Dynamics, control and computation in biochemical networks (04w5550)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Saturday, August 21 and departing Thursday August 26, 2004


(McGill University)

(University of Waterloo)

John Reinitz (The University at Stony Brook)

Eduardo Sontag (Rutgers University)

(California Institute of Technology)


Cells and organisms have evolved elaborate mechanisms to carry out their basic functions. Networks of biochemical reactions are responsible for processing environmental signals, inducing the appropriate cellular responses and sequence of internal events. The overall molecular algorithms carried out by such networks are as yet poorly understood. Recent years have witnessed remarkable advances in elucidating the components of these networks due to technological achievements. Prominent among these achievements are the means for rapid sequencing of genomes, the means for simultaneously determining the expression levels of thousands of different genes, and recombinant DNA techniques to isolate, identify, manipulate, and synthesize genetic and metabolic networks. These advances have confronted the biological sciences with massive amounts of data that require huge computational resources. The field of bioinformatics has developed sophisticated computer-based algorithms which all cellular and molecular biologists now use to identify and analyze DNA and protein sequences.

This workshop is designed to address a range of questions that goes beyond the development of algorithms for the searching and analysis of genomic and protein data bases. The workshop will bring together mathematicians, physical scientists, engineers, computer scientists, and biological scientists to address fundamental questions concerning the computations that are carried out within cellular and genetic biological networks. What are prototypical tasks and prototypical algorithms for biochemical circuits? How are these mechanisms regulated? How can important logical elements be identified experimentally or by data-mining? What are the "design principles" of biological circuits? What are fundamental limitations on the performance of molecular systems? The workshop will provide an environment in which these issues can be considered by a diverse group of researchers with backgrounds in dynamics, computation, control theory and biology.