Modeling Immunity for Biodefense

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Program Overview

The NIAID Modeling Immunity for Biodefense (MIB) program brings together immunologists, microbiologists, bioinformaticians, and modelers to advance our understanding of the complex immune mechanisms triggered by infection and/or vaccination. The four MIB centers, all using influenza as a model system, will develop and apply computational models of immunity, coupled with immunological experimentation to validate and improve the utility and robustness of the models. Resources developed by the program are freely available to the research community.

MIB also supports an annual summer school and symposium to introduce immunologists to modeling techniques and to explain how modeling can enhance immunological research.

Awardees and Project-Generated Resources

In 2015, the MIB program awarded four U19 cooperative agreements. The organizations and principal investigators (PIs) include the following:

  1. Laboratory of Computational Immunology at Boston University—PIs: Thomas Kepler, Ph.D., and Garnett Kelsoe, D.Sc. (Duke University)
  2. Program for Research on Immune Modeling and Experimentation (PRiME) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine—PIs: Stuart Sealfon, M.D., and Fernand Hayot, Ph.D.
  3. Dynamics and Evolution of Immune Responses to Influenza Viruses at Emory University—PIs: Rustom Antia, Ph.D., and Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D.
  4. Structure-Based Design of Antibodies and Vaccines at Vanderbilt University—PIs: James Crowe, M.D., and Jens Meiler, Ph.D.

Data and modeling resources will be made available through the NIAID-supported ImmPort and/or the MIB center’s website.

Summer School and Symposium

The 2016 summer school, “Computational Immunology for Immunologists,” (June 20-23) and symposium, “Influenza Immunology: Data, Systems, and Models,” (June 24) will be presented by the PRiME Team and take place on the campus of Yale University. The summer school is intended for experimental immunologists and scientists who desire to learn how to use mathematical/computational models to address immunological questions. Computational biology and bioinformatics graduate students at the earliest stages of their studies are also welcome. No computational modeling experience is required. Please visit the 2016 Summer School website for more information and registration instructions. The registration deadline for summer school is March 25, 2016. The registration deadline for the symposium is June 21, 2016.

A limited number of travel awards are available for students, postdocs, faculty, and staff who wish to attend, with a preference for junior investigators, students, and postdocs. Travel award applications for the summer school and symposium are due March 25, 2016. Visit the Summer School website for details.

Leading researchers in the field will give lectures and lead hands-on labs, demonstrating the application of modeling techniques to immunology and infectious disease research.

Immediately following the summer school is the symposium on “Influenza Immunology: Data, Systems, and Models.” This symposium will cover recent advances in the development and application of systems biology approaches to understand influenza infection and vaccination at the molecular, cellular, organism, and population levels.

The goals of the symposium are to promote the use of mathematical/computational modeling approaches with integration of experimental data in immunology research and exchange research ideas and information on computational immunology in the Big Data era between the NIAID MIB network and other related networks/investigators.

Visit the 2016 Symposium website for more information, travel awards, and registration instructions.

Content last reviewed on January 4, 2016