Researchers, including at IMES, will research ways to map immune systems and investigate how to make vaccinations most effective for pregnant patients and developing fetuses.

Researchers, including Alex Shalek, associate professor of chemistry, MIT, and a core faculty member at IMES; Galit Alter, a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and group leader at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard; Boris Juelg, principal investigator at the Ragon, and Douglas A. Lauffenburger, the Ford Professor of Engineering at MIT, have just been awarded a five-year, more than $12 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) to study the immunology of pregnancy. This is the first time in the grant’s 12-year history that a project on immunology of pregnancy has been funded.

The team’s project, the Maternal ‘Omics to Maximize Immunity (MOMI) study, will map a “Pregnancy Immune Atlas” that will give insight into optimal vaccination timing and reveal how immune system variations in pregnancy may lead to different health outcomes. The results of this work, conducted in collaboration with researchers from MGH, MIT, and Penn Medicine, will ultimately lead to healthcare improvements for pregnant individuals and babies.

The full press release from Penn Medicine is here.