Johns Hopkins Researcher Receives NIA/ORWH Center Grant to Study How Age and Sex Impact Immune Responses to Influenza Vaccines

Dr. Sabra Klein, an associate professor in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s department of molecular microbiology and immunology, has received an $8 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how age and biological sex impact the immune responses to influenza vaccines.

Despite having antivirals and vaccines, influenza remains a significant public health threat, causing approximately 100,000 hospitalizations, 30,000 deaths, and approximately $7 billion in lost productivity each year in the United States alone. Sex and age are emerging as two host variables that significantly impact the pathogenesis of influenza virus infection and responses to influenza vaccines.

[Photo: Dr. Sabra Klein]

This Specialized Center Cooperative Agreement is being funded through the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Office on Research of Women’s Health (ORWH) for five years.

Dr. Klein’s team aims to transform women’s health and impact the development of and policy decisions about influenza vaccine programs, including universal influenza vaccines. Dr. Klein and her team will seek to understand the role of biological sex, gender, frailty and aging on immune responses to influenza vaccination, which has global public health implications, affecting millions of people worldwide.

Dr. Klein’s team will work closely with the Johns Hopkins Center for Influenza Research and Surveillance, the Johns Hopkins University Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, and the Johns Hopkins Center for Women’s Health, Sex, and Gender Research. In addition, Dr. Klein will collaborate with the Johns Hopkins Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health fellowship program, to promote career enhancement opportunities at Johns Hopkins related to sex and gender research.