IMAGING IMMUNITY - from Nanoscale to Macroscale | Insights from Biophysics

14th ESMI Winter Conference "hot TOPIics in IMaging - TOPIM 2020"


Date: 12-17 January 2020

Venue: Ecole de Physique des Houches

Les Houches, France


Submissions for POSTER presentations are still possible

Deadline for ORAL presentations was 8 Oct. 2019

IMAGING IMMUNITY from Nanoscale to Macroscale

TOPIM 2020 will crosslink theoretical and applied physics of immunity with emerging in vivo imaging techniques of the insult, the damage, the response, and the memory of immunity, and has the ambition to propose new ideas to be further tested experimentally in live systems.


Immunity means inviolability from an attack and has the same sense in Medicine and in Physics, whether the attacking party is a noise, a vibration, electromagnetism, a virus, a bacteria, a proliferating cell, (...)

In each case, immunity results from the concerted macroscopic response of the system under attack, a specific response based on the elementary properties of the system’s parts and on their local interactions. Immunity is a time-dependent process encompassing learning and memory, which are dynamic events; it is also a space-dependent process since local immune interactions take place in a system which is by nature far from equilibrium.

Efficient biological immunity requires very high numbers of cells (a human body contains ca. 1012 lymphocytes), and a huge diversity of cellular and molecular factors interacting harmoniously. Although our knowledge of the diverse elements of the immune system increases steadily, and in spite of the recent success of new therapies targeting the immune system against life-threatening diseases, we lack theoretical understanding of the complexity of the immune network. One favored approach would be to adapt the quantitative toolbox by which statistical physics has developed semi-quantitative laws predicting phase-transitions in complex systems, to the mechanics of immune reactions. 

Overall concept

Since 2007 the overall concept of TOPIM has been that experienced, high-level international scientists and younger/less experienced scientists from diverse disciplines are spending one week together at an inspiring place and to provide a "think tank" for knowledge exchange and intensive discussions: based on the intersection between the broader physics and biology science community, demonstrating common interests and fruitfulness of interaction.

Presentations are held during the morning and early evening; so that there are plenty of opportunities for continued scientific discussions.