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 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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