Physical Chemistry/Chemical Physics Seminar: Mehran Kardar, MIT

Title: Diversity, tolerance, and maturation of the adaptive immune response

The adaptive immune system protects the body from the ever-changing landscape of foreign microorganisms. The two arms of the adaptive immune system, T cells and B cells, mount specific responses to pathogens by utilizing the diversity of their receptors, generated through hypermutation. T cells recognize and clear infected hosts when their highly variable receptors bind sufficiently strongly to complexes formed with antigen-derived peptides displayed on the cell surface. To avoid auto-immune responses, a process of "Thymic Selection" ensures that only self-tolerant receptors (binding weakly to self peptides) are engaged.  B cells generate antibodies that strongly bind and inactivate antigens (toxic targets). Potent antibodies are generated through the process of “Affinity Maturation" which is akin to evolution at a rapid pace. Methods from Statistical Physics can be used to model and elucidate these processes, as will be demonstrated through several examples.

Scheduling contact, Kayla Jones.

Friday, April 19, 2019 at 4:00pm

JILA, JILA Auditorium B331
1900 Colorado Avenue, Boulder, CO 80309

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Research & Innovation, Outreach & Engagement


Students, Faculty, General Public, Parents/Families

College, School & Unit

Arts & Sciences


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