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Cargese Summer School on Quantitative Population Genetics (8276)

June 25, 2017 – July 06, 2017


Cargese, Corsica, France



Aleksandra Walczak, Laboratoire de Physique Théorique, Ecole Normale Supérieure

Thierry Mora, Ecole Normale Supérieure

Ilya Nemenman, Emory University




While much attention has been paid in recent years to the need for quantitative training for biology students, there has been much less attention dedicated to the need to teach biology to those transitioning from mathematics or physics to biological systems. This is especially true for physicists who want to go beyond the traditional themes of biophysics, such as protein folding, and are interested in evolution, neuroscience, systems biology, or ecology. The courses in these disciplines are generally mainly aimed at biologists, and devote much attention to the mathematical bases that are redundant for physicists. Similarly, textbooks are generally intended for researchers in a given field. This makes it difficult for scientists to obtain a quantitative background coming from a mathematically rigorous but biologically naive domain.


The central objective of our summer school will meet this need by providing students in quantitative disciplines (physics, applied mathematics, informatics, statistics, computational biology) with an interest in biology a broad view of all the current challenges in the field, and present current methods of analysis, whether analytical, computational and experimental. By inviting guest speakers working on a variety of topics (collective behavior, signaling, neuroscience, evolution and genetics) we will introduce students to many different systems but common approaches. The focus of the school will show students how theoretical calculations combined with large-scale data analysis and quantitative study of experiments can contribute to our understanding of biological systems.

To facilitate future exchange of ideas, we are organizing this school with the following specific objectives: a) Go into the details of the theory and the particular biological systems to gain a technical under- standing of particular problems. b) Show how seemingly different problems can be addressed by the same techniques. c) Expose students to recent advances in other disciplines. d) Explore the diversity of subjects in biophysics. e) Give students the tools to know where to look for help or find information.

The transverse themes of the school will include: a) collective animal and cellular behavior b) energy usage and dissipation c) resource allocation in cells (ribosomes, enzymes, receptors) d) how cell-to-cell diversity impacts evolution of populations e) mechanisms and functional importance of diversity among individual organisms f) signal integration in complex neural and molecular regulatory networks g) limitations on fidelity of information processing from the structure of biological systems h) active sensing and the perception-action loop.


More information will be added as it becomes available.

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