Immune Cell Migration: On the Move in Response to Pathogens and Cancer Immunotherapy

Tumor cells, stained in purple, are growing in a diamond-shaped lattice pattern. In between and around these cells are small bright green blobs, which are the dendritic cells.

In this image, specialized immune cells called dendritic cells (in green) are sticking to and interacting with a bunch of tumor cells (red/purple), all of them embedded in a gel so they can move around and grow in 3D. (Image courtesy of Tim Fessenden. Image Awards, 2020. Koch Institute Public Galleries.)


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Fall 2021



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Course Description

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Course Description

The mammalian immune system is sometimes called a “liquid organ,” capable of rapidly initiating and then resolving potent responses to pathogens at almost any location in the organism. What protein machinery drives immune cells’ rapid migration? How do cells make pathfinding decisions around barriers? How do they find rare pathogens or target cells in complex environments?

This course will begin by examining the general immunological functions of two major immune cell types—T cells and dendritic cells. Through our readings and discussions, we will examine the connections between immunotherapy as an emerging treatment modality for a variety of cancers and the migration of immune cells.

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.

Related Content

Timothy Fessenden. 7.342 Immune Cell Migration: On the Move in Response to Pathogens and Cancer Immunotherapy. Fall 2021. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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