Designer Immunity: Lessons in Engineering the Immune System

A scanning electron micrograph of a human T cell. The cell appears as a a blue sphere with irregularly shaped points protruding from it.

The image above shows a scanning electron micrograph of a human T lymphocyte (also known as a T cell). Image by: NIAID Source: NIAID Flickr Photostream


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2014



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Course Features

Course Description

The immune system is one of the most complex and powerful of human body systems. It is highly dynamic and flexible, yet strictly regulates homeostasis and protects our bodies from both foreign and self-derived challenges. As basic understanding of immune function is growing, researchers are rapidly designing clever and diverse strategies to manipulate immunology to improve human health. In this course, we will explore important advances rooted in engineering principles to harness the power of the immune system, focusing on how engineering has fueled or inspired research concerning (1) vaccines, (2) immunotherapies, and (3) systems immunology.

This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.

Gregory Szeto, and Talar Tokatlian. 7.341 Designer Immunity: Lessons in Engineering the Immune System, Spring 2014. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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