Mount Sinai researchers awarded $12 million N

Systems biology approach at new center

image: The graphic above illustrates the multi-omic, systems biology approach the new center is pursuing to study allergy development in early life.
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Credit: ©Mount Sinai Health System

New York, NY (January 25, 2023) – Mount Sinai researchers have been awarded $12 million over five years by the National Institutes of Health to create a center to elucidate novel causes of, and contributing factors to, food allergies and atopic dermatitis.

The Systems Biology of Early Atopy (SunBEAm) Analysis and Bioinformatics Center intends to develop a better understanding of allergy development. The center will apply systems biology to identify early-life markers of risk for food allergies and atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema), as well as biological pathways underlying these common conditions, through the profiling and analysis of longitudinal multi-omics data from a multi-center pre-birth cohort of 2,500 children.

Food allergies and atopic dermatitis are complex diseases that affect nearly 8 percent and 20 percent of children, respectively. Food allergies are frequently preceded by atopic dermatitis, suggesting shared risk factors and overlapping pathobiology.

“Individuals with food allergies are at daily risk for potentially life-threatening conditions, including hives, respiratory distress, and/or anaphylaxis following ingestion of a food antigen to which they are sensitized. And for those suffering from atopic dermatitis, they live with chronically inflamed skin that can cover a significant proportion of their bodies,” said Supinda Bunyavanich, MD, MPH, MPhil, Mount Sinai Professor in Allergy and Systems Biology and Principal Investigator of the Center.

“This funding enables us to create a center that will make a significant impact on allergy research. A systems biology approach where the biology of these common conditions is investigated comprehensively at several levels may help identify new knowledge about the development of allergies, ultimately helping us to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and clinical management of food allergies and atopic dermatitis,” said Dr. Bunyavanich.

The SunBEAm Analysis and Bioinformatics Center (NIH grant number 1UM1AI173380-01) includes investigators from Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Northwestern, and National Jewish Health. The SunBEAm birth cohort is a collaborative effort by investigators from 12 sites across the United States who are enrolling families for participation in this cohort study that follows parents and children from before birth through the child’s third birthday. SunBEAm is supported by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, and spearheaded by the Consortium for Food Allergy Research.

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About the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is internationally renowned for its outstanding research, educational, and clinical care programs. It is the sole academic partner for the eight-member hospitals* of the Mount Sinai Health System, one of the largest academic health systems in the United States, providing care to a large and diverse patient population.

Ranked 14th nationwide in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and among the 99th percentile in research dollars per investigator according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, Icahn Mount Sinai has a talented, productive, and successful faculty. More than 3,000 full-time scientists, educators, and clinicians work within and across 34 academic departments and 35 multidisciplinary institutes, a structure that facilitates tremendous collaboration and synergy. Our emphasis on translational research and therapeutics is evident in such diverse areas as genomics/big data, virology, neuroscience, cardiology, geriatrics, as well as gastrointestinal and liver diseases.

Icahn Mount Sinai offers highly competitive MD, PhD, and Master’s degree programs, with a current enrollment of approximately 1,300 students. It has the largest graduate medical education program in the country, with more than 2,000 clinical residents and fellows training throughout the Health System. In addition, more than 550 postdoctoral research fellows are in training within the Health System.

A culture of innovation and discovery permeates every Icahn Mount Sinai program. Mount Sinai’s technology transfer office, one of the largest in the country, partners with faculty and trainees to pursue optimal commercialization of intellectual property to ensure that Mount Sinai discoveries and innovations translate into healthcare products and services that benefit the public.

Icahn Mount Sinai’s commitment to breakthrough science and clinical care is enhanced by academic affiliations that supplement and complement the School’s programs.

Through the Mount Sinai Innovation Partners (MSIP), the Health System facilitates the real-world application and commercialization of medical breakthroughs made at Mount Sinai. Additionally, MSIP develops research partnerships with industry leaders such as Merck & Co., AstraZeneca, Novo Nordisk, and others.

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is located in New York City on the border between the Upper East Side and East Harlem, and classroom teaching takes place on a campus facing Central Park. Icahn Mount Sinai’s location offers many opportunities to interact with and care for diverse communities. Learning extends well beyond the borders of our physical campus, to the eight hospitals of the Mount Sinai Health System, our academic affiliates, and globally.

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* Mount Sinai Health System member hospitals: The Mount Sinai Hospital; Mount Sinai Beth Israel; Mount Sinai Brooklyn; Mount Sinai Morningside; Mount Sinai Queens; Mount Sinai South Nassau; Mount Sinai West; and New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai.

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