What is HITI?

Our Mission

The Harvard Institute of Translational Immunology is a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional entity created to:

  • Foster collaboration among Harvard faculty conducting research in immune- and inflammatory-mediated diseases.
  • Promote clinical translation of discoveries in basic immunology.
  • Provide training opportunities in translational research for young investigators.

Engaging New Voices and Incentivizing Collaborative Research

HITI is designed to engage new or neglected voices in a research enterprise aimed at answering pivotal questions about human diseases:

  • Patients and families have an exceptional ability to pinpoint the most important questions—for example, the onset, recurrence, and progression of their illnesses.
  •  “Outsiders” (often distinguished investigators in fields that seem unrelated to disease questions) may in fact hold the critical missing piece of a disease puzzle.

Unconventional teams add new voices to the conversation and bring together researchers who have never met, who may work in different institutions or fields, and whose chemistry often produces unforeseen insights.

We created HITI’s pilot grant program in order to elicit these voices and create a new workforce to ask and answer unorthodox, “game changing” questions about immunologic and inflammatory diseases.   See our Disease-focused Programs for details of recently completed pilots, and HITI RFAs for open grant opportunities.

What HITI wants to accomplish

Through our Disease-focused Programs, HITI will identify new ways of treating immunological and inflammatory diseases.  We will:

  • Make new inroads in diseases long known to be immune-mediated, such as Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, allergy and asthma.
  • Capitalize on new technological advances to elucidate the immune system’s role in a broad range of diseases.
  • Advance our knowledge about diseases in which chronic inflammation plays a fundamental role by applying immunologic knowledge, methods, and tools to diseases such as: obesity-related Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fibrosis in the lungs and other tissues, macular degeneration, neurodegenerative diseases, and chronic viral infections.