Invited Speakers

The following invited speakers are confirmed for this up-coming conference.

 Robert Austin
Robert Austin is a Professor of Physics at Princeton University, USA.
Robert graduated from Hope College with a degree in Physics, he was awarded his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Illinois and his Post Doc in Biological Physics from the Max Plank Institute, Germany . Robert is also the Editor for the Virtual Journal Biological Physics. He was recently honored with the Delbruck Prize from the American Physical Society of which he is a fellow of. In addition, Robert is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Association of Arts and Sciences.

 Naama Barkai
Naama Barkai is a Professor at Weizmann Institute of Science. Currently, Naama is the Chairperson of the Dept of Molecular Genetics, Weizmann Institute and is Head of the Azrieli Center for Systems Biology. In 2013 she was awarded the Abisch Frankel prize and was elected the Vallee Foundation Visiting Professorship. Most recently, she has been contributing to the eLife publication as senior editor.

 Anthony Bishopp
I am an experimental biologist by training. I did my PhD in Edinburgh studying the genetic regulation of flowering before moving to Helsinki to work on vascular tissues in roots. These tissues are vital for many species as they contain the transporting tissues, xylem and phloem. During embryogenesis the root tissues are arranged in a radially symmetric pattern, but as the vascular tissues form this radial symmetry is broken and new patterns arise. Through this work I became deeply fascinated in understanding what sort of positional information must be generated to initiate such a change. As we got deeper into the genetics, we identified many components (hormones, proteins, RNAs) that regulate these processes, but it became less and less intuitive how so many components could interact in space and time to initiate new patterns. In 2012, I moved to Nottingham University to establish a research programme dedicated to uncovering this mechanism. We combine mathematical modelling with experimental approaches to uncover how regulatory interactions at the molecular scale can lead to emerging patterns at the tissue scale.

 Andrea Cavagna
Andrea Cavagna is a theoretical physicist at the Institute for Complex Systems, National Research Council (ISC-CNR)in Rome, Italy. Cavagna received his bachelor's and master's degrees in theoretical physics from the University of Milan and SISSA Trieste in 1995 and completed his Ph.D. in theoretical physics (spin-glasses) at the University of Rome Sapienza in 1998. From 1999 to 2001, he held postdoctoral fellowships in the United Kingdom, first at Oxford University with David Sherrington in condensed matter and then at Manchester University in theoretical physics with Alan Bray and Mike Moore. Cavagna's early research focused on the statistical mechanics of disordered systems, with a particular interest in spin-glasses, structural glasses and supercooled liquids. More recently, Cavagna has been working on collective behavior in biological systems. He has taken an interdisciplinary approach that uses methods from statistical physics to study biological and ethological questions. He is currently collecting and analyzing empirical data about bird flocks and insect swarms, stem cell collective motion, and malaria mosquito swarms..

 Iain D Couzin
Iain is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, USA, and Director of the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology, Department of Collective Behavior, Konstanz, Germany. Previously he was an Assistant Professor at Princeton University, a Royal Society University Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, and Junior Research Fellow in the Sciences at Balliol College, Oxford. His work aims to reveal the fundamental principles that underlie evolved collective behavior, and consequently his research includes the study of a wide range of biological systems, from primitive metazoans to insect swarms, fish schools and human crowds. In recognition of his research he was recipient of a Searle Scholar Award in 2008, the Mohammed Dahleh Award in 2009, top 5 most cited papers of the decade in animal behavior research 1999-2010, Popular Science Magazines "Brilliant 10″ Award in 2010, PopTech Science and Public Leadership Award in 2011, National Geographic Emerging Explorer Award in 2012 and the Zoological Society of London Scientific Medal in 2013.

Stephen Grill
Stephan Grill studied physics at the University of Heidelberg and did his PhD thesis at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. Following a postdoctoral position at the University of Berkeley, California, he took up a position as Research Group leader jointly at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden. In 2013 he became Full Professor of Biophysics at the Technical University of Dresden. Awards he has received include the EMBO Young Investigator Award, the Binder Innovation Prize of the German Society for Cell Biology and the Paul-Ehrlich and Ludwig Daemstaedter Prize for Young Researchers.

 Stephan Grill’s research focuses on morphogenesis, where he bridges theory and experiment to understand how an unpatterned blob of cells develops into a fully structured and formed organism. He investigate force generation on multiple scales, and studies how the actomyosin cell cortex self contracts, reshapes and deforms, and how these morphogenetic activities couple to regulatory biochemical pathways. 

 Laurent Keller
Laurent Keller is professor of evolutionary biology and head of the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Lausanne. He uses ants as model organism to study the principles governing the origin and evolution of animal societies. he has been particularly interested in how interactions between genetic and social factors jointly influence individual behaviour and colony social organisation. Laurent's invited talk will focus on the 'Division of labour and social networks in ants'. 

 Vito Latora
Vito Latora is professor of applied mathematics and head of the Complex Systems and Networks group at the School of Mathematical Sciences of Queen Mary University of London. He received his PhD in Physics in 1996 from the University of Catania, in Italy, and has been postdoc at MIT, Harvard and Paris XI from 1996 to 2001, and assistant professor of physics at Catania from 2002 to 2011. Vito studies the structure and the dynamics of complex systems using his background as theoretical physicist and some of the methods proper to statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics to look into biological problems, to model social systems, and to find new solutions for the design of man-made networks. He is currently interested in the mathematics of multiplex networks, and is working with neuroscientists and with urban designers to understand the growth of networks as diverse as the human brain or the infrastructures of a city.

 Ralph D Lorenz
Thomson--Reuters Sciencewatch in 2011 named Ralph Lorenz as one of the world's top planetary scientists by impact, ranking him #3 by publications and #10 by citations (>2200). He holds 5 NASA Group Achievement  awards. His latest book, 'Dune Worlds: How Windblown Sand Shapes Planetary Landscapes' was published by Springer in early 2014: his other books including 'Lifting Titan's Veil','Spinning Flight', and 'Space Systems Failures'.

His interests include planetary climate, geomorphology, and non-equilibrium thermodynamics. Emergent phenomena touch on many aspects of his present research, including sand dunes and desert dust devils.Lorenz is on the Principal Professional Staff of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Prior to joining APL in 2006 he worked at the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona, and for the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. He has a B.Eng. in Aerospace Systems Engineering from the University of Southampton  in the UK and a Ph.D. in Physics in 1994 from the University of Kent at Canterbury.

 John Toner
John Toner received his BS in Mathematics from MIT, and his Ph. D. in Physics from Harvard University. He was a James Frank Fellow at the University of Chicago, followed by 12 years as a Research Staff Member at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. He is currently Professor of Physics at The University of Oregon, which contractually obligates him to include Mount Hood in his photo.
He was a Simons Fellow in the 2012/2013 academic year, will be a Scottish Universities Physics Association (SUPA) Distinguished Visitor during the summer of 2015, and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. His research interests are in the long-wavelength behavior of many degree of freedom systems with strong fluctuations, both in and out of equilibrium, a description so broad as to be almost meaningless. In his case, this includes work in subjects ranging from liquid crystals to supersolids and superconductors. Most of his recent work is on hydrodynamic theories of Active matter, including flocking, the hydrodynamic theory for which was first formulated by him and Yuhai Tu.


Key dates

  • Abstract submission deadline [extended]:
    4 May 2015
  • Early registration deadline:
    11 June 2015
  • Registration deadline:
    01 July 2015


Poster announcement (PDF 0.8MB)

Conference handbook (PDF 3.2MB)