Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Software Models Immune Responses

10.10.2011
Researchers with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech have released an upgrade to the institute's ENteric Immunity SImulator (ENISI) software, which models immune responses to beneficial and harmful bacteria that enter the gastrointestinal tract of mice, pigs, and humans.

ENISI allows users to create enteric systems such as the gut-associated mucosal immune system in silico, providing a better glimpse of how the immune system responds to pathogens that invade the bacteria-rich environment of the gut.

ENISI was initially designed by the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens (MIEP) to model inflammatory bowel disease. The upgrade allows investigators to simulate immune responses in a mouse infected with Helicobacter pylori. The MIEP team plans to expand the software to simulate infection with enteroaggregative Escherichia coli and other enteric pathogens, such as Clostridium difficile and Cryptosporidium parvum. Future upgrades will allow users to run simulations via the ENISI website and eventually be able to visualize in silico cells or lesions forming in real time, rather than only seeing the outcomes of such interactions.

"ENISI is unique because it's specific to the gut, simulating each individual cell rather than creating broad mathematical models," said Kate Wendelsdorf, a Ph.D. student in the genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology program at Virginia Tech. "Thus, it's more faithful to a living system and allows us to simulate a million individual cells, more than any other simulator. It's a powerful tool for understanding interactions between gut pathogens and the mucosal immune system."

Researchers can manipulate cells and immune processes in ENISI to determine if, for example, blocking a specific immune pathway or adding a drug can inhibit pathogen invasion and infection. The computer-generated models can, in turn, help researchers design better experiments to test the simulations in laboratory settings or in live animals. Therefore, it may be possible to test the efficacy of a novel vaccine or immune therapeutic in an ENISI model of disease, confirm the results in an animal model, and then use those results to explore the mechanisms of therapeutic efficacy in additional studies.

This feature will help immunologists and infectious disease experts immensely in understanding pathology, diagnosis, and treatment.

"ENISI is based on an interaction-based modeling approach that represents individual cells and their interactions with other cells, pathogens, and the environment. The algorithmic/procedural representation of individual agents and their interactions with other agents via an abstract interaction network is central to the modeling process. The use of high-performance computing facilitates scaling to 106 cells; we expect this number to grow 100-fold over the next two years. Such a representation yields a fundamentally different approach to understanding novel immunological processes," said Madhav Marathe, the center's modeling lead.

"ENISI runs on high-performance computers: hundreds or thousands of servers working together to produce an answer. The program shows the power of trans-disciplinary science, bringing together a team of software developers, computer scientists, immunologists, and physicists to solve problems that they wouldn't have been able to tackle on their own," said Keith Bisset, modeling expert and a key developer of the ENISI software.

A Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens paper entitled, "Enteric Immunity Simulator: A tool for in silico study of gut immunopathologies," has been accepted in the IEEE Bioinformatics and Biomedicine (BIBM) International conference proceedings. Preliminary ENISI modeling results that simulate bacterial-induced colitis will be presented at the conference in Atlanta in November (www.cs.gsu.edu/BIBM2011/?q=node/6).

"One of our goals is to develop user-friendly and interactive modeling tools that engage and inform the immunology and infectious disease communities, thereby enabling paradigm-shifting scientific discovery," said Josep Bassaganya-Riera, the center's principal investigator. "The release of the upgraded ENISI software by the MIEP team is a major step in allowing powerful computer simulations to uncover novel mechanisms of immunoregulation underlying immune responses to gut pathogens. The ultimate goal of such powerful simulations is to accelerate the discovery of novel drug targets and biomarkers for enteric infectious diseases. The fully integrated computational modeling, bioinformatics and immunology experimentation efforts within the MIEP program enable the generation of mechanistic evidence in silico and efficient validation in vivo," and Bassaganya-Riera, who is also director of the Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Medicine Laboratory at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute.

For more information about ENISI, visit the Center for Modeling Immunity to Enteric Pathogens at www.modelingimmunity.org.

The center is funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases under the Modeling Immunity for Biodefense program.

About the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute

The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech is a premier bioinformatics, computational biology, and systems biology research facility that uses transdisciplinary approaches to science, combining information technology, biology, and medicine. These approaches are used to interpret and apply vast amounts of biological data generated from basic research to some of today's key challenges in the biomedical, environmental, and agricultural sciences. With more than 240 highly trained multidisciplinary, international personnel, research at the institute involves collaboration in diverse disciplines such as mathematics, computer science, biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, systems biology, statistics, economics, synthetic biology, and medicine. The large amounts of data generated by this approach are analyzed and interpreted to create new knowledge that is disseminated to the world's scientific, governmental, and wider communities.

Tiffany Trent | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.vbi.vt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Less animal experiments on the horizon: Multi-organ chip awarded
19.10.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS

nachricht RUDN chemist tested a new nanocatalyst for obtaining hydrogen
18.10.2018 | RUDN University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Goodbye, silicon? On the way to new electronic materials with metal-organic networks

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.

Silicon, a so called semiconductor, is currently widely employed for the development of components such as solar cells, LEDs or computer chips. High purity...

Im Focus: Storage & Transport of highly volatile Gases made safer & cheaper by the use of “Kinetic Trapping"

Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles

Storage of highly volatile gases has always been a major technological challenge, not least for use in the automotive sector, for, for example, methane or...

Im Focus: Disrupting crystalline order to restore superfluidity

When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.

We are all familiar with such control of the freezing transition, as it is an essential ingredient in the art of making a sorbet or a slushy. To make a cold...

Im Focus: Micro energy harvesters for the Internet of Things

Fraunhofer IWS Dresden scientists print electronic layers with polymer ink

Thin organic layers provide machines and equipment with new functions. They enable, for example, tiny energy recuperators. In future, these will be installed...

Im Focus: Dynamik einzelner Proteine

Neue Messmethode erlaubt es Forschenden, die Bewegung von Molekülen lange und genau zu verfolgen

Das Zusammenspiel aus Struktur und Dynamik bestimmt die Funktion von Proteinen, den molekularen Werkzeugen der Zelle. Durch Fortschritte in der...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Conference to pave the way for new therapies

17.10.2018 | Event News

Berlin5GWeek: Private industrial networks and temporary 5G connectivity islands

16.10.2018 | Event News

5th International Conference on Cellular Materials (CellMAT), Scientific Programme online

02.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Mineral discoveries in the Galapagos Islands pose a puzzle as to their formation and origin

19.10.2018 | Earth Sciences

Less animal experiments on the horizon: Multi-organ chip awarded

19.10.2018 | Life Sciences

New method uses just a drop of blood to monitor lung cancer treatment

19.10.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>