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Modeling Immunity: 'Cranium'. 'Clue', or 'Trivial Pursuit'?

April 14, 2011

  • Date: Thursday, April 14, 2011
  • Time: 11:00 am — 11:50 am 
  • Place: Mechanical Engineering 218

Frederick T. Koster, MD
Associate Scientist, Infectious Diseases Program, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

From one biologist’s perspective, computational modeling of immunity may be the only practical solution to a quantitative understanding of the immune response as a Complex System. Vaccine development is very expensive and more efficient strategies must be found to identify safer and more efficacious vaccine candidates. Even more important may be the identification of fundamental principles behind the successful immune response through analysis of communication, networks and scaling. This seminar will illustrate the complexity of the immune response (without naming a single cell type or protein) and describe recent work to “deconstruct” the functional modules of the immune response.

Bio: Dr. Koster’s research interests center around emerging viral and bacterial diseases. With an interest and background in cellular immunology, he is focusing his research on the lymphocytes participating in the immunopathogenesis of Hantavirus Cardiopulmonary Syndrome (HCPS) and has investigated the cause of the lethal complication of hantavirus lung infection, cardiogenic shock, in the hamster model and has compared in vitro virus behavior among pathogenic and non-pathogenic hantaviruses. His current funded projects include in vitro dynamics of avian influenza viruses, viral dynamics of avian influenza viruses in the ferret model, and inhalation infection models of plague, anthrax and tularemia in nonhuman primates. These developed models are currently being used to test the efficacy of vaccine candidates and of post-exposure therapeutics in these Select Agent infections in nonhuman primates.