Inaugural lecture by Morten Nielsen

Morten Nielsen has recently been appointed Professor at DTU Bioinformatics and is now giving his inaugural lecture titled:

Predicting receptor-ligand interactions; lessons and inspiration from 15 years of MHC-peptide binding machine learning research


Receptor interactions with short linear protein fragments (ligands) control many biological processes. Characterizing the specificity of these interactions is at the heart of understanding the functionality of most complex biological systems. The cellular immune system is a prime example of this. Receptors on immune cells scrutinize the surface of cells for peptide fragments of foreign origin presented in complex with major histocompatibility complexes (MHCs) molecules. Identification of such peptides triggers an immune activation that, if successful, kills the cell presenting the foreign ligand. Discovering the rules of peptide presentation and immune cell recognition therefore holds the key to our understanding of cellular immunity.

Over the last 15 years, my research has been focused on developing computational methods aimed at learning these rules directly from biological data. Starting from simple linear models characterizing the binding specificity of individual MHC molecules, extending into complex artificial neural network approaches, my group has developed machine learning (ML) methods capable of predicting the binding specificity of any MHC molecule. These algorithms are routinely used by hundreds of research groups worldwide in their basic and clinical medical research.

In my lecture, I will describe some important results obtained using these ML methods. Driven both by novel technological advances and the development of novel ML algorithms, we are standing at the edge of a new era in modelling of receptor-ligand interactions. Given this, I will in the end of my lecture propose how we in the very near future will be able to model ligand interactions to any receptor molecule, including enzymes such as kinases, and immune receptors.

The lecture is followed by a reception.

More information about Morten Nielsen's research group can be found here:

Immunoinformatics and Machine Learning


Fri 23 Jun 17
15:00 - 17:00


DTU Bioinformatik


DTU Bioinformatics


Building 208, auditorium 51

2800 Kgs. Lyngby
27 JULY 2017