying mechanisms of poor responsiveness to influenza vaccines in vulnerable individuals and to advance the development of two next generation universal influenza vaccines. This is achieved by pursuing the following objectives: 1) address the current knowledge gap by performing comprehensive immunome profiling of responders and non-responders to specific influenza vaccines to identify the underlying mechanisms of vaccine responsiveness in different vulnerable populations and ethnic groups; 2) advance the development of two next generation universal vaccines, including an antigen presenting cell-targeted nucleic acid vaccine up to proof-of-concept for vaccine efficacy in non-human primates, and a computationally-derived second generation COBRA (Computationally-Optimized Broadly-Reactive Antigens) vaccine up to clinical development, comprising a phase I trial in Europe, a phase II trial in India and efficacy studies using an influenza controlled human challenge model; 3) identify predictive biomarkers of responsiveness to vaccination to develop new diagnostics; 4) implement comprehensive technology transfer and harmonization activities for immunological analysis and data integration; and 5) perform a health systems and investment analysis, and discrete choice experiments to assess the suitability of the developed technologies for low- and middle-income countries and to identify potential downstream constraints that might affect uptake by healthcare systems.
Sequencing the Immunome: In 2019, HIP-affiliated researchers (then known as the Human Vaccines Project) successfully sequenced the B-cell receptor repertoire with Vanderbilt University and Scripps Research.