The Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource Program 2003–2018: reflections and outlook

Sheridan Martini*, Morten Nielsen, Bjoern Peters, Alessandro Sette

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Resource (IEDB) contains information related to antibodies and T cells across an expansive scope of research fields (infectious diseases, allergy, autoimmunity, and transplantation). Capture and representation of the data to reflect growing scientific standards and techniques have required continual refinement of our rigorous curation and query and reporting processes beginning with the automated classification of over 28 million PubMed abstracts, and resulting in easily searchable data from over 20,000 published manuscripts. Data related to MHC binding and elution, nonpeptidics, natural processing, receptors, and 3D structure is first captured through manual curation and subsequently maintained through recuration to reflect evolving scientific standards. Upon promotion to the free, public database, users can query and export records of specific relevance via the online web portal which undergoes iterative development to best enable efficient data access. In parallel, the companion Analysis Resource site hosts a variety of tools that assist in the bioinformatic analyses of epitopes and related structures, which can be applied to IEDB-derived and independent datasets alike. Available tools are classified into two categories: analysis and prediction. Analysis tools include epitope clustering, sequence conservancy, and more, while prediction tools cover T and B cell epitope binding, immunogenicity, and TCR/BCR structures. In addition to these tools, benchmarking servers which allow for unbiased performance comparison are also offered. In order to expand and support the user-base of both the database and Analysis Resource, the research team actively engages in community outreach through publication of ongoing work, conference attendance and presentations, hosting of user workshops, and the provision of online help. This review provides a description of the IEDB database infrastructure, curation and recuration processes, query and reporting capabilities, the Analysis Resource, and our Community Outreach efforts, including assessment of the impact of the IEDB across the research community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-76
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • T cell
  • B cell
  • Antibody
  • Epitope
  • Database
  • Epitope prediction tool

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