The Sound Life Project

The goal of the Sound Life Project is to understand the diversity of the immune system outside the context of disease, and how people with different immune systems that still fall within the “normal” range might respond differently to things like infection or vaccination.

Conducted in collaboration with Dr. Jane Buckner, the Sound Life Project is a study involving 100 adults with no known chronic diseases who came in for 10 study visits over two years. They were enrolled in two cohorts based on their age, one cohort made up of people 25-35 years old and a second cohort made up of people 55-65 years old.

Sound Life Project Participants completed extensive surveys about their health history and lifestyle, submitted samples for standard clinical testing and deep immunological profiling at every visit, and completed weekly surveys updating us about their travel history and health. These extensive data have allowed us to ask interesting questions about healthy immune systems.

For example, we and others showed that healthy adult immune systems maintain stable baseline frequencies of many populations of circulating immune cells. We characterized this immune baseline for each Sound Life Project participant. Then we looked at moments when the participant’s immune system was challenged either in vivo by a vaccination or in vitro using stimulation assays. We characterized the response to these immune perturbations using cytometric and genomic techniques. We are now applying novel analytical methods to identify features of the immune baseline that can help define the heterogeneous response to perturbation.