History of the Cooperative Centers on Human Immunology

The CCHI program has supported many leading advances in immunology that impact our fundamental understanding of the human immune system. For example, recent studies have provided evidence that immune variability can be explained by non-heritable influences; multi-cohort analyses have identified common host signatures that can distinguish individuals with viral infections from bacterial infections or healthy controls; the gut microbiota has been shown to play a key role in antibody responses to vaccination; and Fc glycan modification of antibodies have been implicated in the regulation of the humoral immune responses in viral infections. Technological advances developed through CCHI support include: the application and further development of CyTOF to immunological research; development of Multiplexed Ion Beam Imaging (MIBI); Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin with high throughput sequencing (ATAC-seq); and methodologies enabling integration of information about T cell receptor (TCR) specificity with information about T cell function. In addition, CCHI has supported training in sophisticated technologies for researchers across the country.

The CCHI program was initiated in 2003 to foster research in human immunology. The original program goals were defined following recommendations from several expert panels convened to identify research needs in the area of biodefense. The current CCHI program supports the translation of immunology research into clinical applications in humans, primarily in the area of infectious diseases. 


The first funding announcements, RFA-AI-02-042 and RFA-AI-03-015, Cooperative Centers for Translational Research on Human Immunology and Biodefense, resulted in funding of 8 CCTRHIB sites:

  • Baylor Research Institute: Human Dendritic Cells and In Vivo Immunity to Biothreat
  • BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Inc.: Robust T-cell Immunity to Influenza in Human Populations
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: Orthopox immunization in patients with cancer or eczema
  • Emory University: Vaccine Induced Immunity in the Young and Aged
  • Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai: Center for Investigating Viral Immunity and Antagonism
  • Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: Molecular and Immunologic Analysis of the Pathobiology of Anthrax
  • Stanford University: Protective Mechanisms Against Pandemic Respiratory Virus
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester:  Cellular Immunity to Category A-C Viruses in Humans

The second RFA release, RFA-AI-08-014, Cooperative Centers for Translational Research on Human Immunology and Biodefense, resulted in 9 awards:

  • Baylor Research Institute: Harnessing Human DC Subsets for Improved Muscosal Vaccines
  • Emory University: Vaccine Induced Immunity in the Young and Aged
  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Mechanisms of Immune Failure in Chronic Infection: Hepatitis C as a Key Paradigm
  • Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: Molecular and Immunologic Analysis of the Pathobiology of Anthrax
  • Stanford University: Influenza Immunity:  Protective Mechanisms Against Pandemic Respiratory Virus
  • University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester: Cellular Immunity to Category A-C Viruses in Humans
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore: Mucosal Immunity; Vaccines and Microbiota Interplay in Humans and Animal
  • University of Rhode Island: Translational Immunology Research and Accelerated [vaccine] Development (TRIAD)
  • University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh: Center for Immunology of Emerging Infectious Diseases

RFA-AI-13-016 was the first release of the Cooperative Centers on Human Immunology, now known as the CCHI centers.  Awards were made to 6 sites: Emory University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Rockefeller University, Stanford University, and University of Maryland, Baltimore.

  • Emory University: Vaccine Induced Immunity in the Young and Aged
  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Reversal of Immune Failure With Viral Cure in Chronic HCV Infection
  • Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation: Molecular and Immunologic Analysis of the Pathobiology of Anthrax
  • Rockefeller University: Integrating Innate and Adaptive Pathways in Vaccine Responses
  • Stanford University: Adaptive and Innate Immunity, Memory and Repertoire in Vaccination and Infection
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore: Mucosal and Systemic Immunity, Vaccines and Microbiota Interplay in Humans