Notice of Intent to Publish a Funding Opportunity Announcement for Pediatric Research using Integrated Sensor Monitoring Systems (PRISMS): Informatics Platform Technology Centers for Asthma (U54)

Notice Number: NOT-EB-15-005

Key Dates
Release Date: February 19, 2015

Estimated Publication Date of Announcement: March 2015
First Estimated Application Due Date: May 2015
Earliest Estimated Award Date: September 2015
Earliest Estimated Start Date: September 2015

Related Announcements

Issued by
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)


The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) intends to promote a new Program by publishing three Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) to solicit applications for research on the development of sensor-based health monitoring systems for pediatric asthma.

Accumulating evidence is pointing toward exposures in the modern environment as contributors to the etiology and severity of many pediatric health care problems such as asthma, cancer, and childhood obesity coupled with Type 2 diabetes. Despite recent gains in knowledge of environmental contributions to the causation of chronic disease in children, major questions about the impact of the environment on children's health remain unanswered due to lack of exposure metrics.

Asthma is a common condition of childhood currently affecting approximately 7 million children in the United States or 9.3% of the pediatric population. It is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the lower respiratory track airways prone to acute exacerbations secondary to a variety of triggers including, but not limited to, infections, pollens, smoke, mold, chemicals, etc. Encouragingly, mortality rates secondary to asthma appear to be decreasing, however its morbidity in children remains substantial. Data suggest that asthma is the third most common cause for hospitalization in children less than 15 years. It is a leading cause of school absenteeism with more than 14 million lost school days in children who had an asthma exacerbation in the previous year.

Significant disparities exist among children with asthma. For example, racial and ethnic disparities exist with African American and Puerto Rican children incurring a disproportionate part of the burden. Moreover, children from lower socioeconomic conditions also tend to be disproportionately affected. In a recent report, the prevalence rate of asthma among children whose health status was described as fair or poor was 37% compared to only 15% among those defined as being in good health and 7.5% in those with a very good or excellent health status.

Recent technological advances in wearable and non-wearable sensors, microelectronics integration and miniaturization, low-power electronics, wireless networking, mobile computing, and cloud computing offer new ways to collect and interpret data on environments, behaviors, physiology, and health.

The development and use of an array of sensors to collect real life environmental and physiological data among pediatric patients could enable the rigorous testing of many hypotheses about environmentally-related chronic pediatric illnesses such as asthma. Sensors can be coupled with wireless communications, data treatment algorithms, and visualization tools, for a robust integrated health monitoring system.

The work required to develop health monitoring systems to study pediatric asthma will be accomplished using three related FOAs to create the Pediatric Research using Integrated Sensor Monitoring Systems (PRISMS) Program. One FOA (this notice, NOT-EB-15-005) will fund U54 Centers to create new informatics platforms that will support smart phones that collect data from multiple sensors, analyze the data, present data to the user in age appropriate ways, compile personalized health status information, and securely upload data over the Internet to a data center. A second FOA (this Notice, NOT-EB-15-006) will support a Data and Software Coordination and Integration Center (U24) that will coordinate and integrate outputs from the PRISMS Program. A third FOA (see NOT-EB-15-004) will fund the development of wearable and non-wearable wireless sensors for asthma that can monitor the users' environmental conditions, physiological signals, and activity and behavior and that will "plug and play", physically or wirelessly, into the informatics platform (see NOT-EB-15-005).

All three arms of the PRISMS Program will be expected to work very closely together to ensure functionality of the systems as a unit, as well as the individual projects.

This Notice is being provided to allow potential applicants sufficient time to develop meaningful collaborations and responsive projects.

The FOA is expected to be published in March 2015 with an expected application due date in May 2015.

This FOA will utilize the U54 activity code. More details of the planned FOA are provided below.

Research Initiative Details

The purpose of this funding opportunity is to solicit applications for the development of innovative informatics platforms that will be part of a larger sensor-based health monitoring system for research on a chronic pediatric disease with significant environmental determinants; asthma .

The platforms are expected to consist of the following components: an open-source informatics platform that is both smart phone and computer enabled. The platform team will develop software for the system and standards for acquiring data from sensors, as well as software for visualizing information by all of the system users. The platform developers will also create a participant identity module hardware and/or software that will identify the participant to all sensors and permits user transparent identification of identity, time, and location from all sensor data. The system should be developed so that as many components as possible will be being available as open source.

In the PRISMS system, the use of the informatics platform will be to study environmental, physiological, and behavioral factors associated with or risks for asthma. An investigator for the sensors being developed in the companion announcement for Sensor Development Projects (U01s) in the PRISMS Program would use the platform to send data they collect on pollens, secondary smoke, medication use, exercise, and simple pulmonary function tests. The platforms would provide feedback and instructions to the user, visualize the information after collecting data from the various sensors, and transmit data to the data center. Utilizing the software developed by the platform team, the sensor investigators will have control of all aspects of the experimental design including how and when different samples are taken, how data is processed, and what information and instructions are given to the user. The platform will provide standards to promote interoperability among the sensors and create best practice for instructions and feedback. The platform will also have responsibility for creating standards so that the identity, time, and location of information are included in all data records.

The Informatics Platform will be a major component of the Pediatric Research using Integrated Sensor Monitoring Systems (PRISMS) Program described above.

This Notice encourages investigators with expertise and insights into this area of science, engineering, and informatics, together with clinical expertise in pediatric asthma, to begin to consider applying for this new FOA.



Please direct all inquiries to:

Christine A. Kelley, Ph.D.
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering
Telephone: 301-451-4778