Mathematical Approaches to Cell-Cell Communication and Collective Behaviours (18w5042)


(Delft University of Technology)

(University of Houston)

(University of Pittsburgh)


The Banff International Research Station will host the "Mathematical Approaches to Cell-Cell Communication and Collective Behaviours" workshop from July 8th to July 13th, 2018.

Single cells perform extraordinary tasks, from the processing of environmental information to the extraordinary feat of replication. Yet, cells rarely act alone. Most microbes are part of complex communities where constituent cells interchange signals and even genetic material. This has an evolutionary reason: Interacting cells can coordinate their behaviour by communicating, and cells in the collective can specialize by assuming different responsibilities. As a result, the collective can perform computations and exhibit behaviours that are far more sophisticated than those of a single cell. Cellular collectives are thus more efficient, and have a wider range of functions than communities of non-interacting cells.

But how do these behaviours emerge, and how are they coordinated across cellular populations? How are cells able to act as a well-trained choir, even in the absence of a conductor? Recent experimental and theoretical results have started to provide answers. Yet, the underlying processes are complex and far from understood. Experimental biologists will need the help of theorists to interpret their results. Theorists, on the other hand, will need the guidance of their experimental colleagues to capture the mechanisms that drive the observed emergent behaviours. The aim of this workshop is to bring together these two groups.

The Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) is a collaborative Canada-US-Mexico venture that provides an environment for creative interaction as well as the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and methods within the Mathematical Sciences, with related disciplines and with industry. The research station is located at The Banff Centre in Alberta and is supported by Canada's Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), Alberta's Advanced Education and Technology, and Mexico's Consejo Nacionalde Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT).