Vaccines represent the major success of immunology and have spared countless numbers of people from infections. Despite this success, we understand little about how effective vaccines stimulate protective immune responses. We surmise that understanding the modus operandi of vaccines in healthy people and understanding their shortcomings by studying hypo-responsive people will permit us to unravel the immunological principles of vaccination. Three vaccines will be studied in great detail: inactivated influenza vaccine and hepatitis B vaccine with either alum as the traditional adjuvant (Engerix) or with CPGoligonucleotide (Heplisav). We surmise that systems biology approaches will permit us to gain a comprehensive view of the immunobiology associated with a potent response to vaccination. This will lead to the identification of biomarker signatures indicative of the quality of vaccine-induced antibody responses. This, in turn, will facilitate the rational design and development of novel improved vaccines. Our preliminary studies performed with 24 healthy volunteers indicate that three commercially available vaccines: Fluzone (influenza), Pneumovax and Engerix alter the blood cell composition and transcriptome in completely different ways. These preliminary results support our proposed strategy. They demonstrate that the different vaccines, which are able to induce protective humoral responses, mobilize different immune effectors. We propose five highly integrated projects which will be supported by seven cores. Our key deliverables will include: i) Increased knowledge on vaccine-induced immune system alterations in dendritic cells, monocytes and T follicular helper cells;ii) Biomarkers of humoral immune responses;iii) An ex vivo assay for prediction of immune response to vaccination;iv) Tools to assess vaccine-activated cells;v) A systems biology analysis of two adjuvants: Alum and CPG-Oligonucleotides;vi) A systems biology analysis of the response to vaccine in patients with altered immune systems;and vii) An Immunochip, or focused microarray, for the assessment of vaccine immune efficacy.

Public Health Relevance

Vaccines represent the major success of immunology and yet we understand little about how effective vaccines stimulate protective immune responses. Our preliminary studies indicate that three commercially available vaccines alter the blood cell composition and transcriptome in completely different ways to induce protective immunity. We propose five highly integrated projects supported by seven cores to characterize vaccine-induced immune system alterations using a systems biology approach.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-QV-I (M2))
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Johnson, David R
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Baylor Research Institute
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