About the IMME

The immune system has a big job – to defend your body against infection and disease from birth to death. Because almost everyone has one, it is essentially nature’s pre-built personalized medicine system.

We are a group of interdisciplinary scientists – immunologists, systems biologists, biomedical and chemical engineers – focused on studying how this complex system works, how it fails, and continually translating this knowledge into new, improved ways to harness the power of the immune system to battle conditions like cancer, chronic inflammatory disorders, and Infectious diseases.

Gregory Szeto, PhD
Assistant Professor

  • There are between 4 and 11,000,000,000 immune cells per liter of blood in a healthy adult
    lifespan
    vast-specific

    The immune system possesses almost unrivaled complexity, diversity, specificity, and dynamicism. These properties make it a great natural defense system, but rational intervention by medicines has been more elusive. Our research areas use engineering approaches to increase our understanding of how natural functions are balanced, and using these to increase our control via newly designed therapies.

  • immunoImmune responses and dysfunction are frequently local, specific to microenvironments, and governed by complex regulatory mechanisms. This means that systemic interventions can be toxic and/or ineffective. In this area, we are exploring how different local or systemic compartments evolve distinct immune functions. The underlying immunology of normal and disease biology provide us with a treasure trove of knowledge to be mined and manipulated by engineered systems and models. These also raise new fundamental questions that we explore in our work.

  • Tech thumbThe complexity of the immune system requires advances in technology to answer new fundamental and applied questions. We pull diverse tools from drug delivery, sensors, engineered model systems, and tissue engineering, retooling them into new ways to interrogate and control immune function in vitro and in vivo. These technological advances span scales, looking at modeling and manipulating the heterogeneity of single cells to the outputs from sparse (2-5 cells) cell interactions to the functions of higher order systems including networks of cells, tissues, and organs. We design molecules to simply, rapidly control signals and delivery, as well as develop modular implants and scaffolds to manipulate disease states. The key goal of these technologies is to enable our other studies to be executed in a unique, innovative way.

  • Rational approaches to engineering immunity require enhanced understanding (both qualitative and quantitative) of immune function, connecting molecules and cells to the outputs of systems. However, complex dynamic networks regulate immune activation and suppression in healthy and disease states. We use a number of integrative, multi-scale analytical approaches inspired by systems biology to develop more robust models of immune network function. Working with colleagues, we also use our expertise to reduce the complexity of analysis to make new methods easily adaptable to end-users, including researchers and clinicians.

  • Overview

    There are between 4 and 11,000,000,000 immune cells per liter of blood in a healthy adult
    lifespan
    vast-specific

    The immune system possesses almost unrivaled complexity, diversity, specificity, and dynamicism. These properties make it a great natural defense system, but rational intervention by medicines has been more elusive. Our research areas use engineering approaches to increase our understanding of how natural functions are balanced, and using these to increase our control via newly designed therapies.

  • AREA 1: Immunology

    immunoImmune responses and dysfunction are frequently local, specific to microenvironments, and governed by complex regulatory mechanisms. This means that systemic interventions can be toxic and/or ineffective. In this area, we are exploring how different local or systemic compartments evolve distinct immune functions. The underlying immunology of normal and disease biology provide us with a treasure trove of knowledge to be mined and manipulated by engineered systems and models. These also raise new fundamental questions that we explore in our work.

  • AREA 2: Technology

    Tech thumbThe complexity of the immune system requires advances in technology to answer new fundamental and applied questions. We pull diverse tools from drug delivery, sensors, engineered model systems, and tissue engineering, retooling them into new ways to interrogate and control immune function in vitro and in vivo. These technological advances span scales, looking at modeling and manipulating the heterogeneity of single cells to the outputs from sparse (2-5 cells) cell interactions to the functions of higher order systems including networks of cells, tissues, and organs. We design molecules to simply, rapidly control signals and delivery, as well as develop modular implants and scaffolds to manipulate disease states. The key goal of these technologies is to enable our other studies to be executed in a unique, innovative way.

  • AREA 3: Analytics

    Rational approaches to engineering immunity require enhanced understanding (both qualitative and quantitative) of immune function, connecting molecules and cells to the outputs of systems. However, complex dynamic networks regulate immune activation and suppression in healthy and disease states. We use a number of integrative, multi-scale analytical approaches inspired by systems biology to develop more robust models of immune network function. Working with colleagues, we also use our expertise to reduce the complexity of analysis to make new methods easily adaptable to end-users, including researchers and clinicians.