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First IDF Research Grant Awarded

February 1, 2017

IDF is pleased to announce that the first IDF Research Grant has been awarded to Sonia Sharma, PhD of La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. The IDF Research Grant was established in 2015 to help fund research to improve the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of persons living with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI).

Sonia Sharma, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cellular Biology at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology and Director of the Functional Genomics Center in La Jolla, CA. Dr. Sharma leverages her strong background in innate immunity and functional genomics to study the emerging importance of cell-intrinsic innate immune responses to infection and cancer. Her research focuses on using unbiased, genome-scale RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 approaches to further understand type I interferon signaling. She integrates cutting-edge genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, computational and translational approaches to define the key genetic mechanisms regulating cellular innate immunity, and determine how they impact human health and disease.

Dr. Sharma’s research application focused on the link between XMEN disease and potential defects in innate immunity. Individuals with XMEN immunodeficiency are prone to persistent infections from various bacteria and viruses – the impact of this disease on the immune system are not yet fully understood. Dr. Sharma intends to use the grant from IDF to further advance the research and hopes it leads to new understandings and treatment options. “Every penny is going into the study of the disease,” says Dr. Sharma. Dr. Sharma’s team includes a researcher who has experience with immunology, pathological immunity, and cancer immunity. “It’s really who is sitting at the bench – someone who is specialized in immune cells.”

“It felt right,” said Dr. Sharma when speaking about why she applied for a grant through IDF.

IDF was able to create this research grant from funds raised through IDF Walk for Primary Immunodeficiency, a national initiative in which walks are held in cities across the country and supported by thousands of generous participants and sponsors, raising more than $2 million since 2013.

IDF is offering another research grant and inviting applicants to submit a request to support well-defined research projects that have a specified benefit for improving the treatment, health, disease management or diagnosis of persons with PI. Consideration will also be given to studies that contribute to the body of medical knowledge in PI.

Grant applications must be submitted by February 22, 2017. The program award value is up to $25,000 (a somewhat higher level of support is available for a few exceptional proposals).

To apply, please visit:

If you have any questions about the application process, contact IDF: or 800-296-4433.

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