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Alan Rendall: Using mathematics to improve understanding of T cell activation

Time: Tue 2019-03-12 15.15

Location: Room 3418, Lindstedtsvägen 25, 4th floor, Department of Mathematics, KTH

Participating: Alan Rendall (University of Mainz)

Our immune system is responsible for protecting us from dangers such as
pathogens, toxins and cancer. T cells are a class of white blood cells which
play a central role in the control of this complex system. In this talk I
discuss how mathematical models, in particular those defined by systems of
ordinary differential equations, can be used to improve understanding of how
the activity of T cells is switched on and off. I mainly focus on the
process in which a T cell distinguishes between foreign and host proteins during
the first few minutes after encountering them. I also discuss relations between this
subject and cancer immunotherapy, the theme of the 2018 Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine. In that context the goal is to understand the
mechanisms by which cancer cells switch T cells off and find ways of
interrupting these mechanisms.