The mission of the immune system is essentially "don't let in any intruders!" In the face of the number of self-molecular epitopes a human produces, and of the even larger number of non-self-antigens it encounters, this mission is easier stated than accomplished.
In terms of fitness, an immune system that triggers a full-blown response upon exposure to any non-self-antigen would be an evolutionary dead-end given its unsustainable energy cost. Humans have inherited a sophisticated system that operates well most of the time: intruders are kept at bay while innocuous visitors from the surrounding ecosystem (such as reproductive vectors from flowering plants) are appropriately disposed of without triggering a response. However, in some instances, the immune system fails, and can be deceived by confounding events. These glitches are to be blamed for autoimmune ailments, ineffective immunotherapies and adverse reactions to biologic-based therapies.
Qualitative narratives of the immune response do not account for the inter-individual variability with regards to autoimmune risk, lack of response to vaccination therapies and adverse response to a therapeutic antibody. This symposium will examine the behavior of the complex, dynamic network with interacting elements including leukocytes, cytokines, and chemokines, with an eye to defining an adequate or inadequate immune response.
*Reception to follow.
|Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)
The Systems Biology Discussion Group is proudly supported by
Mission Partner support for the Frontiers of Science program provided by