Prof. Mehr Ramit
My group performs research in computational immunology. We use mathematical models, computer simulations and bioinformatical analyses, in order to understand the dynamics of lymphocyte repertoires in the immune system. The immune response involves cells of various types, including B, T, and NK lymphocytes expressing a large diversity of receptors which recognize foreign antigens and self-molecules. The various cell types interact through a complicated network of communication, regulation and control mechanisms. This is what enables the immune system to perform the functions of danger recognition, decision, action, memory, and learning. The dynamics of immune cell repertoires are, as a result, highly complex and non-linear. My lab members develop various theoretical tools - mathematical models, computer simulations, and novel bioinformatical methods - in order to analyze the dynamics of the immune system in various situations and predict the results of experimental and medical interventions.
Examples of recent and current research topics:
1) Models and simulations of the dynamics of the development of T and B lymphocytes, the rearrangement of B cell and T cell antigen receptor genes, and subsequent selection, which is based on receptor-ligand interactions.
2) Models for the development of the natural killer (NK) cell repertoire, from receptor gene expression to selection of functional, non-harmful cells.
3) Studies of the competition between B lymphocyte clones during the humoral immune response, the process of hypermutation, and the creation of memory cells, including the explanation of the phenomenon of repertoire shift, isotype switch, and graph-theoretical analysis of B lymphocyte immunoglobulin gene phylogenetic trees.