Supercharging Immunology Research

The human immune system involves trillions of cells communicating with one another. In an immune response, there are so many elements working simultaneously it’s almost impossible for the human brain to figure out how it all interconnects.

Enter artificial intelligence (AI), a technology ideally suited to finding patterns in a complex system. There is tremendous potential in using AI to untangle the incredible complexity of the immune system, to shed light on how these trillions of cells interact both with each other and with pathogens like COVID-19. But to do so, a bridge would need to be built between the AI field and immunology, two groups of researchers who rarely had opportunities to collaborate – until now. 

A gift made by longtime Ragon Institute supporters Mark and Lisa Schwartz, however, has built that bridge. They have enabled the Ragon Institute, MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health, and the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing to create a collaborative initiative for AI and immunology. 

Through this initiative, graduate students and postdocs will each be paired with two mentors, an AI expert from MIT and an immunological expert from the Ragon. This unique approach is specifically designed to enable learning and growth in this new cross-disciplinary space.  Together, the mentees and mentors will work together to use AI to capture the complex, dynamic interactions inherent in the immune response.

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