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IMA Annual Program Year Workshop
Organization of Biological Networks
March 3-7, 2008

Steven AltschulerUT Southwestern Medical Center
Alexander HoffmannUniversity of California, San Diego
Lani WuUT Southwestern Medical Center
Group PhotoScientific background:

Research towards understanding biological systems is moving from a focus of identifying components parts (cells, molecules, sequences) to the study of how these components function together. Networks attain functional characteristics that the individual components do not possess in isolation. To reveal and further explore such emergent properties of networks, over a variety of biological scales and complexities, mathematical tools play increasingly important roles in furthering our understanding of biological systems.


(1) The goal of this workshop is to bring together researchers from the biological and mathematical sciences to compare and contrast emerging systems properties over diverse scales of biological networks.

(2) The goal of each session is to first discuss progress and challenges at the biological scale relevant to that session. The session leader will then organize subsequent talks and discussion to focus on specific networks and biological questions at that scale.

(3) The goal for each presenter is to give sufficient, but not overwhelming details on their biological system so that key biological questions involving design principles, models, and "conjectures" can be understood and compared across sessions by a diverse audience. This workshop will have limited focus on tool building for data analysis.

Session Descriptions:

The workshop will be organized into five sessions, presented in increasing order of biological scale. The first session will be on networks at the single molecule scale, with emphasis on stochastic effects. The second will be in design principles of small networks. Here, synthetic networks and networks involving polarity decisions will be showcased. The third and fourth sessions will delve into intra- and intercellular networks. Emphasis will be placed on biological examples in which collaborations between theory and experiment are nascent, but showing promise. Our final session will cover design principles of large networks, including results from interpreting high-throughput and large-scale datasets.


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