QuanTI Partners

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Aim and objectives

The aim of the ITN is to train quantitative immunologists to rise to the current challenge of developing the new science of Systems Immunology and exploiting its fundamental insights for medical benefit and potential industrial developments. Thus, the scientific programme in QuanTI will bridge from intracellular molecular regulation to the functional dynamics of lymphocyte populations during immune responses in vivo, in mouse and human. To develop a complementary and synergistic research programme, the proposed ITN will focus specifically on T cells in the periphery, and study in a coherent multi-scale framework: (i) the establishment and diversity of the T cell pool in the periphery, and (ii) the differentiation programme of T cell populations during adaptive immune responses.

To achieve these aims, QuanTI will combine academic and industrial training in both experimental and mathematical/computational methods of modern immunology.

The specific training objectives of the Network are:

  • to provide an inspiring and supportive environment for the training of early stage researchers (ESR) and for the further training of experienced researchers (ER) in Quantitative Immunology, in a multi-disciplinary andinter-sectorial environment;
  • to establish a broad programme of challenging research projects, that are both multi-disciplinary and intersectorial and lead to lasting and fruitful collaborations between the network partners;
  • to organise state-of-the-art scientific and complementary training events to provide ITN researchers with background and stimulation for research and to prepare them for employment both in academia and industry.

The specific scientific objectives of the Network are:

  • to anchor computational/mathematical modelling as an essential component of immunology: as a hypothesisgenerating and testing tool with the potential to generate new understanding to manipulate immune responses in health and disease;
  • to act as a platform for the development of a coordinated inter-sectorial initiative to model human immune responses in health and disease.

The specific socio-economic objectives of the Network are:

  • to develop suitable models towards the 3Rs objectives to reduce, refine and develop replacement strategies as alternatives to animal testing;
  • to generate knowledge that will be applied in health and medicine, to improve quality of life, ensuring that the results of biomedical research will ultimately benefit all citizens.

Research methodologies and approaches

A series of inter-related work packages (WPs) aimed at training 11 ESRs and 4 ERs and at transferring knowledge between partners will be the backbone of the research programme of QuanTI.  Given the expertise of the Network partners and the current challenges in Systems Immunology, we will:

  • use mathematical, statistical, bio-informatics and computational models to understand the behaviour of T-cells in the periphery
  • establishment of T-cells in the periphery and
  • differentiation programme of T-cells in the periphery

A summary of the mathematical, statistical and computational methodologies required by the different WPs is listed below:

  • Systems of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), existence of steady states and linear stability analysis (WP1, WP2, WP3, WP6).
  • Multi-variate competition stochastic Markov processes with and without absorbing states, existence of stationary probability distribution and van Kampen approximations (WP2).
  • In the case of multi-variate competition Markov processes with absorbing states, extinction probabilities, existence of limiting conditional distributions and expected times to extinction (WP2, WP3).
  • Multi-variate statistical analysis and parameter estimation (WP1, WP2, WP3, WP4, WP5, WP6).
  • Bio-informatics (WP3, WP4).
  • Non-Markovian branching processes (WP4, WP5).
  • Regulatory networks (WP6).

For each WP, the ITN provides a sufficient range of techniques and methodologies to guarantee that an able and diligent ESR can obtain an outstanding PhD, and a willing and able ER can provide new insights in quantitative T cell immunology. The supervisory team of each recruited researcher (ESR or ER) involves two senior scientists, from two different institutions, to provide flexibility, as well as additional and alternative support.

For the proposed WPs there are:

  • 11 projects for ESRs and intended as PhD projects over 36 months and
  • 4 projects for ERs and intended to be for 24 months.

All WPs include experimental and modelling components/methodologies, in which data will be used to test and validate mathematical and/or computational models.

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Funded by the EU
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Associated partners
Universidade de Vigo

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Last update: 11 June 2017