Out-of-Equilibrium Processes in Evolution and Ecology (19w5150)


(University of Washington)

(University of Pennsylvania)

Serena Bradde (City University New York / University of Pennsylvania)

(Icahn School of Medicine, Mount Sinai)


The Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO) will host the "Out-of-Equilibrium Processes in Evolution and Ecology" workshop in Oaxaca, from August 18, 2019 to August 23, 2019.

The physical limit of information processing has fascinated physicists since Maxwell’s Demon was suggested as a thought experiment in 1867. Recent theoretical and experimental work on autonomous Maxwell's demon machines has led to significant progress in the field of information thermodynamics. In biological systems, the physical interpretation of information processing has inspired an exciting line of research on the fundamental limits of the sensory cellular networks. Adaptive evolution is also an example of information processing: populations sense and measure the state of their environment and adapt by changing their configurations accordingly. Changes of the environment result in an irreversible out-of-equilibrium adaptive evolution with a constant flow of information.

The goal of this program is to explore fundamental limits in evolution and ecology by combining theoretical approach grounded in statistical physics and information theory with molecular data. The advent of high-throughput sequencing together with large-scale functional measurements allow us to track molecular changes of a population over time and to characterize the out-of-equilibrium features of evolution. In this program we will explore a wide range of biological systems, including rapid evolution of viral populations such as HIV and Influenza, somatic evolution of cellular populations in adaptive immune repertoire and in cancer, ecological interactions within bacterial communities. Although the specific biological characteristics of these systems may seem to be very distinct, we hope to identify common features in their biophysical principles, and ultimately to devise a common framework to predict their evolutionary dynamics.

The Casa Matemática Oaxaca (CMO) in Mexico, and the Banff International Research Station for Mathematical Innovation and Discovery (BIRS) in Banff, are collaborative Canada-US-Mexico ventures that provide 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 in Banff 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 Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT). The research station in Oaxaca is funded by CONACYT