This proposal requests partial support for an international, interdisciplinary conference on Stochastic Physics in Biology GRC. This is the 2nd installment of a new Gordon Research Conference, which will be held January 13 - 18, 2013 in Ventura, California. The broad long-term goal is to bring experimental biologists together with physical scientists, engineers and applied mathematicians to better understand the cellular behavior, function and evolution in terms of a new, stochastic dynamic description, provide a conduit between molecular cellular and evolutionary biology.
The specific aim of this second meeting is to introduce the foundations for stochastic dynamical descriptions of living processes, and to discuss the trend of current biomedical research, which reveals cellular molecular fluctuations, nonlinear feedbacks, and emergent behaviors at different time scales. There will be 27 speakers and 9 session chairs. Some are leading molecular biologists with significant contributions, other are active young researchers at the leading edge. The meeting will bring together this diverse group of scientists to help establish this emerging new discipline. Researchers will discuss fundamental questions, approaches, and principles relating to how cells function, develop and evolve in the presence of noise and fluctuations at the mesoscopic scale. The significance of this application is in developing a new stochastic dynamical description of cellular processes through this new meeting that will provide a long-running venue to bring together researchers from physical and biological disciplines. Thus, this meeting will help support two new NIH initiatives, recently announced, that aim to "bridge the sciences", by bringing physical scientists together with biological scientists to solve problems of biomedical importance. The health relatedness of the application is in better understanding fundamental biology and in helping to realize the potential of systems biology in biomedicine.
Recent developments in experimental biology are enabling unprecedented investigations at single-cell, and even single-molecule resolution. These approaches are providing new data on intrinsic and micro- environmental influences that affect the individuality of cells, and the role of stochasticity in determining the outcome of cellular processes. Emerging methods in physics and applied mathematics can help integrate, interpret this new wealth of complex observations and help to formulate quantitative hypotheses. This Gordon conference will bring together researchers in the experimental cell biology as well as physical scientists. The focus of this new Gordon conference is in searching emerging new principles on how the cell functions and evolved on a size scale that allows the interplay between nonlinearity due to network feedbacks and stochasticity.