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Grants for clinical and translational research projects. Pilot Funding

Systems Immunology Pilot Project Grants

At a glance
Sponsoring Program
  • NIAID U19 Grant
Funding level
  • Up to $75,000, direct costs, for one year
  • Assistant professors, associate professors, or professors at Harvard University or MIT
  • See RFA and FAQ for additional information.
Application Due
  • 5:00pm on August 14, 2018
The application process is closed.
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The overarching goal of the Systems Immunology U19 Program, led by principal investigators Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD, Harvard Medical School, and Nick Haining, BM, BCh, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is to use forward genetic screens in mice to advance our understanding of innate and adaptive immune responses to pathogens. This program is driven by our recent development of an inducible CRISPR-Cas9 based system that enables forward genetic screens in mouse immune cells in vivo or in vitro. This platform is coupled with systems level analysis of single-cell gene expression profiles to identify new genes, pathways, and mechanisms that control innate and adaptive immune responses to acute infection and vaccine adjuvants. We will use single-cell RNA-seq and computational modeling to nominate candidates to perturb functionally in genetic screens. Then, we will test thousands of potential regulators in pooled CRISPR-Cas9 based forward genetic screens in mice. These studies will be complemented by comprehensive analysis of novel candidate regulators in mouse infection models and human cells.

The goal of this pilot grant program is to develop innovative assays that can be deployed in our CRISPR platform to identify novel regulators of immune responses to acute infection and/or to develop computational approaches for analyzing single cell data. These grants will provide support for generating preliminary data for future applications for independent research support.

Applicants may submit proposals with requests for up to $75,000.


  • Stimulate innovation in two main areas:
    • New and innovative assays that could be deployed in an in vivo or in vitro CRISPR screening platform to understand innate and adaptive immune responses triggered by pathogens, adjuvants, or vaccines. These might include new methodologies or cell phenotypes for screens.
    • The development of new tools, reagents, and computational methods to generate better single cell data and to analyze the data arising from the U19 projects.
  • Support research initiated by early career investigators

Application Opens: July 2, 2018
Application Due: August 10, 2018
Awardees Announced: Mid-September, 2018
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