CIDD Workshop Addesses the Construction and Maintenance of Immune Memory in Humans

Members of the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics and guests covered a wide range of topics in their three-day congregation.

Image: Penn State

On April 24-26, the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics (CIDD) held a workshop titled “The Construction and Maintenance of Immune Memory in Humans,” organized by Ottar Bjørnstad (Biology and Entomology), Maciek Boni (Biology), and Jessica Conway (Mathematics). Historically, CIDD has held several workshops on various topics relevant to the disease dynamics community, but there had not been one in recent years, so the excitement and interest in the CIDD community for this workshop was high.

The plenary talks were open to the whole community and included informative and stimulating talks from Rustom Antia (Emory), Stanca Ciupe (Virginia Tech), and Amber Smith (University of Tennessee Health Science Center). The talks were well attended and the participants regularly asked questions – so many that it was often challenging to keep to time!

During the rest of the workshop, other visiting speakers covered a range of topics in informal talks, research speed-dating, and breakout working sessions. These included:

  • Daniel Coombs (University of British Columbia) – Modeling HIV and the immune system (in collaboration with Jessica Conway, PSU)
  • Derek Cummings (University of Florida) – Fluscape, the immune landscape of human influenza in China
  • Bingyi Yang (University of Florida, postdoctoral scholar) – Influenza and the immune response
  • Michael Mina (Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School) – Interpreting the human antibody repertoire: Elucidating measles immune consequences and Foundations of a Global Immunological observatory (GIO)
  • Lill Trogstad and Siri Mjaaland (Norwegian Institute of Public Health) on several cohort data sets that contribute to the ‘NorFlu’ project in Norway
  • Aaron King (University of Michigan) and Jessica Metcalf (Princeton University) – facilitated discussions of initial ideas of modeling the immune system in the context of ecological theory

Other visiting attendees included Princeton University students Ian Miller and Luojun Yang, and University of Florida Postdoc Bernardo Garcia Carreras.

The workshop was an excellent way for the CIDD community to learn about the biology of the immune system across several disease systems, which ranged from viruses such as measles, hepatitis B, HIV, human papilloma virus, influenza, and dengue; Modeling structures and challenges the innate and adaptive immune memory systems, such as issues of maternal or waning immunity, modeling various immune compartments and clonal expansion, and new efforts to use machine learning in these systems, were also discussed; The workshop renewed the CIDD spirit of the importance of transdisciplinary communication “From protein to pandemics” to solve pressing infectious disease problems.