Modeling Mucosal Immunity

Summer School & Symposium in Computational Immunology, June 9-13, 2014


BLACKSBURG, Va., January 31, 2014 – The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech is proud to be hosting this year’s Modeling Mucosal Immunity (MMI) Summer School Program and Symposium on June 9-13, 2014. The program is sponsored by VBI’s Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens (MIEP) and is intended for experimental immunologists who wish to gain or expand their understanding of the computational modeling tools used to study immune responses. “Mathematical and computational models cannot replace experimentation, but they can provide a framework for organizing existing data, generating novel mechanistic hypotheses, and deciding where to focus key validation experiments in time and space. MIEP has built new types of mathematical and computational models that reveal novel mechanisms of immune regulation in the gut mucosa during enteric infection. The MMI Summer School and Symposium will provide a window into such promising computational modeling approaches. Participants will learn how they can use these tools for their own experiments and bring their studies to the next level,” said Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, Professor of Immunology at VBI and Director of MIEP. [More ...]


Novel Possibilities for Helicobacter pylori Treatment

New Computational Model Reveals Novel Possibilities for Helicobacter pylori Treatment


BLACKSBURG, Va., September 10, 2013 – A new computational model developed by researchers at the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens (MIEP), Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI), offers new ways to study host immune responses to Helicobacter pylori. Using the model, MIEP researchers identified an abnormal immune response linked to development of lesions during H. pylori infection of the stomach. Their findings may help clinicians pinpoint how best to treat such infections. “This large-scale computational model of host responses to H. pylori infection combines cutting-edge approaches in computational modeling and experimental research to help elucidate immune responses to H. pylori,” said Dr. Raquel Hontecillas, Co-Director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) and MIEP. H. pylori is a bacterium that lives in the human gut and sometimes causes ulcers and cancers. Currently, doctors treat H. pylori infections with antibiotics that destroy the bacteria. However, H. pylori also can protect against diseases such as asthma, obesity and diabetes. Understanding how a harmless bacterial population becomes virulent and leads to disease has been difficult, but the computational model developed by MIEP researchers has led to new insights. [More ...]


New Pig Model of Helicobacter pylori Infection

New pig model developed to study immune responses to Helicobacter pylori infection

h pylori

BLACKSBURG, Va., August 31, 2013 – Researchers at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) have developed a new large animal model to study immune system interactions with the stomach bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The researchers describe their pig model in Infection and Immunity. H. pylori is found in over half the world’s population. While most people do not develop disease, some experience chronic inflammation of the stomach, or gastritis, which can lead to development of ulcers or cancer. In addition to its role as a pathogen, H. pylori has beneficial effects. Researchers have found that H. pylori can prevent certain chronic inflammatory and metabolic diseases, while the absence of the bacterium may contribute to obesity and type II diabetes. Recently, scientists found H. pylori inside human immune cells. When pathogens reside within host cells, the immune system typically recruits a specific type of T cells, called CD8+ cytotoxic T cells, to help clear the infection by destroying infected cells. Researchers have found higher numbers of cytotoxic T cells in patients with H. pylori-associated gastritis, indicating that these cells may contribute to the development of gastric lesions. [More ...]


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