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16 February, 2012

Workshop to look at methods of studying immune response and lymphocyte development
Vital to understanding immunodeficiency, autoimmune diseases or cancer

Lymphocyte
Lymphocyte

Jerusalem, February 16th 2012. -- The Institute for
Advanced Studies (IAS) at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem, in association with the Israel Science
Foundation and Bar-Ilan University, will host a
workshop examining methods for analyzing the
development and evolution of lymphocytes.

The Lymphocyte Repertoire Workshop, which runs
from February 19 to 23, will feature diverse experts
including mathematicians, medical doctors,
theoretical biologists and applied biologists.

Lymphocytes are white blood cells that help the
immune system fight infections and protect the
human body against disease. There are three main
types: T cells, B cells, and NK or “natural killer” cells.
Each type of lymphocyte comprises a wide range of
cells with diverse characteristics and abilities called a
''repertoire''. Studying their development and activity is
vital to understanding the immune response in
healthy people and, conversely, in people suffering
from immunodeficiency, autoimmune diseases or
cancer.

''We need to examine hypotheses regarding immune
activity and try to predict the outcomes of different
medical treatments and new types of vaccines,”
explains the workshop's organizer, Prof. Ramit Mehr
from the Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University.
“Therefore we must develop models and methods
that will allow us to organize the data and extract
meaningful information that will help us improve
healthcare delivery.''' The workshop will present
methodological innovations that can meet these
needs, and new insights into the function of the
immune system.

Among the presenters is Prof. Thomas B. Kepler of
Duke University and Boston University in the United
States, who will present a study in which he closely
observed the immune response to influenza. The
research produced significant insight into the way the
immune system improves the affinity of antibodies to
a viral protein.

Also presenting is Prof. Francesca Chiodi of the
Karolinska Institute in Sweden, whose study deals
with changes caused by the HIV virus in the B
lymphocyte repertoire, responsible for creating
antibodies. These changes are similar to changes in
the immune system when the body ages, but the HIV
virus accelerates the process.

Presenters hail from Australia, France, Israel, Italy,
Sweden, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and
the United States, among other countries.

The workshop will take place at the Maison de France
on the Edmond J. Safra Campus in Givat Ram.

Workshop website:
http://immsilico2.lnx.biu.ac.il/WORKSHOP/Workshop.
html


 

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