The SunBEAm birth cohort: Protocol design

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

J Allergy Clin Immunol Glob


BACKGROUND: Food allergy (FA) and atopic dermatitis (AD) are common conditions that often present in the first year of life. Identification of underlying mechanisms and environmental determinants of FA and AD is essential to develop and implement effective prevention and treatment strategies. Objectives: We sought to describe the design of the Systems Biology of Early Atopy (SunBEAm) birth cohort.

METHODS: Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and administered through the Consortium for Food Allergy Research (CoFAR), SunBEAm is a US population-based, multicenter birth cohort that enrolls pregnant mothers, fathers, and their newborns and follows them to 3 years. Questionnaire and biosampling strategies were developed to apply a systems biology approach to identify environmental, immunologic, and multiomic determinants of AD, FA, and other allergic outcomes.

RESULTS: Enrollment is currently underway. On the basis of an estimated FA prevalence of 6%, the enrollment goal is 2500 infants. AD is defined on the basis of questionnaire and assessment, and FA is defined by an algorithm combining history and testing. Although any FA will be recorded, we focus on the diagnosis of egg, milk, and peanut at 5 months, adding wheat, soy, cashew, hazelnut, walnut, codfish, shrimp, and sesame starting at 12 months. Sampling includes blood, hair, stool, dust, water, tape strips, skin swabs, nasal secretions, nasal swabs, saliva, urine, functional aspects of the skin, and maternal breast milk and vaginal swabs.

CONCLUSIONS: The SunBEAm birth cohort will provide a rich repository of data and specimens to interrogate mechanisms and determinants of early allergic outcomes, with an emphasis on FA, AD, and systems biology.

PubMed ID