MENG 23300/33300 — Quantitative Immunobiology

The science of immunology was born at the end of the 19th century as a discipline focused on the body’s defenses against infection. The following 120+ years has led to the discovery of a myriad of cellular and molecular players in immunity, placing the immune system alongside the most complex systems such as Earth’s global climate and the human brain. The functions and malfunctions of the immune system have been implicated in virtually all human diseases. It is thought that cracking the complexity of the immune system will help manipulate and engineer it against some of the most vexing diseases of our times such as AIDS and cancer. To tackle this complexity, immunology in the 21st century – similar to much of the biological sciences – is growing closer to mathematics and data sciences, physics, chemistry and engineering. A central challenge is to use the wealth of large datasets generated by modern day measurement tools in biology to create knowledge, and ultimately predictive models of how the immune system works and can be manipulated. The goal of this course is to introduce motivated students to the quantitative approaches and reasoning applied to fundamental questions in immunology.

Instructor: Nicolas Chevrier | Term: Winter | Format: Lectures T/Th, Computer lab W

MENG 23310/33310 — Immunoengineering Laboratory

The goal of this laboratory course is to provide students with an original and hands-on research experience in the fields of immunoengineering and synthetic immunology, whereby new molecules will be designed and tested by students in the lab to probe or control immune processes. Specifically, students will study how newly discovered cancer vaccines work. The course will cover wet lab techniques to manipulate and analyze DNA, proteins and cells, including next-generation sequencing, genome editing, cellular imaging and nanobodies. In addition, computational tools will be used for processing and analyzing the data generated by students during class. The outcome of students’ research during this class will help decipher the inner workings of successful anti-tumor vaccines, which is important to inform future cancer immunotherapies.

Instructor: Nicolas Chevrier | Term: Autumn | Format: Laboratory T