Emergent behaviour of biomolecular ensembles and networks

Date :From 2010-07-05 To 2010-08-31
Advisory committee :
Local coordinators :Hua-Lin Shi, Qi Ouyang, Luonan Chen
International coordinators :Martin Falcke(chair person), Karsten Kruse, Herbert Levine, Sui Huang, Jin Wang, Hua-Lin Shi, Qi Ouyang, Luonan Chen

Life emerges from interactions among ensembles of biomolecules. The cell's molecular composition and essential features of the network of molecular interactions are determined by the genetic information coded in the DNA. Due to its involved regulatory circuitry, however, the genetic content of a cell is not a static blueprint, but must be understood as a dynamic system. This dynamics is combined with the propensity to self-organize by numerous groups of other biomolecules to set the stage for cell physiology. The dynamic view of a cell has provided most exciting applications and challenges for equilibrium and non-equilibrium statistical physics in recent years. These ideas will be picked up and developed further by the program „Emergent behavior of biomolecular ensembles and networks“.

In the ``post-genome'' era, it is crucial to uncover the underlying organizational principles of cellular networks to understand their biological function. Many aspects of cellular networks have been explored by a variety of experimental techniques. One aim of this program is to highlight quantitative studies of cellular networks and to search for physical concepts that allow us to describe features common to a variety of cellular networks. Notably, we will discuss the role of dynamics for understanding the structure of networks.
How are the general results manifested in specific pathways or subsystems? Do small, completely characterized systems bear features of the global network? The second aim of the workshop is therefore to focus on selected specific systems and to examine models of small gene regulatory circuits, cell signaling pathways and cell motility. In this way, the workshop will also advance our theoretical tools for modeling in these fields. In particular, recent findings on the impact of molecular fluctuations on cellular structures and on cell signaling and gene expression will be addressed. These experimental results question the applicability of the deterministic limit to a large class of intracellular reaction-diffusion processes and therefore have conceptual consequences for describing cellular systems. Hence, an exciting field for statistical physics is about to open up that adds new aspects to the discussion of robustness with respect to molecular noise and component fluctuations. In this way the exploration of specific models feeds back on the discussion of general network properties.
The program will discuss all topics throughout its duration but will put more emphasis on network properties in July and on focused models in August. We encourage experimentalists and theoreticians, physicists, bioinformaticians, mathematicians and everybody interested in the application of physical concepts to biological problems to attend and to contribute to an exciting summer of biophysics in Beijing. Confirmed participants include
in July James Sneyd, Peter Jung, Dan Beard, Hong Qian, Colin W. Taylor, John Reinitz, Uri Alon, Jim Ferrell, Albert-L. Barabási, Pieter R ten Wolde, Xuan Zhan, Jinzhi Lei, Jian-Wei Shuai, Ping Ao, Feng Liu, Yong Wang, Zhonghuai Hou, Shangbin Chen, Lei-Hang Tang, Hongli Wang, Ji-Feng Zhang, Huaiqiu Zhu, Xiufen Zou, Shangyou Zeng,
in August Anders Carlsson, Martin Howard, Jean-F. Joanny, Mihaela Enculescu, Carsten Beta, Tom Duke, Herbert Levine, John Pearson, Alexander Mikhailov, Ilka Bischoffs, Dave Weitz, Guillaume Charras, Chaouqi Misbah, Raymond Kapral, Chin-Kun Hu, Zhirong Liu, Liu Zengrong, Huhai Xiang, Baohua Ji, Yuan Lin.