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.

In addition to experimental immunologists, computational biology and bioinformatics graduate students at the earliest stages of their studies are also welcome to attend the Summer School. No previous computational modeling experience is required.

One aim of the four-day Summer School is to familiarize early career participants with state-of-the-art, user-friendly modeling software so that they can employ these powerful tools in their own labs.  Another is to disseminate the latest research results in the one-day Symposium that follows.  Experts from MIT, NIH/NIAID, the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Boston University, and the University of Virginia will discuss their findings and share viewpoints that will shape the future direction of the field.

MIEP is an NIAID-funded program with the mission of understanding the mechanisms of action underlying immune responses to enteric pathogens. MIEP and the other three related Centers of the NIAID Modeling Immunity for Biodefense Program offer annual Summer Schools in Computational Immunology to introduce immunologists to the skill set needed for computational model-driven hypothesis generation and testing. 

The registration deadline for the 2014 Summer School is April 30, 2014. Registration information is available here.

A limited number of travel awards will be available for students, faculty, and staff who wish to attend, with a preference for students and postdocs. To be eligible, applicants must submit a complete abstract as first author for a poster presentation during the Symposium and a statement of interest in computational modeling. The online travel award application, available here, is due by March 10, 2014. Awards will be announced March 25, 2014.

The summer school flyer is available for download here.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Dr. David Bevan                  Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera        
540-231-5040                      540-231-7421

The Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory (NIMML) conducts translational research aimed at developing novel therapeutic and prophylactic approaches for modulating immune and inflammatory responses. The Laboratory has over 20 researchers and combines computational modeling, bioinformatics approaches, pre-clinical experimentation, and human clinical studies to better understand the mechanisms of immune regulation at mucosal surfaces and ultimately accelerate the development of novel treatments for infectious and immune-mediated diseases. In addition, the NIMML team leads the NIAID-funded Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens (MIEP).

A university-level Research Institute of Virginia Tech, the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute was established in 2000 with an emphasis on informatics of complex interacting systems scaling the microbiome to the entire globe. It helps solve challenges posed to human health, security, and sustainability. Headquartered at the Blacksburg campus, the institute occupies 154,600 square feet in research facilities, including state-of-the-art core laboratory and high-performance computing facilities, as well as research offices in the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, Va.

Written by Emily Kale.

John David Pastor

Tiffany L Trent

January 31, 2014