Joint ICTP/SISSA Statistical Physics seminar: "A statistical mechanics perspective on immune networks"
Starts 21 Feb 2012 11:30
Ends 21 Feb 2012 20:00
Central European Time
Leonardo da Vinci Building Luigi Stasi Seminar Room
Strada Costiera, 11
I - 34151 Trieste (Italy)
We present some recent investigations on systemic features of the immune system, based on a statistical mechanics approach. We first introduce a mean-field spin-glass model for the interaction between helper cells and the effector branches (B and K cells) able to reproduce, as emerging properties, several collective phenomena shown in real immune networks (e.g. the connection between autoimmunity and lymphoproliferative disorders or the breakdown of immunosurveillance by lymphocyte unbalance). We also show that this system can be mapped into an associative neural network, where helper cells directly interact with each other and are able to orchestrate an immune response retrieving "strategies'' previously learnt. Then, we go beyond the fully-connected approximation by introducing dilution in the interactions between helpers and effectors and show that this makes the former able to retrieve parallel strategies to fight several pathogens simultaneously. That is to say, dilution, which is a biological requisite, results in multitasking capabilities.