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Welcome to the website of the Physics of Biology II international meeting, organized in Geneva, Switzerland on 23-25 November 2016 in Campus biotech.

Introduction

For the past fifteen years, an interest for Quantitative & Systems Biology has been raising in the scientific community. Major advances in this direction have been driven by the integration of physics and computer science approaches with innovative technological developments in molecular biology, optics, micro- and nano-manipulations. Although Quantitative & Systems Biology is very recent, it has already significantly spread through many fields of life sciences: genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, development, ecology and many others.

Some of the questions under scrutiny in Quantitative & System Biology laboratories are the following. Is the behavior of complex genetic networks predictable? What are the relevant parameters for predicting the output of a biochemical signaling cascade? How is chemical energy transformed into work at the level of a single protein molecule? What are the forces explaining cellular motility? What are the interactions between physical (e.g., mechanical stress) and biological (e.g., signaling, proliferation) parameters explaining the 3D organization of the developing embryo? How can development be so robust despite stochasticity in signaling pathways?
Remarkably, these questions are conceptually similar to those investigated in soft-matter physics, statistical physics, and mechanics.

Motivation

The goal of the Geneva Physics of Biology 2016 international meeting is to foster interactions between physicists and biologists active at the interface between these two disciplines. The meeting will first propose plenary lectures of mathematicians, theoretical physicists, and experimentalists that are among the most innovative researchers in Quantitative and System Biology. They will share their experience and most recent scientific results on single-molecule biophysics, cellular mechanics, tissue growth and homeostasis during development, structure and dynamics of biological networks etc. Four young researchers will also be offered (after selection from applications) to present their work in a short talk to the physics/biology community. Finally, about 50 to 80 researchers will be offered the possibility to present their research results in the poster session.

One expected output of the meeting is to demonstrate the enthusiasm of researchers around the world for research activities at the interface of Physics and Biology. It will also advertise the importance of Geneva and the Lemanic region in this emerging scientific discipline. Indeed, the University of Geneva and the EPFL are among the world leaders in both Life Sciences and Physical sciences. This high level of excellence extends to Quantitative & Systems Biology as these two institutions have pro-actively initiated the development of interdisciplinary research teams and teaching programs. Two examples are the new Center for Epithelial Physical Systems Biology (EpiPhysX, investigating the physical properties of epithelia during development) funded by the SystemX initiative of the Swiss federal government, and the National Center of Competence in Research for Chemical Biology (NCCR Chemical Biology).

Geneva and the Physics of Biology

The Geneva Physics of Biology 2016 international meeting will allow young scientists with a physics background to realize that the Lake Geneva area, which already enjoys world recognition for the quality of its scientific research both in Biology and Physics, is additionally becoming a major player in the emerging field of Quantitative & Systems Biology.

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