Workshop takes 'systems' view of information processing in organisms

If cells don't use cell phones, how do they communicate? That's one of many questions that roughly 75 biologists, computer scientists and other researchers will explore November 4-5 at a workshop on "Information Processing in the Biological Organism (A Systems Biology Approach)." The workshop will be at the Four Points Sheraton in Bethesda, Md. Sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), it is being organized by Rutgers University's Center for Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS).

Journalists are welcome to attend any or all of the workshop's sessions. Registration is requested but not necessary. A complete agenda and other details can be found at this website:


Among Tuesday's presentations are "Systems Biology: Deciphering Life" by Leroy Hood of the Institute for Systems Biology; "Signaling in a Molecular Jungle" by Dennis Bray of Cambridge University; and "Interrogative Cell Signaling: How Cells Perceive Their Context" by H. Steven Wiley of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Wednesday's sessions will include panels on information flow in genetics; new challenges for math, computing science and physics to understand information processing in biological systems; and with talks touching on memory, aging and immunity a discussion of how information flows at various scales.

The workshop is part of "Digital Biology Week," an effort by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to bring researchers together to examine how computer science can foster advances in biological and medical research. (A culminating symposium, "Digital Biology: the Emerging Paradigm," will be held Nov. 6-7 at NIH's Natcher Conference Center. For details, see http://www.bisti.nih.gov/2003meeting/.)

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Contact: Sean Kearns
National Science Foundation

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