Participant Testimonials

May 26 - May 31, 2013

I have attended 3 other BIRS meetings, and this was easily among the best. The discussion was unusually lively, and it was very clear that the audience was engaged with essentially every speaker (often at meetings with disparate backgrounds some subset of talks simply get tuned out, and this did not happen here). I had that one crystalline idea, that came out of a question session at the meeting, that will very likely end up as a theoretical paper, and for me this is an excellent criterion to judge whether a meeting was a success. Systems Biology is a challenging area, with lots of different ideas about the direction it should go, but the organizers did an excellent job in identifying participants that share a common interest in rigorous quantitative methods, and that was sufficient glue to hold it all together.

Andrew Clark Professor
Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cornell University

My participation in the workshop has given me the opportunity to meet many new people that work in the same field of study, and it was an excellent test bed to find out if certain ideas and/or plans are worth further investigation. The informal discussions over lunch and dinner were a great source of new knowledge and various new ideas. Support from the Banff Centre was flawless, the fitness centre and swimming pool a luxury I didn't anticipate, and the Maclab bistro a nice place for a drink.

Anton Crombach postdoc
Centre for Genomic Regulation and Universitat UPF Barcelona

It was a fantastic meeting, a great mix of people I already know, respect and always want to hear from, together with others whose work was new and interesting to me. Talks and informal breakout discussions prompted a big "ah-hah" insight for me, clarifying a problem I had long been wrestling with, and which has now finally come together. This insight will soon go into a grant proposal, a paper, and maybe a whole significant research direction for me, one which might include a collaboration with somebody I met for the first time at this meeting.

Joanna Masel Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona

The BIRS workshop I attended was a critical step in bringing together mathematically minded people from Evolutionary Biology and Systems Biology. If the mathematical methods in these fields are unified, I believe we will look back at this workshop as a key step in that development.

Alan Moses Assistant Professor
University of Toronto

Great workshop, which has probably resulted in one collaboration for me.

Ilya Nemenman Department of Physics, Emory University

Scientifically the workshop was one of the most useful and impressive that I have attended in my career. The selection of speakers was outstanding, and what was particularly useful was that I was brought into contact with people from related fields that I would not have otherwise come into contact with. This has had important impacts in the way I am thinking about the problems I am working on. I also think that the setting, in a beautiful place where it is not too easy for participants to leave the venue, together with the communal meals at a single location, highly contributes to meaningful interactions between the participants. I hope that it will be possible to organize follow-up meetings of this kind, because they are highly effective.

Erik van Nimwegen Biozentrum, University of Basel

Expanded my horizons, certainly. New contacts made. A few new research ideas and possible directions.

Lindi Wahl Applied Mathematics, Western University

The work shop was great. The size of the meeting was just right enough to be able to meet everyone. I learned a lot and had a very good time. The center is so well organized, it's amazing.

Joao Xavier Sloan Kettering