Today's modeling approaches in Biology and Medicine are widely based on unproven hypotheses, and biological data concerning cell behavior in vivo are largely descriptive. This inhibits both the merging process of theoretical and experimental Biology and the understanding of biological systems with medical impact. The aim of this project is to overcome this problem by developing innovative simulation approaches adapted to solving complex biological questions.
The simulations are constructed to bridge the gap between single cell behavior and emerging properties such as highly organized supra-cellular networks with optimized functionality, and gain predictive power by relying on detailed cell mechanics data. The method can be transferred to numerous applications related to large numbers of interacting visco-elastic objects including industrial applications. The germinal centre as a central part of adaptive immunity is such a dynamic and complex system. It is aimed to develop a comprehensive germinal centre theory from the first data of in vivo cell dynamics in germinal centers.
Compared to classical germinal centre research the combination of high-end simulations with intravital two-photon imaging and advanced immunological techniques as proposed here will allow a phase transition in Immunology. The functional understanding of the dynamics of adaptive immunity will only be possible by exploiting the synergies of mathematical and experimental approaches. The novel method will be used to make predictive simulations of cell dynamics in immunological supra-cellular networks and to test a large number of experimental approaches in silico.
Thus, animal model experiments could be designed more effectively, avoiding unnecessary experiments. The fruits of this project will not only be relevant to adaptive immunity, but also set the ground of new developments concerning diseases derived from deregulated germinal centers as seen in autoimmunity and cancer.
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project