Request for Information (RFI): Input on the Development of a Resource/Framework to Support Interoperability of Computational Models of Immunity

Notice Number: NOT-AI-13-064

Key Dates
Release Date: September 11, 2013
Response Date: October 11, 2013

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)


This is a Request for Information (RFI) only and does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will take procurement action in this matter. This is NOT a solicitation for proposals, applications, proposal abstracts or quotations. The purpose of this RFI is to obtain knowledge and information to assess the current state of the science. Further, neither DHHS/NIH/NIAID nor the government will be responsible for any cost incurred in furnishing this information.

NIAID is seeking information from computational modelers and immunologists about creating a computational framework to allow for the integration of stand-alone (discrete) models of immunity into more complex models to increase our understanding of immune system dynamics and regulation, including responses to infectious or immune-mediated diseases.


The NIAID supports research to understand, treat and ultimately prevent the myriad infectious and immunologic diseases that threaten millions of human lives. Computational modeling of immunity fills a key need in providing immunologists with tools and analytical concepts to guide in the gathering and analysis of immunological data and to provide new insights into immune system function.  The application of computational models to immunology has contributed to our understanding of antibody production and maturation, T cell signaling, T cell development and differentiation, generation and maintenance of immunological memory, and host-pathogen interactions. Predictive computational models of host immunity to infection or vaccination in humans have also been developed, through comparison of results from in vivo and in vitro animal studies with in vitro or in vivo human studies. Many of the computational models developed to date have examined singular components of immune responses at scales ranging from molecular to cellular and organ system. This request for information focuses on preserving the progress made in multiple discrete models while synergizing their impact by integration. We would like to determine the feasibility of creating a computational framework that would allow coupling of models at different scales or models examining different components of immunity on a single scale into a coherent system to study immunity at various granularities and determine the standards for a new computational modeling framework in which studies at different granularities can be performed. With this goal we seek a greater understanding of the information required to integrate models, which may have been constructed on different software platforms, or using different programming languages. It is also of interest if the process of model coupling can be automated when the underlying model architectures are compatible.

Information Requested

NIAID seeks a greater understanding of the following:

  • Feasibility of and processes required to integrate computational models that may have been constructed on different software platforms or using different programming languages;
  • Feasibility of and methods required to develop a generalizable and interoperable process of model coupling/integration for pre-existing and to-be-developed computational models of immunity;
  • Feasibility of and process required to develop generalizable and/or modular models that can be applied to study immunity in different molecular systems and cellular environments;
  • Types of methods and standards needed to improve sharing of computational models of immunity with the broader scientific community such as, but not limited to, model annotation methods to facilitate the use and reproducibility of a particular computational model; and
  • Potential value/impact on the field of immunology of developing methods to integrate computational models and to improve the availability of computational models to the broader research community.

Disclaimer and Important Notes

This Notice does not obligate the Government to award a contract or otherwise pay for the information provided in response. The Government reserves the right to use information provided by respondents for any purpose deemed necessary and legally appropriate. Information provided may be used to assess tradeoffs and alternatives available for the potential requirement and may lead to the development of a solicitation. Respondents are advised that the Government is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of the information received or provide feedback to respondents with respect to any information submitted.

Any solicitation resulting from the analysis of information obtained will be announced to the public in Federal Business Opportunities in accordance with the FAR Part 5. However, responses to this Notice will not be considered adequate responses to a solicitation.

Confidentiality: No proprietary, classified, confidential, or sensitive information should be included in your response. The Government reserves the right to use any non-proprietary technical information in any resultant solicitation(s).

Submitting a Response

All responses must be submitted by October 11, 2013, either by phone, email or hard copy. Please include the Notice number NOT-AI-13-064 for email and hard copy correspondence. Response to this RFI is voluntary. Responders are free to address any or all of the categories listed above. The submitted information will be reviewed by the NIH staff.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Timothy A. Gondré-Lewis, Ph.D.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
6610 Rockledge Drive, Room 6222
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-6601
Phone: 301-496-7551