Mathematical Biology Seminar

Mathew Peet, Illinois Institute of Technology
Wednesday March 31, 2010
3:05pm in LCB 215
Modeling Immune Functions as a Control System

Abstract: In this talk, we present some preliminary work on using ideas from control to understand the immune system response. We view the immune system as a auto-regulatory feature of the body, whose function is to detect and eliminate threats. Based on some basic observations of how the immune system operates, we propose simple control strategies that correspond to observed behavior. We then show that these strategies can be achieved using simple models for known mechanisms in the immune response. By interconnecting these simple mechanisms in feedback, we show that the basic response to disease can be represented using something akin to a Proportional-Integral-Differential (PID) controller, a versatile and commonly used controller in manmade applications. The basic functional form of this controller helps us understand how the body makes the distinction between self and non-self in a decentralized manner.