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Mathematics used to discern immune response to infectious diseases

mune cells recruited to the lung and identify the particular genes expressed and the molecules produced in response to infection. A combination of mathematical and animal models will be employed to test different vaccine and therapeutic strategies, including a novel approach that aims to enhance immune response through certain proteins called cytokines.

"Mathematical modeling has tremendous potential to help improve the safety and efficacy of vaccines as well as to facilitate prediction of outcomes and prevention and treatment of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. One of the advantages of generating a computerized mathematical system that mimics how our immune system responds to specific pathogens is its use for conducting meaningful studies with minimal use of the infectious agents themselves," explained Dr. Morel.

Studies focused on developing models of the immune response to TB will be headed by JoAnne L. Flynn, Ph.D., department of molecular genetics and biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Denise Kirschner, Ph.D., a mathematician in the department of microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan.

Gerard J. Nau, M.D., Ph.D., also of the School of Medicine's department of molecular genetics and biochemistry, will lead the project modeling the immune response to tularemia. That project also includes the University of Michigan's Dr. Kirschner and Dr. Ta'asan from Carnegie Mellon.

Modeling of flu virus infection and immunity will be undertaken by Ted M. Ross, Ph.D., division of infectious diseases, department of medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Dr. Ta'asan of Carnegie Mellon.

At Pitt, Dr. Morel is leading a project focused on modeling the innate immunity of the lung, which also includes from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Dr. Nau; Russell Salter, Ph.D., department of immunology; and Takis Benos, Ph.D., department of computational biolo
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8-Dec-2005


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