Math Biology Seminar: Anmar Khadra

  • Date: 05/07/2015
  • Time: 15:15
 Anmar Khadra, McGill

University of British Columbia


The biophysics of T-cells: From molecular interactions to population dynamics


One major scientific challenge in human health is developing effective vaccines to block T-cell responses in spontaneous autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes (T1D). The ability of these T cells to recognize host cells (e.g., insulin-secreting pancreatic β cells in T1D) and to exert cytotoxicity on self-tissue is dictated by the binding affinity (avidity) of T-cell receptors (TCR) with surface molecules on host cells, called peptide-major histocompatibility complexes (pMHC). Recent findings have shown that in T1D, and other autoimmune disorders, low-avidity autoreactive T cells spontaneously differentiate into memory autoregulatory T-cells that can blunt autoimmunity. These autoregulatory T cells can be selectively expanded using nanovaccines, or nanoparticles (NPs) coated with pMHC, in a PMHC-density- and dose-dependent manner. By using multistep Markov models and continuum avidity model of T cells, one can optimize the efficacy of NPs and identify the causes of abnormalities exhibited by this system. In this talk, we will present our recent work deciphering the kinetics of TCR-interaction with pMHC-coated NPs, and elucidate the role of immunomodulation in altering disease dynamics.

Other Information: 

Location: Math 126