The power of ONE: Immunology in the age of single cell genomics

Special visiting scientist seminar

The immune system is a complex, dynamic and plastic network composed of various interacting cell types that are constantly sensing and responding to environmental cues. From very early on, the immunology field has invested great efforts and ingenuity to characterise the various immune cell types and elucidate their functions. However, accumulating evidence indicates that current technologies and classification schemes are limited in their ability to account for the functional heterogeneity of immune processes. Single cell genomics hold the potential to revolutionise the way we characterise complex immune cell assemblies and study their spatial organisation, dynamics, clonal distribution, pathways, and crosstalk. This emerging field can greatly affect basic and translational research of the immune system. I will discuss how recent single cell genomic studies are changing our perspective of various immune related pathologies from cancer to neurodegeneration. Finally, I will consider recent and forthcoming technological and analytical advances in single cell genomics and their potential impact on the future of immunology research and immunotherapy.
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Born on Kibbutz Hatzor, Prof. Ido Amit earned his PhD in biological regulation at the Weizmann Institute of Science in 2007. For four years, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before joining the Weizmann Institute in 2011.

Ido Amit is a Professor at the Immunology Department at the Weizmann Institute of Science. His lab pioneered single cell genomic technologies and their application to characterize the immune system. Amit’s research answers some of the most fundamental questions in immunology which are being translated into innovate new targets for immunotherapy in autoimmune diseases, neurodegeneration and cancer. Prof. Amit is also known in the science community as a leader in the field of immunogenomics, aimed at detecting and engineering genome sequences that are essential for the function of the immune system in physiology and disease. Among others, Prof, Amit is a recipient of the EMBO Gold Medal award and an HHMI International Research Scholar for his work to reveal the function of the immune system.