The purpose of this renewal application is to request continued NIH support for the q-bio Conference on Cellular Information Processing (, an annual systems biology conference attended by about 200 researchers. The renewed conference grant will support three specific aims, encompassing several new directions for the conference during the next funding period:
Specific Aim 1. Advance predictive modeling of cellular regulatory systems. This is the overall goal of the conference. Specific topics of interest to the conference include: (1) Modeling of genetic regulatory and signal-transduction systems;(2) Theory of cellular information processing and general design principles of cellular regulatory systems;(3) Quantitative experimental studies at the systems level that are directly relevant for physics- and chemistry-based modeling and theoretical studies;(4) Emerging areas in systems biology, such as the role of ecology and evolution in determining the quantitative behavior of cellular information processing systems. The conference has become an important forum for work addressing the first three topics and we will continue to track these important areas. The fourth topic represents a new emphasis of the conference that will be pursued during the next funding period.
Specific Aim 2. Promote new directions in quantitative biology. In the next funding period, we will actively support the inclusion of more talks outside of topics (1)-(3) above in the conference program. Our goal is to advance systems biology as an approach in all biological fields that can benefit from such an approach.
Specific Aim 3. Increase participation of women and minorities in quantitative biology and advance the careers of young investigators. We will continue to aggressively support the participation of women and minorities in the conference. Many researchers in quantitative biology have backgrounds in physics and mathematics, fields in which women and minorities are underrepresented even in comparison to the representation of women and minorities in mainstream biological fields, such as cellular and molecular biology. We will place special emphasis on supporting young investigators financially, in partnerships with regional minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and on maintaining diversity within our program and advisory committees.

Public Health Relevance

Many diseases are caused by molecular changes that affect cellular regulatory systems, and accordingly, these exceedingly complex systems have been intensely studied. However our ability to make meaningful predictions about the behavior of any given regulatory system is still limited, especially when compared against our ability to make predictions about technological systems. Improving our predictive capabilities with respect to biological systems, and cellular regulatory systems in particular, is essential for a basic understanding of molecular cell biology and is likely to have practical consequences in many public health-related areas, including drug discovery, diagnosis, and patient-specific therapy. The conference supported by this renewal will address the deficiency by focusing on high precision biophysical and biochemical experiments, and on detailed mathematical modeling.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Conference (R13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZGM1-BRT-1 (CO))
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Lyster, Peter
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Los Alamos National Lab
Los Alamos
United States
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Nemenman, Ilya; Faeder, James R; Gnanakaran, S et al. (2014) The Seventh q-bio Conference: meeting report and preface. Phys Biol 11:040301
Nemenman, Ilya; Gnanakaran, S; Munsky, Brian et al. (2013) Special section dedicated to The Sixth q-bio Conference: meeting report and preface. Phys Biol 10:030301