News and Announcements

Models of Helicobacter pylori infection reveal critical component in immune response

BLACKSBURG, Va., July 25, 2014 – A collaborative team of scientists from Virginia Bioinformatics Institute and Vanderbilt University has made steps toward understanding the immune response involved in Helicobacter pylori infection. Using a combined computational and experimental approach, they demonstrate how the cytokine interleukin-21 (IL-21) may play a key role in immune responses to H. pylori infection.  The study is published in the July issue of MBio. “Applying systems computer modeling allows us to predict which signaling pathways and T cell responses are impacted by IL-21. With this greater understanding, we can refine and better focus our experimental efforts,” said Holly Algood, assistant professor at Vanderbilt University and a lead researcher on the study. H. pylori naturally infects the gastrointestinal tract of approximately half the world’s population. The bacterium has been implicated in numerous gastric diseases, including ulcers, gastritis, and gastric cancer. However, many studies have suggested that H. pylori also plays a beneficial role, protecting against childhood allergies, childhood asthma, obesity, and diabetes. Although doctors currently use antibiotics to treat H. pylori-caused disease, some scientists argue that eradicating the bacterium might not be the best therapeutic option. In addition, over-use of antibiotics may result in development of antibiotic resistance, making the bacteria more difficult to treat. [More ...]

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 ...]


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