Emory University

Emory University
Project #:2-U19-AI-090023-06

Title: System Biological Analyses of Innate and Adaptive Responses to Vaccination

PI: Bali Pulendran

Emory University

Primary Projects IOF Projects

Research performed in our HIPC center has used systems biological approaches to probe the nature of the immune response to vaccination in humans. This work has defined molecular signatures that predict the magnitude of the immune response to vaccination against infections such as yellow fever and influenza, and has provided proof of concept evidence of the utility of systems approaches in predicting immunity to vaccines. In addition, such studies are yielding important new insights about the workings of the immune system. These studies have mostly used healthy adults and two important vaccine target populations at the “extremes of age,” infants and the elderly, have not been examined in detail. In the current cycle of HIPC funding, we extend the systems vaccinology approach to these two target populations: infants (12-15 months old) and the elderly over 70 years. In particular, we will explore immunity to vaccination in these two populations, by studying immune responses to varicella zoster virus (VZV) and pneumococcal vaccination.

Herpes zoster (shingles), which is caused by VZV, affects several million people/year globally and is a significant public health concern for the elderly. Zostavax®, the currently licensed live VZV vaccine against zoster, has limited efficacy in subjects >70yrs old. An investigational recombinant glycoprotein E subunit vaccine (gE vaccine) has shown promising results in phase I trials but no comparative studies have been done with these two vaccines. In Aim 1 we will undertake a systems level analysis of innate responses induced by the live Zostavax® versus gE vaccine in the elderly, and identify molecular correlates of adaptive immunity (identified in Project 2). These studies will provide insight into the molecular networks driving immunity induced by these zoster vaccines. VZV also causes chickenpox in children and the live Varivax® vaccine is highly effective in preventing chickenpox yet there is a paucity of knowledge about the nature of innate and adaptive immunity to vaccination in the pediatric population.

In Aim 2 we will conduct a systems analysis of innate responses induced by Varivax® in infants and children, and define signature that predict adaptive immunity (Project 2). These studies in Aims 1 and 2 will provide new insights into understanding the immune response to the same vaccine at the two extremes of age.

Finally, in Aim 3, we will use systems vaccinology approaches to probe the immune response of transplant recipients to vaccination against pneumococcal diseases. Our proposed studies with this immunocompromised population that is at high risk against invasive pneumococcal disease could provide new guidelines for pneumococcal vaccination in transplant recipients. These studies will yield important new insights into the mechanisms underpinning vaccine-induced immunity in these special target populations, and help define molecular signatures that predict immunogenicity.

Primary Projects

System Biological Analyses of Innate Responses to Vaccination

Project Leader: Bali Pulendran

Institution: Emory University

System Biological Analyses of Adaptive Responses to vaccination

Project Leader: Rafi Ahmed

Institution: Emory University

Computational Core: System Biological Analyses of Innate and Adaptive Responses to Vaccination

Project Leader: Nick Haining

Institution: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Core: System Biological Analyses of Innate and Adaptive Responses to Vaccination

Project Leader: Mark J. Mulligan

Institution: Emory University

Data Management Core

Project Leader: Tinwei Yu

Institution: Emory University

IOF Projects

System Biology of immunity to Rotavirus vaccination in children

Project Leader: Bali Pulendran

Institution: Emory University

Systems analysis of the impact of the microbiome on immunity to vaccination in humans

Project Leader: Bali Pulendran

Institution: Emory University