Human Immunomics Initiative

In Collaboration with the Harvard Chan School of Public Health

Protecting Aging Populations

The world is aging at an unprecedented rate and we are not prepared. By 2050 nearly 1.6 billion people will be over the age 65, creating widespread public health challenges. This aging of populations will dramatically increase the burden of non-communicable diseases and enhance our vulnerability to infectious disease threats driven by migration, antimicrobial resistance and climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted these challenges, as aging populations with co-morbidities face the greatest threat of severe disease.

The human immune system holds the key to improving human health, and within this single system lies an immense capacity to fight disease. Technological innovations are now allowing us to reimagine and reshape the future of public health by understanding and harnessing the immune system in new ways.

Taking on one of the great challenges in public health, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and the Human Vaccines Project are joining forces in the Human Immunomics Initiative (HII). The Initiative seeks to extend healthy life spans by determining the rules of human immunity central to protecting, treating and diagnosing disease in aging global populations.

Operating at the forefront of 21st century public health inquiry, the HII will merge large-scale cohort studies with advances in systems biology, bioinformatics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to determine the rules of engagement for effective immunity in aging populations. HII will bring together a world-class group of interdisciplinary scientists, clinicians and public health specialists across epidemiology, immunology, biostatistics and AI, and will be closely integrated with the Human Vaccines Project’s global consortium.

The HII will focus on large-scale, transformative, mission-driven science and require the integration of creative academic inquiry with industrial rigor and scale in its organizational structure, management and decision making. It will provide a dynamic pathway for a new generation of scientists applying new technologies to achieve its mission. Over the next five years, the HII will complete foundational human immunity studies on internationally recognized cohorts across three continents. By using frontier computing, causal inference methods, AI and machine learning, HII will define the rules of engagement of the human immune system in aging populations.

The HII represents a coming together of imagination and execution, technology and vision. It will drive an unprecedented understanding of human immunity, opening discovery of powerful new vaccines, therapies and diagnostics against some of the world’s most devastating diseases from Alzheimer’s, cancers, to emerging pandemics. The tools are in place, and with an unparalleled global consortium centered at the Harvard Chan School, achievement of HII objectives to identify predictive biomarkers of effective immunity in aging populations has the potential to transform the future of global health.

Be part of our ambitious project to ensure healthier, longer lives for everyone.

support

Our Team

Albert Hofman
M.D., Ph.D.

CHAIRMAN

Wayne Koff
Ph.D.

CEO

Ted Schenkelberg
M.B.A., M.P.H.

COO

Galit Alter
Ph.D.

PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE
AT HARVARD MEDICAL
SCHOOL

Sarah Fortune
M.D.

JOHN LAPORTE GIVEN
PROFESSOR OF
IMMUNOLOGY AND
INFECTIOUS DISEASES CHAI

Michael Mina
M.D., Ph.D.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
CENTER FOR
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE
DYNAMICS

Anita van der Biggelaar
Ph.D.

TELETHON KIDS
INSTITUTE

Julie Wu
Sc.D., M.S.

RESEARCH SCIENTIST
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
EPIDEMIOLOGY

Executive Team

Albert Hofman
M.D., Ph.D.

CHAIRMAN