UK Nonlinear News, November 2002


Workshop on Imaging, Modelling and Manipulating Transcriptional Regulatory Networks

By Cliburn Chan

The first workshop on Imaging, Modelling and Manipulating Transcriptional Regulatory Networks (IMMaGENe) was held from 17-22nd October 2002 at a rustic resort in the fishing village of Ambleteuse. Organised by Bernard Vandenbunder, one aim of the workshop was to bring cellular imaging specialists, experimental biologists and mathematical modellers together to share knowledge and establish new collaborations.

This was an intense and stimulating workshop, loosely organised around the themes of understanding the dynamical and structural organisation of gene regulatory networks, gene expression and morphogenesis. Immediately on arrival at Ambleteuse, we were treated to excellent tutorials on the regulation of gene expression by Michel Morange and the use of nonlinear ODEs in molecular modelling by John Tyson.

Unfortunately, the sessions over the next five days cannot be individually described, if this article is to maintain a reasonable length. These sessions had an extensive range, and described some of the most elegant experiments and models in cellular and gene regulation. Details of individual talks can be found at http://www.ibl.fr/immagene/. Jean Pierre Changeux gave a spectacular keynote lecture which would have ranged from the regulation of single genes to explaining consciousness (!) if he had not run out of time. Obviously, there is a lot of work left to be done both in biology and modelling if his ambitions are to be achieved.

The lectures were generally both lucid and entertaining, and what was particularly outstanding was that the level of presentation was appropriate for both experimentalists and modellers. This is testament to the selection of speakers and the preparation they must have put into their talks. Credit must go to the scientific committee comprising Christoph Cremer, Albert Goldbeter, Stanislas Leibler, Michel Petitot and Bernard Vandenbunder for putting together an outstanding programme.

Apart from talks, there was also an eclectic poster session, a workshop on using databases for modelling regulatory networks, a concert by the Ensemble 'Ecco Voces', and a day trip to nearby attractions. Also remarkable was the daily cuisine served by the kitchen, with a four course dinner and coffee every evening. I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop and I'm sure my opinion is shared by all the participants.


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