Immunogrid: Towards agent-based simulations of the human immune system at a natural scale

Mark Halling-Brown, Francesco Pappalardo, Nicolas Rapin, Ping Zhang, Davide Alemani, Andrew Emerson, Filippo Castiglione, Patrice Duroux, Marzio Pennisi, Olivo Miotto, Daniel Churchill, Elda Rossi, David S. Moss, Clare E. Sansom, Massimo Bernaschi, Marie Paule Lefranc, Søren Brunak, Ole Lund, Santo Motta, Pier Luigi LolliniAnnalisa Murgo, Arianna Palladini, Kaye E. Basford, Vladimir Brusic, Adrian J. Shepherd

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


The ultimate aim of the EU-funded ImmunoGrid project is to develop a natural-scale model of the human immune system-that is, one that reflects both the diversity and the relative proportions of the molecules and cells that comprise it-together with the grid infrastructure necessary to apply this model to specific applications in the field of immunology. These objectives present the ImmunoGrid Consortium with formidable challenges in terms of complexity of the immune system, our partial understanding about how the immune system works, the lack of reliable data and the scale of computational resources required. In this paper, we explain the key challenges and the approaches adopted to overcome them. We also consider wider implications for the present ambitious plans to develop natural-scale, integrated models of the human body that can make contributions to personalized health care, such as the European Virtual Physiological Human initiative. Finally, we ask a key question: How long will it take us to resolve these challenges and when can we expect to have fully functional models that will deliver health-care benefits in the form of personalized care solutions and improved disease prevention? This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2799-2815
Number of pages17
JournalPhilosophical transactions. Series A, Mathematical, physical, and engineering sciences
Issue number1920
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Agent-based simulation
  • Grid computing
  • Immunoinformatics
  • Systems biology
  • Vaccine discovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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