This meeting is centred around the inauguration of our Max Planck Partner Group on the "Self-organization of Cellular Form and Function" together with the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization in Goettingen.

Biology, at all scales from molecular to cellular to populations, provides quintessential examples of complex adaptive systems. This meeting brings together experimentalists, theorists and philosophers to discuss the physical principles underlying the emergence of complexity in biological systems, and how it is shaped by cooperative dynamical behaviour and selective pressures. Speakers will probe events in the history of life on Earth which marked qualitative changes in the complexity of biological systems, such as the origin of life or the appearance of multicellularity, and also discuss our growing quantitative understanding of evolution at the molecular scale.

The engagement between biology and theoretical computer science has reached an exciting phase. We aim to play a critical role in nurturing this interface. In this spirit, we have for the first time brought together people from the disciplines of TCS, information sciences, biology and physics who have thought deeply about these issues. This meeting will report current research, but also give a conceptual overview of these distinct fields, allowing our participants to discover interesting cross-connections. Broad plenary talks will introduce distinct fields; short research talks will provide examples of fruitful approaches. There will be a great deal of free time for open-ended conversations. We are looking to identify well-defined research questions which biologists and computer scientists can work on collaboratively.

Cellular communities is one of our three focus themes, and in this meeting we plan to cover three broad areas of research relating to cellular communities: heterogeneity in genetically identical populations of cells, competition and cooperation in multispecies communities, mechanisms of information transfer between cells/organisms. We are aiming for a small, intimate meeting with short talks and lots of discussion time, where people would feel comfortable speaking about their latest ideas,

NCBS is organizing a discussion meeting on mechanical forces in the function of animal cells. This will include platform presentations by invited speakers, short presentations from selected students/post-docs as well as poster presentations. The objective of this meeting is to bring together leading international experts working in this emerging area of modern biology and discuss emerging trends.

Transcription in bacteria is regulated by a variety of players, from chromosome structure to transcription factors, nucleoid associated proteins and small RNAs. This meeting brings together internationally recognized scientists who employ a wide range of methods to understand gene expression and more broadly, adaption in bacteria.

This program, held between April 30 and May 1, 2014, aimed to kick-start collaborations between two research groups with many shared interests: the Simons Centre at NBCS, and the Theoretical Biology group at the Riken Interdisciplinary Theoretical Science division, Japan. Jointly organised by Mukund Thattai (NCBS) and Atsushi Mochizuki (Riken), the meeting featured talks by faculty and post-docs on subjects ranging from molecules to signalling networks and cells.  

NCBS is delighted to announce, in partnership with the Simons Foundation, the creation of the Simons Centre for the Study of Living Machines. The new Centre will build bridges between theory and experiment, support post-doctoral fellowships, and host long-term visitors. Please join us as we celebrate this milestone.

Venue: Dasheri Auditorium, NCBS

4:30pm: Opening remarks by Satyajit Mayor, Director, NCBS

4:35pm: Remarks by Mustansir Barma, Director, TIFR (via video)

4:40pm: Remarks by Spenta Wadia, Director, ICTS

4:45pm: Madan Rao: Introduction to the Simons Centre

4:50pm: Madan moderates a discussion on the role of theory in biology Panelists: Rob Phillips, Sriram Ramaswamy, Boris Shraiman

5:15pm: Mukund Thattai: Vote of thanks and intro of Madhu Venkadesan

5:20pm: Colloquium by Madhu Venkadesan: How throwing made us human.

6:00pm: Refreshments in the Colonnade

A major aim of the Simons Centre is to catalyse interactions between biologists and theoretical computer scientists. This meeting brought researchers from Microsoft  Research to the NCBS campus, to explore areas of common interest.


Nikhil  Srivastava : Theoretical computer science, linear algebra, random matrices, and convex geometry.

Deeparnab Chakrabarty : Theoretical computer science, and in particular in  approximation algorithms, combinatorial optimization, and algorithmic economics. 

Navin Goyal : Theoretical computer science, algorithmic problems arising directly in practice.

Satya Lokam : Cryptography, lower bounds in combinatorial and algebraic complexity, coding theory, randomness in computation.

Ravi Kannan : Massive data,  sampling, clustering, Markov chains, rapid mixing, lattice algorithms.

P. Anandan :  Computer vision.

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