NIH/NIAID – Novel approaches to understand, prevent, treat, and diagnose coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) and other select endemic fungal infections (R01, R21 Clinical Trial Not Allowed)

December 3, 2018 by School of Medicine Webmaster

The following description was taken from the R01 version of the FOA.

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement is to support research activities that will contribute to the overall understanding of coccidioidomycosis, commonly known as Valley Fever, and other select endemic fungal diseases including histoplasmosis and blastomycosis.  This research opportunity encourages studies that address diverse scientific areas such as: 1) pathogenesis; 2) host response; 3) disease transmission; 4) natural history and environmental factors contributing to disease; 5) vaccines; 6) diagnostics; and 7) therapeutics; with the ultimate goal of advancing the field towards solutions for the improved detection, prevention and treatment of select endemic mycoses.


The most common endemic mycoses in the United States are coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever), histoplasmosis, and blastomycosis.  These important regional fungal diseases are caused by dimorphic fungi that occupy a specific ecological niche, are generally acquired through inhalation and unlike most fungal pathogens, can cause disease in healthy individuals.  Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) is a systemic infection caused by dimorphic fungi Coccidioides immitis and C. posadasii .  Clinical manifestations range from mild flu-like disease to severe disseminated infection that can require life-long therapy.  These soil-dwelling fungi are found in arid, desert-like conditions throughout the southwestern United States (primarily Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas and Utah), Mexico, Central and South America.  The incidence of infection has risen over the last several years; Valley Fever is endemic to California and Arizona where greater than 11,000 cases were reported in 2016. However, the disease is widely underdiagnosed, and these cases likely represent a fraction of the true number.

Specific areas of research interest

Specific areas of research interest are focused on coccidioidomycosis, histoplasmosis and blastomycosis and include, but are not limited to:

  • Improve understanding of biology, transmission and pathogenesis of infection:
    • Improve understanding of pathogenesis
    • Expand understanding of the pathogen life cycle, including the role of climate and geography, host factors, physical and environmental factors that contribute to disease
    • Improve genotypic and phenotypic characterization associated with adverse clinical outcomes, and host immunity
    • Expand understanding of speciation and impact on clinical outcome
  • Identify/characterize host responses required for protection:
    • Determine the interaction of innate and adaptive immunity in response to infection
    • Identify immune markers associated with reduced disease severity
    • Elucidate mechanisms of protective immunity vs. those that ameliorate symptomatic disease
  • Support rational design of Coccidioides and other select endemic fungal pathogen vaccines:
    • Identify immunogens that elicit broad protection
    • Advance new vaccine approaches into preclinical models that exploit emerging antigen design strategies, novel technologies, and/or platforms
    • Define mechanisms and correlates of vaccine-induced protection
    • Test adjuvants and alternative delivery methods to enhance breadth and durability of immunity
  • Develop novel therapeutics to clear infection
  • Identify biomarkers that could inform disease progression and contribute to rapid diagnostics

This FOA will not support projects focused on HIV/AIDS.

Note: This FOA uses the R01 grant mechanism, while the companion FOA, PA-19- 083, uses the R21 mechanism. Applicants with preliminary data and/or planning longer-term studies may wish to apply using the R01 mechanism. High risk/high payoff projects that lack preliminary data or utilize existing data may be most appropriate for the R21 mechanism.

Deadlines:  standard dates apply


Filed Under: Funding Opportunities