Mathematical Models of Immune Memory and Vaccination

Start: 04/02/2014 - 1:15pm
End  : 04/02/2014 - 2:15pm

Applied Math Seminar

Courtney Davis (Pepperdine University)


My work uses mathematical modeling to investigate dynamics of immunity and, in particular, the establishment and maintenance of immune memory.  I will discuss two biological questions and the mathematics that we have developed and used to address them.  The first question arises from experimental evidence that constraints on the total number of memory T-cells between infections require that some memory to past infections be eliminated to make room for memory to new infections.  We use Markov models and probabilistic calculations to examine memory longevity and to quantify how existing immunity changes as a result of new infections. 

Our second question asks what key immune and bacterial components should be targeted to create an effective vaccine against the bacteria ShigellaShigella, a member of the same family as E. coli, causes 1.1 million deaths every year, mostly in children in developing countries.  No vaccine exists for Shigella despite decades of research and clinical trials, in part because the key immune interactions responsible for conferring immunity against Shigella are not known.  I will describe how we are using delay differential equation models to search for promising Shigella vaccine targets.

CGU, Math South Conference Room, 710 N. College Ave