Polly Matzinger

Dr. Polly Matzinger worked as a bartender, carpenter, jazz musician, playboy bunny, and dog trainer before going back to school to study the immune system, where she became intrigued by the number of poorly explained exceptions to the dominant model of immunity (the self-non-self model). She tried for years to reconcile them and finally abandoned the model, proposing an alternative, the Danger model, which suggests that the immune system is far less concerned with things that are “non-self” than with those that do damage.  The model has been the subject of a BBC "horizon" film, has featured in three other films about immunity and in countless articles in both the scientific and lay press.  Polly created award winning educational short films on the immune system, and is working on the next major question in the immune system, namely "once it decides to respond, how does the immune system know what kind of response to make?"