*** Registration for this conference is free. You can register by clicking on the 'APPLY' tab at the top of this document and following the instructions. This conference is limited to 80 participants. Participants are accepted on a first-come first-served basis so those interested are encouraged to apply early. ***
Being able to model and understand the emergence of cellular life from a cell’s components is a formidable challenge that is at the forefront of many research group’s efforts. Addressing this challenge requires that a range of computational tools, from quantum mechanics to systems biology, be brought to bear to answer questions at the different spatial and time scales relevant to cellular life. Developing new computational and theoretical methods and applying existing methods in new ways are all crucial components to making progress in this area. Success in this field holds the promise of providing fundamental insights into molecular and cellular biology and of opening up new research avenues in the fields of biomedicine, synthetic biology and biotechnology.
The purpose of this conference, titled “Modeling Cellular Life: From single molecules to cellular function”, is to provide a snapshot of the research efforts being made on multiple fronts to provide quantitative insights and predictions about cellular life. Methods that will be highlighted at this conference include quantum mechanical calculations that probe the chemical reactions that drive the cell’s macromolecular machines (1,2); coarse-grained models that allow us to understand the behavior of protein and nucleic acid assemblies (3-8); all-atom simulations that explore structural mechanisms essential to the transport of molecules within the cell (9-11); mathematical models coupled with experimental data sets that make testable predictions about the response of cells to changing environmental conditions (12-16); bioinformatic methods that utilize genomic and proteomic information to gain insight into the dynamics of cellular life (17-19); and systems biology methods that are integrating high-throughput data sets with theory to predict how cells grow and behave (20-22).
This conference is timely because new computing resources and methods are allowing the scientific community to model aspects of the cell that were previously intractable. This conference is needed because it will bring together scientists from sub-disciplines that do not regularly interact with each other. Therefore this conference will provide the opportunity for attendees to hear about new perspectives and methods on topics of common interest, providing synergistic and cross-fertilization opportunities for their research.
Aims of this Conference
The primary aims of this workshop are to highlight the state-of-the-art in computational method development and application to modeling the cell and its critical components and processes; to bring together scientists representing a wide-breadth of computational skill sets interested in modeling cellular life; and to invite to the conference leaders in the community who are generating cutting-edge data sets that are likely to be important in modeling cellular life (23-25). Throughout this conference the methods that are being developed and applied at different levels of molecular and cellular organization will be presented and discussed.
Computational studies of the cell represent a significant challenge due to the hierarchy of length and time scales involved in this multi-component system. The relevant biological time scales span from picoseconds to hours, and the spatial scales span from angstroms to micrometers. Cutting edge computational strategies are therefore being devised by members of the research community to tackle these complex challenges. For this reason, many of the scientists that will attend this conference are at the forefront of devising such strategies that include the use of coarse grained and all-atom models (4, 9, 26, 27), distributed computing methodologies (28), mathematical modeling (13, 22), and systems biology methods (17, 21). By focusing this meeting on the theoretical and computational methods that can be brought to bear on this topic this conference will provide insight into where computational methods need to go to answer crucial questions regarding cellular behavior.
We will limit the number of participants of this conference to 80. The conference will be held on the EPFL campus. There will be 24 speakers, each giving a 45-minute presentation including 10 minutes for questions and answers. A poster session will also be held. This 3.5 day conference will be comprised of both morning and afternoon sessions, with the talks being evenly distributed amongst the sessions (a program will be posted by mid-March).