Project Summary

The Human Immunology Project Consortium (HIPC) is a multicenter collaboration between research centers performing large-scale human immunology studies that focus on profiling the human immune response to natural infection and vaccination. “Immune exposures” are events such as natural infection and vaccination whereby the immune system may or may not respond to the exposure. Many of the HIPC studies investigate the response of specific cell populations after a variety of immune exposures. In order to cross-compare results from the many different centers and projects, we established a standardized representation of immune exposures and cell descriptions that simplifies data collection. By standardizing how this data is collected and stored, the vast amount of data collected by these diverse projects is made significantly more useful and interoperable. The data collected by the HIPC projects is stored in the National Institute of Health, Division of Allergy, Immunology and Transplantation funded resource, the Immunology Database and Analysis Portal (ImmPort). ImmPort was modified to provide the necessary structured data fields to capture our standardized representation of immune exposures and studied cell populations with a set of data fields that primarily utilize formal ontology terms. We will discuss the process of modeling immune exposures and cell populations via ontology terms, including real life scenarios from HIPC projects, as well as collaborations with existing ontology projects in order to meet the specific needs of immunologists.