The ability to track parasites and cells in vivo in intact tissues
using novel imaging techniques is poised to enable important and
challenging questions to be addressed. In particular, recent advances
in two-photon microscopy and cell labelling have made it possible to
observe cell interactions in real time and in vivo. This approach
provides a significant step forward in experimental
immunology. However, our understanding of the complex four
dimensional behaviour (space and time) of B and T cells has remained
limited. The development of mathematical models to analyse and
simulate these cell interactions is essential to fully account for
the complexity of the immune responses. This initiative seeks to open
up a new pathway making use of mathematical modelling to study the
dynamic interactions of immune cells and pathogens. Understanding and
quantifying how the immune system works poses a ma jor scientific
challenge of vital importance to the immunology and medical research
community. This initiative combines concepts from immunology with
mathematics, physics and chemistry to tackle this challenge.
Objectives of the I2M Research Network
Develop the links and a common language between immunologists,
mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists and engineers to
address this new challenge in systems biology.
Develop a theoretical framework to model the behaviour of cellular
immune responses, learning from advances in stochastic modelling.
Develop a computational framework to simulate and analyse the
dynamical behaviour of cellular immune responses in different
immunological conditions, learning from advances in
systems and control engineering.
Assess, test and validate the proposed frameworks with experimental
Transfer ideas, experimental techniques, models and insight from the
biological, mathematical, physical, engineering and computational
communities to industry and conversely introduce ideas in these
scientific communities from industrial systems engineering experience.
Identification of antigen specific (red), IFNgamma producing (green) T
lymphocytes in B cell follicles (blue) in lymph nodes during induction
of Th1 immune responses in vivo.
(from Smith KM, Brewer JM, Rush CM,
Riley J, Garside P. In vivo generated Th1 cells can migrate to B cell
follicles to support B cell responses
J Immunol. 173 1640