"Guiding the evolution of broad yet focused antibodies" by Shenshen Wang (UCLA)

Thursday, January 21, 2016 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursdays, 4:00-5:00 pm


1-434 Physics and Astronomy (map)
Reception from 3:30-4:00 p.m.
(unless otherwise posted)


Guest Speaker: Shenshen Wang (University of California, Los Angeles)

Talk Title:  “Guiding the evolution of broad yet focused antibodies”


The adaptive immune system of vertebrates relies on real-time Darwinian processes to respond to an immense variety of invading agents. Such responses are mostly effective, but not always. One prominent instance is the evolution of antibodies against rapidly mutating viruses (e.g. HIV that infects the immune system itself). The ability to escape or divert antibody responses allows the virus to persist in an individual, making the emergence of broadly effective antibodies that cross-react to diverse viral variants possible yet rare and long delayed. It remains unclear under what evolutionary conditions these exceptional antibodies could arise more readily.

In this talk, I present an in silico model of antibody evolution in successive exposures to distinct variants with complex epitopes, a close mimic of a realistic vaccine. By relaxing several major simplifying assumptions of previous models, we are able to uncover plausible evolutionary mechanisms underlying various modes of antibody responses. This understanding not only explains why broad antibodies are so rare upon natural infection, but also suggests novel strategies to favor their evolution. The proposed vaccination scheme has been shown in mouse experiment to be very effective at focusing antibody responses on the targeted vulnerability of the virus. New predictions are awaiting for test.   

For more information, contact Jay Hauser


We thank the following people for their contributions to the wine fund for the post-colloquium reception:
Prof. Dolores Bozovic, Prof. Mike Cornwall, Prof. Bob Cousins, Prof. Andrea Ghez, Prof. Karoly Holczer, Prof. Eric Hudson, Robert Huff, Prof. Alex Kusenko, Prof. Myank Mehta, Prof. John Miao, Prof. Roberto Peccei, Prof. Claudio Pellegrini, Prof. David Saltzberg, Prof. Jean Turner and Prof. Ben Zuckerman.



Event Attachments: 
1-434 PAB