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Thursday, September 19 2019
Room 1005, Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
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Diversity and Response in Immune Repertoires

Aleksandra Walczak, Ph.D.
Laboratoire de Physique Théorique
Ecole Normale Supérieure

The diversity of repertoires of B-cell and T-cell receptors is generated by a stochastic process of gene rearrangement called VDJ recombination, and is later sculpted by selection, clonal proliferation, and somatic hypermutations. I will show how these processes can be learned quantitatively from high-throughput repertoire sequencing data. The resulting models can then be used to estimate the diversity of repertoires and their overlap between individuals, to identify condition-specific immune receptors from patient cohort data, and to detect signatures of immune responses in single patients, opening the way for novel sequencing-based diagnostic
and prognostic tools.

Aleksandra Walczak received her PhD in physics at the University of California San Diego. After a graduate fellowship at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (UCSB), she worked on applying information theory to signal processing in small gene regulatory networks at the Princeton Center for Theoretical Science. Currently based at the École Normale Supérieure as a CNRS researcher, she studies the effects of selection on population genealogies, collective behaviour of bird flocks and statistical descriptions of the immune system. She was awarded the “Grand Prix Jacques Herbrand de l’Académie des sciences” in 2014 and the bronze medal of CNRS in 2016. 

Host: Joshua Weitz, Ph.D.

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