IFI Pilot RFA on Immune Health

Penn Institute for Immunology

2022 Pilot Grant Program RFA on Immune Health


The Penn Institute for Immunology is announcing a pilot grant for research focused on Immune Health. The immune system is intrinsic to human health and disease, acting as a tightly regulated sensory system that balances internal and external factors to promote host survival. Individual people carry unique, stable immune profiles that are globally or transiently perturbed by lifestyle, pathogens, or other environmental factors. Connecting immune profiles and trajectories to health outcomes is key for promoting precision medicine and increasing our understanding of basic human immunology.  We are seeking pilot applications to explore the role of immune health in diagnosing, treating and/or preventing human disease.

Topics of high interest include, but are not limited to:

  1. Novel high dimensional human immune profiling around intervention of change in diseases states from existing or new clinical samples
  2. Novel technological innovation on how to measure features of human immune changes over time
  3. Delivering a novel way of linking medical record data to human immune function

Importantly, pilot grants that introduce new collaborations and are responsive to an upcoming RFA, future NIH Concept or other future funding mechanism will be given priority. A specific plan should be articulated on the immunological question that will be developed and executed.  It will also be important to describe how these studies will position the investigator(s) to compete more effectively for a future application and/or translated into potential future clinical opportunities.  The science remains a priority; however, it is important to emphasize how the proposed studies will develop a new line of investigation for the PI and how the results of these studies will be capitalized on in the future.

Important Dates:

Submission deadline for full applications:  May 13, 2022

Awards made by:    June 17, 2022

It is anticipated that 1pilots will be awarded.  Applications may request up to $100,000 in support for one year.


All faculty members of the Penn IFI are invited to submit proposals.

Full applications must be submitted by email to Kaitlyn Piazza (kbaraldi@pennmedicine.upenn.edu) by 13 May 2022

Full Application Instructions:

A single PDF should include the following:

  • Cover page: includes abstract of up to 250 words and list of approved or pending IACUC/IRB protocols [see attached cover page that should be included in each application].
  • Application (Aims, Significance and Innovation, Preliminary Results and Experimental Design). Limited to two pages including all preliminary data (excluding references; references can be on additional pages).
  • Applicants should include an additional half page section devoted to explaining how pilot funds will enable a strong, competitive application to a larger funding mechanism (e.g. multi-investigator NIH application)
  • NIH biographical sketch for each investigator
  • NIH other support for each investigator
  • Budget and justification: one year, up to a maximum of $100,000; one page only

Award Terms

1) Awardees are required to inform the IFI in the event that the Pilot/Feasibility Project receives external funding during the project period.

2) A final progress report is due one month after the close of the project period. The report will contain a one-page synopsis of scientific progress and a list of resulting collaborations, publications, and grants.

3) Awardees will provide interim reports concerning other support, resulting publications, and research activities for the IFI annual retreat and continuation applications.

 4) Awardees will also be required to present their work in some capacity at the 2023 IFI Year in Review. For additional information, please contact: Kaitlyn Piazza (kbaraldi@pennmedicine.upenn.edu)