Computational Challenges in Cellular, Molecular, and Systems Biology

January 2010

This seminar aims to promote intellectual discussion among faculty from Harvard and peer institutions in the broad areas of cellular, molecular, and systems biology. The primary goal of the seminar is to explore and identify the fundamental computational challenges the systems biology community will face in the next 1–3 years.

Strategies (technologies, protocols, and designs) to measure complex cellular events, from multiple coordinated perspectives and at unprecedented resolutions, are being fine-tuned at Harvard, MIT, Princeton, and elsewhere. While these new tools promise to support scientific inquiry of biological systems one leap forward, the analysis of complex data generated in this pursuit raises a wide array of core scientific, inferential, and computational questions.

This exploratory seminar will gather scientists with quantitative, computational, technological, and biological backgrounds. Each participant brings different tools and perspectives to the table, but all share a common interest in reverse engineering cascades of cellular events—for instance, to map regulatory programs that allow microorganisms to maintain balanced growth in a changing environment. As several of the key players are local to the Boston area, we will use this opportunity to set a detailed scientific agenda, jump-start collaborations, and establish a Harvard-led focus group.